The Archbishop of Singapore has earlier weighed in on the discussion about Section 377A of the Penal Code, clearly indicating that he feels the law should not be repealed under the present circumstances.
In his pastoral letter addressed to the Catholics of Singapore, Most Reverend William Goh urged Catholics in Singapore to make an informed and prudent decision on the matter. Starting out by saying that “the Church regards everyone, regardless of sexual orientation with equal respect”, the Archbishop goes on to say that the church makes a distinction between a homosexual person and homosexual acts and though it does not discriminate the person, it does not condone homosexual acts.
Therefore, he pointed out that “the spirit of both the moral and civil laws is to emphasise that same-sex unions are not a social norm as they do not help to foster fruitful and life-giving marriages or cohesive families which are the bedrock of a strong and stable society.”
The Archbishop messages come in the wake of renewed debate on the subject of Section 377A which criminalises sexual acts between men. His message touched heavily on the sanctity of marriage and the Church’s view on the matter.
He explains that the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. Any action that diverts sexuality away from this end to which it is ordered, is thus, disordered.”
He then pondered on the intention of Section 377A in the Penal Code. Reverting to the Church’s view, he says “The Church walks a fine line on this issue. While it joined with two-thirds of the UN member states in rejecting a proposal to decriminalise homosexuality in December 2008, it also urged them to eliminate criminal sanctions for homosexual behaviour. In other words, the Holy See’s stance dovetails with that of the Singapore government.”
Archbishop Goh did also state that he would not object to a repeal of 377A if it were merely aimed at removing all potential criminal penalties against homosexuals. However, he says that repealing 377A would be akin to accepting homosexual acts as the norm which could lead champions of ‘gay rights’ take their cause further by demanding same-sex unions, adoption of babies by same-sex couples, surrogacy and to criminalise those who do not support the homosexual lifestyle. This, he says, will be a dreadful consequences for the stability of families, the well-being of children.
He says that he empathises with the homosexual community and the marginalisation that they have to face but noted that the traditional and scriptural views of marriage and family are clear and repealing 377A would lead the country down a slippery slope of no return.
Concluding his message, the Archbishop appeals to Catholics to make a “conscientious decision to reject the appeal for the future of our families, humanity and society.”