homosexuality
Members of LGBTQIA community. Photo Credit - Sukrity Gogoi

The Catholic Church has opined that while homosexuality is no longer a crime in civil law, it does not mean homosexual act or behaviour is “morally acceptable or justified”. The local administrators of the Catholic Church in Shillong (Meghalaya) too agree with this view of the Catholic Church administrators in India.

A report published in the The Telegraph stated that the reaction came after the Supreme Court (SC) scrapped part of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code decriminalising consensual gay sex.

The LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community in Shillong has appealed to the Churches to accept them as “human beings”. The report further quoted a document from the office of Justice, Peace and Development of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) as stating, “What is legal is not equal to moral acceptability. The Catholic Church (and many others) holds that homosexual behaviour (between consenting adults) is 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 marriage. This is the moral stand of the Catholic Church. In Catholic moral perspective, homosexual act or behaviour is morally unacceptable.”

A senior administrator in Shillong said the document from the CBCI was universal in nature and is applicable across the country. The CBCI document said a line of distinction has to be drawn between homosexuality as an orientation for which one cannot be blamed because of early psychogenetic origin or birth and homosexuality acquired by deliberate choice and practice.

However, the Church was clear in saying that it respects the “dignity” of homosexuals as persons and human rights flowing from human dignity and personhood just as the Church stands for all without exclusion or discrimination. “Homosexuals are integral members of the society. The Church condemns any kind of violence and hatred against them. They must be treated with understanding, compassion and sensitivity,” it said.

The Church opined that negative fall-out of decriminalisation of Section 377 was that many would conclude that decriminalisation is “moral justification and moral acceptability”.

“This is an error. This would call for moral formation in general and moral formation regarding morality of human sexuality. Formation of conscience is essential in this area. It is a challenging task for the church and society.” The document was also clear in stating that same-sex marriages are not acceptable.

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