07/04/2014, 00.00
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Archbishop of Singapore: Homosexuals are called to chastity, as are all faithful

In a pastoral letter Msgr. Goh explains that attraction between people of the same sex "is not in itself a sin"; however the Church "does not approve of relationships" that have a sexual connotation. It is the duty of Catholics "to tell the truth" of Scripture, but not to "condemn" the sinner. All judgment belongs "only to God."

Singapore (AsiaNews) - Attraction between people of the same sex "is not in itself a sin," but since love "often seeks to express itself at a physical level," the challenge "to chastity and fidelity to God's plan is always present". Moreover, the Catholic Church "does not disapprove of a loving relationship between same-sex individuals that is chaste and faithful but a sexual relationship." This is main point of a lengthy pastoral letter written by the Archbishop of Singapore, Msgr. William Goh Seng Chye, in response to a debate that has been ongoing for several weeks in the city-state, on the family, gender discrimination and same-sex unions.

The prelate addresses the reactions of some of the faithful who have expressed "sorrow, anger and disappointment" and roundly rejects that " that the Church, like the rest of society, seemed to ostracize" people with same sex attraction or that it shows "inconsistency in her preaching of compassion, by not approving".

The issue of homosexuality is dominating public discourse in the city-state and, in recent days, there were two different events in opposition to each other: one was the sixth edition of "Pink Dot", a sort of local Gay Pride that drew thousands of people.

In response to the gay pride, the Muslim leader Ustaz Noor Deros  promoted the "Dress in white" movement, inviting the faithful of Muhammad to boycott the "pink" event. This initiative was also supported by members of the local Protestant Christian community, including the Baptists and churches belonging to the LoveSingapore network.

The Archbishop of Singapore instead reflected on the issues, addressing his response to those among the faithful who have inclinations towards people of the same sex.  He has stressed that he is not "indifferent to your pain and your frustration." "I see many Catholics with same-sex orientation for spiritual support, counselling and healing." And many who "strive to live their lives with love, fidelity and chastity." In this context, the prelate, recalls the teachings of the Church, which encourages "chastity" outside of marriage, without distinction of "sexual orientation" and a similar argument applies "for the divorced".  

Msgr. Goh underscores that his words reflect "the Magisterium of the Church" on issues such as contraception, sexual relations, abortion, etc.; Catholic morality, he adds, is based on "human reason, enlightened by faith". He recalls the various passages in the Holy Scriptures, explaining that sexual relations between persons of the same sex "are not permissible", although many are inclined to believe "so sincere and genuine" this is permitted. There are also implications for the family that would result from homosexual unions, on the subject of marriage and adoption. The Archbishop of Singapore explains that "the lack of one of the two parents of the opposite sex," would be a source of "risk" to the child and cause an "identity crisis", as well as a loss "for society and the future".

"Against the trends in the world, the Church needs to affirm the truth as revealed in scripture. This applies also to other difficult moral teachings of the Church e.g. pre-marital sexual union, divorce, contraception, artificial insemination, abortion, euthanasia, surrogate motherhood, stem-cell research involving embryos etc."

Archbishop Goh also underlines that "the Church does not condemn sinners but only points out the sin as expressed in the Word of God. Judgment is reserved for God alone". All baptized "are called to chastity," said the Archbishop - and since it is "difficult" to remain chaste today, all Catholics "need God's help and the support of the Christian community."


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