Singapore’s Archbishop William Goh issued an apology on July 3rd to clarify that his earlier comments against LGBT issues were not meant to hurt anyone. However, he held on to his orthodox views while explaining what the Church’s stance is on homosexuality. Goh’s earlier statement was widely circulated after being published on the Archdiocese’s website a week before the Pink Dot Rally was organized by Singapore’s LGBT community to celebrate the freedom to love. His apology was addressed to adherents of the Catholic Church, particularly those who are homosexuals.
“I apologise if my initial statement conveyed insensitivity as from your feedback, I have come to realize that there is much variation in thought and lifestyle within this community. I want you to know that I am not indifferent to your pain and frustration, as I see many Catholics with same-sex orientation for spiritual support, counseling and healing,” he said.
Goh reaffirmed that the Church does not denounce loving relationships between gay and lesbian couples that are chaste and faithful as “same-sex inclination in itself is not a sin.” However, the Church is highly opposed to sexual relationships between such couples, as it is unnatural and not in accordance with God’s divine plan. He justified the Church’s stand by saying there are several texts in the sacred Bible that explain how sexual relations between people of the same sex are not permissible.
“As the Bishop of the local Church which is a part of the Universal Catholic Church, my primary responsibility is to instruct the Faithful in accordance with the teachings of the Universal Church. I am not at liberty to change the truth as revealed in sacred scripture and that which is taught by the Magisterium of the Church, with regards to sexual relationships between those of the opposite sex, same gender or any other issue like divorce, contraception, abortion etc.”
While responding to activists who assert how natural homosexuality is, Goh said the Church is willing to learn from scientific discovery as long as both physical and spiritual aspects of people taken into account.
“Hence when science seems to contradict divine revelation as taught in the Bible, our faith must hold fast to the Word of God even if we cannot agree,” he said.
The Archbishop also said that science is yet to prove homosexuality is a result of nature or nurture so until that is done, the Church must continue to teach believers that homosexual relations are not acceptable in God’s eyes. Referring to his earlier remarks that had offended Singapore’s LGBT community, Goh said he believes gay and lesbian relationships can be detrimental and destructive to conventional families and society as a whole.
“When couples with same-sex attraction insist on marriage and adopting babies to form a family similar to that of the conventional family unit; the question arises if the child would receive holistic formation comparable to a child that is cared for in a stable family by a father and a mother… While the argument is that the child may still receive love from both partners who are in a stable same-sex relationship, the lack of a parental figure as portrayed by a member of the opposite sex may still render the child at risk. Hence, considering the future of humanity and the effects on society, not only do the institution of marriage and the family need to be fortified, in the same context, same-sex union cannot be promoted,” Goh said.