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S'pore Archbishop apologises for ‘insensitivity’ in statement on LGBT issues

Catholic Archbishop William Goh says he is "not at liberty" to change the Church's stance against same-sex relationships, but he is not indifferent to their frustration and pain.

SINGAPORE: While he apologised for any “insensitivity” that may have been conveyed in his initial statement on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues last week, Archbishop William Goh on Thursday (July 3) held firm to the Catholic Church’s view against same-sex relationships.

“I apologise if my initial statement conveyed insensitivity as, from your feedback, I have come to realise that there is much variation in thought and lifestyle within this community,” he said, in a letter addressed to Catholics with same-sex orientation.

He stressed that his primary responsibility is to follow the teachings of the Universal Church, and added that he is “not at liberty” to change the stance of the Church.

Archbishop Goh highlighted issues arising from same-sex unions like the impact on children’s upbringing and sense of identity. He said: “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.”

Same-sex union which evolves into the adoption and formation of children in an environment where a partner of the other gender is not represented, is contrary to the natural laws of God, and would ultimately be destructive to society and detrimental to the world and future generations, he added.

“This is what I was referring to in my initial statement when I used the terms ‘detriment’ and ‘destructive’. They do not refer to the individual but the consequences of such a union on society and future,” he clarified.

Father Goh said that while the Church sees a sexual relationship between same-sex individuals as “not in accordance with the divine plan of God”, the Church “does not disapprove of a loving relationship between same-sex individuals that is chaste and faithful”.

Reiterating that he is not indifferent to their pain and frustration, he emphasised that he will be setting up a pastoral group for LGBT Catholics to “journey together in faith, in support of one another, so as to live out God’s call to chastity”.

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