“The LGBT movement is gaining momentum. Some of you are confused and are asking what the Church’s position is with regard to the family,” began Archbishop William Goh’s letter to Catholics was posted on the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore’s website veritas.org.sg on June 21.
The Church “recognizes that there are individuals who are attracted to people of the same sex” but “continues to maintain, that the family, comprising a father, mother and children, remains the basic building block of society,” he said.
It “upholds the view that LGBT sexual relationships are not in accordance with the plan of God,” he said adding that “this kind of lifestyle should not be promoted by Catholics as it is detrimental to society, is not helpful to integral human development and contrary to Christian values.”
In his letter he prays that “the Holy Spirit restore them to wholeness.”
However, he did mention that regardless of sexual orientation, the Church has always looked on each individual as being a child of God and worthy of love and respect. “Discrimination of any kind is thus neither pleasing in the eyes of God, nor that of man,” he said.
He also said that while the Church “urges compassion, acceptance, patient understanding and mutual respect for these individuals” this must be done “without the risk of endangering the future of the marriage institution, family and society.”
The archbishop said he “empathizes” with LGBT Catholics in Singapore wanting to “integrate their faith with their orientation” but urges them to seek Christian counselling and spiritual support.”
Archbishop Goh’s stand is in slight variance to his superior Pope Francis who as head of the worldwide Catholic Church ruffled the feathers of some conservative Catholics by refusing to condemn gay people long considered sinful by his Church.
“If a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge.” Pope Francis said last year
The Advocate, a prominent LGBT and gay rights magazine, described Pope Francis as the “single most influential person of 2013 on the lives of LGBT people” despite the Church’s longstanding conflict with the LGBT community.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.”
Archbishop Goh is head of the Catholic Church in Singapore where 5.7% or the country’s population or about 300,000 people are Catholics.
Singapore also retains a British colonial-era “Section 377A” law that criminalizes sex between men with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.