Sunday, 21 December 2008

Times: The dangers of decriminalisation
Thursday, 18th December 2008 byJacqueline Calleja, Balzan

In the early sixties the battle to have abortion legalised raged in many countries, the initial step being that of having abortion decriminalised. The abortion lobby cited the large number of women dying from unsafe abortions carried out by back-street abortionists as its main reason for having abortion sanctioned by law. The Catholic Church was accused of being insensitive to the plight of women dying at the hands of what the Italians called "mammane". Eventually, decriminalisation of abortion quickly translated itself into its legalisation in a large number of countries, this often being presented as the best possible solution to solve an intractable problem.

A similar strategy was and is still being used by those who would like to have drugs, especially soft drugs, legalised. The argument brought forward is that the criminal world would suffer a devastating blow were drugs to be legalised and consequently drug-related crimes would dramatically decrease.

Roughly the same scenario is present today with regards to same-sex marriages. The Catholic Church is being described as indifferent to the sufferings of homosexuals in countries where harsh penalties are carried out on those who practice homosexual acts. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Church makes it clear that "The number of men and women who have deep seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2358).

However, the Church recognises that the whole intention behind the decriminalisation of homosexuality is the eventual recognition of same-sex unions and the equating of heterosexual to homosexual marriages. The latter is the ultimate aim of all the lobbying carried out by homosexual organisations the world over.

The Catholic Church has learned from bitter experience what the decriminalisation of, for example abortion, has meant for her agencies and institutions. In the United Kingdom, many Catholic agencies that worked for the adoption of children are threatened with closure because of the Church's refusal to give children up for adoption to homosexual couples. In the United States, if the future Obama administration forges ahead and the Freedom of Choice law comes into effect, many Catholic hospitals and institutions will have to close shop because of the pressure that will be put on them to carry out abortions. The same could happen if the French and EU-sponsored proposal at the United Nations to decriminalise homosexuality is successful. Nations - and there are over a hundred of them - which together with the Vatican disagree with the proposal, will be discriminated against and come under enormous pressure to accept the unacceptable - the equation of heterosexual and homosexual unions.

[See more comments on the original website]

Kenneth Cassar (13 hours, 38 minutes ago)
@ Gerry Cowie:

You "point out" that "sarcasm and verbal attack are not the way to conduct a debate, whether a religious or non religious".

I agree with you, but would like to add that neither does having no opinion (or not stating it as you conveniently choose to do) on sending harmless innocents to prison (or torture or death) add anything to the debate either. You also conveniently do not give an opinion about the Vatican's insistence on not unreservedly condemning the treatment of homosexuals as criminals or worse.

You say that you are"sure that the Church does not persecute or allow persecution of homosexual persons "in Jesus' name" or anybody else's!". Here's where you're wrong. The Pope is Christ's representative on Earth (or so he claims to be), so when the Pope allows the persecution of homosexuals (which is what he does if he does not oppose it), he pretends to be doing so in Jesus' name. Get your facts right, Gerry Cowie.

Marianna Galea Xuereb (2 days, 3 hours ago)
Homosexuality between consenting adults should not be criminalized but neither should a gay union be called a marriage. I think the only thing that needs to be amended (with regard to gays) in the Maltese Islands is to treat Gay partners as “next of kin” when one of them is hospitalized. Gay couples should not generally be allowed to adopt children under eighteen years of age either, unless they are biological nephews/nieces and the gay couple/ Child set-up continous to be monitored by social workers who should also ensure that the child is also made familiar with families run by heterosexual couples. With regard to inheritance rights one can always draw up a will and name the gay partner as beneficiary.

Gerry Cowie (2 days, 4 hours ago)
Once again Mrs Calleja speaks her mind.

I am continually amazed at our secularist, Mr Flynn, who seems to have a remarkable knowledge of the catholic religion despite his total lack of interest in it!

For those who knock the Catholic adoption agencies in the UK, there are plenty of other adoption agencies run by those with different beliefs. Besides, the Catholic agencies are very small and it is not surprising that they feel bound by the laws of their church. It is likely that they will close.

Catholics are as entitled to stick to their beliefs as, indeed, are secularists to their lack of belief in a God.

