Catholic Church discourages LGBT relationships but decries discrimination

SINGAPORE - The Catholic Church has issued a statement on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual (LGBT) movement, joining the ranks of other religious groups that have spoken up on the issue.

In an open letter to Catholics posted on the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore's website on Saturday, Archbishop William 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".

But, he also said that the Church recognises that there are individuals who are attracted to people of the same sex.

"Regardless of their sexual orientation, the Church has always looked on each individual as being a child of God, made in His image and likeness and is therefore worthy of love and respect," he said, adding that discrimination of any kind should not be condoned.

He urged followers to exercise compassion, acceptance, patient understanding and mutual respect for these individuals, as the Church believes there "are ways to ensure justice and the protection of their dignity without the risk of endangering the future of the marriage institution, family and society".

He also advised individuals who are struggling to integrate their faith with their sexual orientation to seek Christian counselling and spiritual support.

The letter comes after the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) sent an advisory to mosque officials on how to address LGBT issues.

Muis had said that while it disagreed with moves to promote the LGBT lifestyle, mosque staff are advised against being confrontational or vilifying those who lead the LGBT lifestyle or attend the Pink Dot event.

This was in response to a Wear While campaign launched by an Islamic religious teacher to protest against homosexuality during the June 28 Pink Dot event, which celebrates the freedom to love.His campaign was supported by the LoveSingapore network of churches, who had said they would ask their congregants to wear white on June 28 and 29 too.

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