HEAD of the Roman Catholic church in TT, Archbishop Jason Gordon and Leela Ramdeen, consultant with the Catholic Commission for Social Justice are both in agreement with Pope Francis’ view that homosexuality is not a crime.
The Pope made this declaration last Tuesday.
Speaking on the issue over the weekend, Ramdeen said, “The number is not negligible, which means the church is accepting there are quite a lot of people who are homosexual. This is a quote from our catechism, ‘They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. They call to fulfil God’s will in their life.’
“So what in fact our church is saying is, while we do not accept that they should be discriminated, we ask them the call to chastity.”
She also said the Pope made it clear there is a distinction between a crime and a sin.
Ramdeen quoted the Pope, “Being homosexual is not a crime. It’s not a crime, yes, but it’s a sin. First, let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime.”
“The Pope also said it’s a sin to lack charity with one another, meaning anybody who is not charitable, who wants to discriminate against homosexuals, that’s also a sin. Every child is a child of God. Everyone is a child of God, God don’t make rubbish.”
She referred to the Jason Jones case which went all the way to the Privy Council in 2018.
Jones, a gay man, lives in London, but because he flies frequently to TT, he lives in constant fear of having to face 25 years in jail for his sexual preference.
“Why is it that while our colonial masters who got rid of this so long ago, we want to put people in jail for 25 years, because they’re homosexual? There are so many other issues that we should be addressing.”
Archbishop Gordon also weighed in on the matter and referred Newsday to his article on the Catholic TT website in 2018. In this article, he repeated what Ramdeen said.
“Buggery is a serious moral offence, but it should not put someone in prison for 25 years.”
He added, “There has been much debate on homosexuality over the last decade or so. The public perception has shifted significantly. Many countries including Ireland, England and the United States have changed the definition of marriage to include same sex couples.
“It is now socially unacceptable to discriminate against a person over their sexual orientation or lifestyle. In a very short time we have found ourselves in a very different social context when it comes to public sentiment on these issues.”
Gordon said moral issues are not “a matter of emotion.”
“It is not what you feel, or feel passionately. It is a matter of reasoning from biblical principles and church teachings. I know a major objection is that repealing the buggery laws will open the door to same sex marriage.
“These may well be strategies that are tied together. We need to deal with them separately. We will oppose same sex marriage in every way possible. That is a different issue.”