Please note that I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing with Ms Calleja, but simply pointing out to you regulars that sarcasm and verbal attack are not the way to conduct a debate, whether a religious or non religious.

You wish Ms Calleja would get her facts right, so just do so yourselves and build a more upright case!

I am sure that the Church does not persecute or allow persecution of homosexual persons "in Jesus' name" or anybody else's!

However it does stand up clearly for the rights of the unborn!

Daniel Bartolo (2 days, 8 hours ago)
How about writing another article called: The dangers of Criminalisation? You have managed to turn an argument against sending people to jail for being gay, upside down! What is the worst: having two loving people live together in respect and respecting/being respected by society or punishing people for being gay? Not difficult to answer, if you have any respect for fellow human beings.

Erin Ciantar (2 days, 9 hours ago)
Quite easily cold hearted. The word compassion does not exist here. Absolutely shocking that this kind of blinkered ignorance is still alive and well.

Daniel Bartolo (2 days, 14 hours ago)
@Jacqueline Calleja
"..The whole intention behind the decriminalisation of homosexuality is the eventual recognition of same-sex unions and the equating of heterosexual to homosexual marriages..."

So while you condemn discrimination against homosexuals, you would rather turn a blind eye and do absolutely nothing while hundreds of homosexuals are punished and killed by their governments just for being born gay. Very Christian indeed.

Do you know your history, Mrs.Calleja? Because the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Your position is eerily similar to the position taken by the Church in the 1930s regarding the deportation and massacre of the Jews in many so called 'catholic' countries. The Church said and did NOTHING to stop the upcoming massacre of the Jews.

I still have to be convinced that having the government recognise the relationship between two homosexuals will harm anyone. How does this exactly impinge on anyone's relationship, Mrs. Calleja? If you were gay, would you honestly consider your own relationship to be of lower quality? And why should YOU be deciding that anyone's relationship cannot be recognised? Don't you think they should also have a say? Or are they children of a lesser god?

Ramon Casha (2 days, 14 hours ago)
What you are telling us is why decriminalisation is a good thing. If, in the UK, Catholic adoption agencies are abusing their position to prevent people from adoption when they qualify according to the rules of the land, then they SHOULD be closed. These institutions are taking taxpayers' money to provide this service, and therefore are subject to the same laws as anybody else. They DO NOT OWN the children in their care.

The insensitivity of the church is well known. I know of more than one case where a child was refused baptism because its parents were "living in sin", and all the time telling the parents that their child will never enter heaven because it's not baptised.

The official, published catechism of the church and its actions in practice are often unrelated. This is why it says that gay people "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity" while on the other hand voting to send them to prisons or give them the death penalty.

William P Flynn (2 days, 14 hours ago)
Has something changed Ms Calleja? Some time ago you were saying people were homosexuals as a result of a "lifestyle choice" and you were quoting the Bible to encourage them to "change their ways" so they can get the sacraments again. Is this "Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2358" something new?

Nice warm words, this "Catechism 2358". But does the church believe homosexuals should be treated like criminals or not? Come on, spell it out.

If countries insist on making homosexuality a criminal offence, well, that would be one way of refilling the empty seminaries.

C Attard (2 days, 15 hours ago)
Decriminalisation of abortion = legalisation of abortion.
Decriminlisation of homosexuality = same-sex marriage?

Not quite. Yet another shameful letter from this bible-thumper doing what she does best: defending the indefensible against all logic. Is this the so called 'culture of life' the Catholic Church claims to defend? Opposing the ban on the execution of people simply for who they are and who they love?

C.Mercieca (2 days, 15 hours ago)
As usual jacqueline, your line of thought is irrational and you're talking in a language which earthlings don't understand...when will you ever decide to open your mind?

Kenneth Cassar (2 days, 15 hours ago)
Interesting logic. So, just to avoid the possibility of legal recognition of same-sex unions, the Catholic church chooses not to sign the decriminalisation of homosexuality and letting people be imprisoned (or worse, tortured and killed) just because they are homosexual - of course, all this in Jesus' name.

But fear not. In a few centuries, the Catholic church will recognise its grave mistake and apologise...but not before thousands would have been wrongly imprisoned or killed.

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