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Catholic Church defines family unit in weekend mass

Archbishop's statement aims to clear the air among its believers on gay issues, urges compassion and respect

Published on Jun 23, 2014 8:54 AM

THE Catholic Church, in response to what it describes as confusion among the faithful about what comprises a family unit, has issued a statement addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues.

The statement by Archbishop William Goh was read out during mass at the 30 Catholic churches in Singapore over the weekend.

"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," he said in the statement, which was also posted on the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore's website.

In it, Archbishop Goh maintained that the family unit comprises a father, mother and children; and that LGBT sexual relationships are "not in accordance with the plan of God".

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Background story

Statement calls for greater dialogue on LGBT issue

MEMBERS of civil society yesterday issued a statement calling for greater dialogue on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, issue.

Over the span of just two days, the statement has been signed by 217 individuals, including writers, activists and academics.

Nine organisations, including Maruah, Aware and the Free Community Church - which accepts same-sex and transgender relationships - have also put their names down in support.

The statement is in response to the Wear White campaign launched by an Islamic religious teacher to protest against homosexuality.

It expressed concern that the LGBT issue is being portrayed as one that pits religious believers against those holding secular beliefs, calling this a "false dichotomy".

Many religious leaders and organisations both in Singapore and around the world have expressed support for LGBT equality, it said.

And values like democracy, justice and equality form the ethical structure of many religions, and should function as a "bridge" that spans the religious and non-religious spectrum, it added.

The statement called for greater dialogue involving the full range of views about the LGBT issue, geared towards fostering understanding and tolerance.

These dialogues, it said, should be underscored by compassion and knowledge instead of ignorance, hatred and prejudice.

The statement also affirmed that Singapore is built on principles such as justice and equality, and called for a halt to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

It spoke out against the "continuous dehumanising portrayal" of members of the LGBT community, who have suffered a range of abuses including ostracisation.

Calls on social media for the public shaming of those in the LGBT circle must end, it added.