Legal does not mean moral: Catholic Church on homosexuality

DIMAPUR | Publish Date: 9/10/2018 12:01:19 PM IST

Following the September 6 judgement of the Indian Supreme Court, striking down the law which criminalized consensual gay sex, thus decriminalizing homosexuality between consenting adults, the Catholic Church has said that homosexuality being legal in civil law “does not mean that homosexual acts or behaviour is morally acceptable or justified.”

A press release by CBCI Office for Justice, Peace and Development secretary Fr Stephen Fernandes also noted that homosexual acts between an adult and minor would be considered criminal and illegal always in civil law, besides it being both legally and morally unacceptable.

“It is important for us to note the distinction between crime and morality” Fr. Fernandes said.

He pointed out that the Catholic Church, and many others, hold that homosexual behaviour was morally unacceptable because it violates the purpose of human sexuality which is procreation and union of love “fulfilled in the loving union of man and woman in marriage.” This, he said, was the moral stand of the Catholic Church.

Drawing a distinction between homosexuality as an orientation and homosexuality acquired by deliberate choice and practice, Fr. Fernandes stated that homosexuality as an orientation was not a sign of perversion but the expression of a condition and an inversion in a psychological sense.  He said this orientation was considered more a medical condition or pathology consonant with modern studies.

Fr. Fernandes also explained that the Church respected the dignity of homosexuals and their human rights and, while condemning any kind of violence and hatred against them, he said they were integral members of society. 

Denouncing discrimination against people with homosexual orientations, Fr. Fernandes quoted Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358. Amoris Laetitia No.250: “We would like before all else to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression and violence.”

He also said that a negative effect of the decriminalization would be people erroneously considering it moral justification and acceptability.

Going into the subject of marriage, Fr. Fernandes said marriage was not just any relationship between human beings but it was men and women being equal as persons and complementary as male and female. “Homosexual acts go against the natural moral law” he stated. 

He also said that homosexual unions totally lacked the biological and anthropological elements of marriage and family which would be the basis, on the level of reason, for granting them legal recognition. He further pointed out that such unions were not able to contribute in a proper way to the procreation and survival of the human race. “Under no circumstances can they be approved. Hence, same sex marriages are not acceptable at all” he asserted.

Fr. Fernandes also brought up the likelihood of the decriminalization leading to campaigns by homosexual groups for legalization of same sex unions, at par with marriage and legalization of the rights of the same sex couples to adopt children (orphans). He also cited to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s remarks about how respect for homosexual persons could not lead to approval or recognition of homosexual unions.

However, he pointed out that it was important that the Church reach out to homosexuals in care and concern while including the psychological and sociological aspects.


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