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Wijeysingha hits out at local Catholic Church

The Catholic Church says the intent of its message is to clarify to members its position with regard to the family.

SINGAPORE: A civil activist has criticised the local Catholic Church’s recent public statement addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, saying it is entirely at odds with the teachings of the church government at the Vatican.

In a Facebook note published late on Monday night (June 23), Dr Vincent Wijeysingha also said the statement by Archbishop William Goh, which was read out during mass at Catholic churches here over the weekend, was a cynical attempt to portray the church as a compassionate and empathetic organisation concerned for the souls of LGBT people.

Dr Wijeysingha, 44, is the first politician here to come out as gay before he resigned from the Singapore Democratic Party last year to be more involved in LGBT and other human rights issues.

The criticism drew a response from the Catholic Church, which reiterated its “consistent” position that “while every individual, regardless of his imperfections, is to be treated with love, compassion and respect, we do not condone any act that is contrary to God’s commandments as taught in Scripture and by the teaching authority of the Church”.

In his statement, the archbishop said the church does not condone LGBT relationships, which are “not in accordance with the plan of God”. However, discrimination of any kind is neither pleasing in the eyes of God nor those of man, he added.

Dr Wijeysingha said the Church long ago surrendered its right to participate in the moral debate. Adding that the Catholic leadership has remained silent on the real problems that face our world, he said: “It has no authority whatsoever, moral or otherwise, to comment on whom I can and cannot love.”

Citing child sex abuse scandals, he accused the universal church of being guilty of systematic rape and abuse of children.

Dr Wijeysingha claimed that when he was 15, he came into “unfortunate contact with a priest who would engage me in play wrestling and attempt to touch my crotch in the process”. He added: “He once brought me into his bedroom and took a stack of pornographic magazines from his wardrobe to show me.”

“I haven’t till now disclosed this sorry incident publicly. It never seemed momentous and, so far, as I’m aware, it didn’t damage me. But Archbishop William Goh’s pronouncements this weekend prompted me to.”

The Archdiocese Communications Office did not address this allegation in its response to media queries.

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