I AM VERY happy about the responses to my article as its purpose is to get people with a homosexual orientation out from under the carpet in Catholic circles and to have them openly accepted as they are.

I regret, however, that my article also gave rise to some confusion, misunderstanding and disagreement, so that I now will try to clarify the matters concerned.

I purposely divided the article into two parts, to make very clear the distinction between the homosexual orientation or being a homosexual (Part One) and the behaviour of homosexuals (Part Two).

In Part One, I referred to the book by J. F. Harvey, printed with "ecclesiastical approval" and quoting the relevant church documents, for the very reason that the book is easier for people to find than the church documents themselves, which are spread over several years.

So far as stable homosexual unions are concerned (my nos. 7-9), they exist. I never said that they should be legally recognized, but only stated the fact that they are legally recognized in some countries. I never suggested that these "couples" can engage in genital expression of their love, but only mentioned that they live in an exclusive partnership and committed friendship with one another. (How they express their love, is for Part Two.)

I am well aware that there has been a tremendous debate on whether the origin of being homosexual is nature or nurture, the result of genes or of environment. I have not said a single word about the origin of this sexual orientation. Some people, however, feel that I give the impression that I consider this orientation as predetermined, inborn or "natural". That is not my opinion, but they draw this conclusion from my statement that these people have not chosen to be homosexual but find themselves at a certain age being such.

I can be blamed, however, for my remark that I hope that this orientation in future documents will not be described as an "objective disorder" but as a "variant" or "diversity" of the human condition. But is this, my personal hope, a sign of individualism or relativism with respect to the teaching of the Catholic Church?

    Father Albert Renckens

Singapore 149603

EDITOR'S NOTE:

Some of the confusion over Part One of Father Renckens' article may have arisen because of the use of words and phrases that have a meaning in church documents that is different from that understood in everyday, normal speaking or writing.

We apologize to Father Albert Renckens and CatholicNews readers for the shortcoming in our editing.

CatholicNews has decided that it is not necessary to publish Part Two of Father Renckens' article as the subject is already extensively covered in the Special Report.

However, here is a summary of some of the points that Father Renckens made:

Some males and females feel sexually attracted and complemented by the different features of people of their own gender. These people are called homosexuals (or people with homosexual orientation), not because of what they do but because of what they are and experience.

Although expression of love between people with homosexual inclination is "natural" to them in the sense of this being in accordance with their sexual orientation, it does not mean that they can do sexually anything they like with other people with homosexual orientation, no more than people with heterosexual orientation can do with others of the same orientation.

As human beings, all of us are called by God to live and express our sexuality in a responsible manner. We may fail sometimes, but we know that God always pardons the repentant sinner.

Many of us Catholics act as if people with homosexual orientation do not exist or that they should be swept under the carpet, and as a result, quite a few people with homosexual orientation have gone abroad.

There is no Catholic support group for homosexuals in Singapore. Father Renckens feels that as Catholics we should do more. If we are to love also people with a homosexual orientation, the first step is to understand and accept their condition. This is not only needed for priests but especially for the families and parishes they belong to.

To promote better understanding and acceptance is the purpose of his article in CatholicNews.

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