WE READ THE article with mixed feelings. On the one hand, we are glad that CN has taken the step to feature an article on the subject of homosexuality, to educate/inform the general public. This is long overdue. On the other hand, we are concerned that the approach taken in the article may unwittingly confuse the general public.

1) Rather than accept the labelling "homosexuals", would a reference such as "people with homosexual orientation/inclinations" be more accurate? They are man or woman, and not a third sex called "homosexuals". At the least this point should be clearly made. The person and the action (or tendency to the act) is different. If they are different, the person has a choice, a freedom of will to act. Labelling tends to combine the person and the act as one and the same.

2) The article tends to give the impression that it is a fact that such people are born (created) with this orientation - i.e. it is "natural" (which then makes it easy to say the homosexual act is "natural"). The comparison with people who are born "taller" or of a certain race, tends to again emphasize the author's opinion that this is an inborn characteristic (similar to height or race). Is this indeed the case? When we last read the many websites on this subject, the information suggested that, as yet, there is no scientific evidence to support this opinion. Does the author (or CN) have new scientific evidence accepted by the church, to support this opinion?

3) Towards the end of the article, the author states his disagreement with the church's teachings, and reiterates his opinion that "homosexual orientation" should be "understood as a 'variant' or 'diversity' of our human condition". The CN is not a publication directed at a special audience - for example, clergy - to debate the teachings of the church. The CN is a means of communicating to the general public, who may or may not be well versed in such matters. The average reader tends to accept what is written without much question (except for a minority who may or may not write in to ask for clarification). And when an article is authored by a priest, it has even greater weight/influence on the average reader.

4) The key message is that we should all treat every human being (man or woman, and not describe them as heterosexuals or homosexuals) with love. Might it not be more effective to just talk about man or woman? Or that all man or woman, however different they are (whether with homosexual inclinations or other inclinations), should be treated with the same love and respect and not be discriminated against? Or that any discrimination should be on the act, and not on the person?

5) Perhaps the second instalment of the article will address/clarify the subject. Unfortunately, some may not get to read it. Even if they do, an impression is already formed and this impression will cause the reader to be unconsciously biased, even while reading subsequent articles. If an average reader, after reading this first article, goes away with the impression that "homosexuality" is "natural" (even if the thrust of the article is on homosexual "inclinations") and cannot be  changed (i.e. controlled by free will, mistaking the reference to homosexual "inclination" as reference to the homosexual act), then further clarification on this would be an uphill task. It would have been better then, to have had one complete article instead of two instalments.

    Thomas & Cecilia Chia

Singapore

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