horn Dr Gregory Slysz
Sir, The Vatican's condemnation (report, August 1) of legislation intent on legalising marriage between homosexuals and granting them the right to adopt children, while of course correct, was somewhat strange, given that it came merely a few weeks after the Holy See's emphatic endorsement of the European Union's enlargement into Eastern Europe.
For a number of years. many observers of the EU have pointed out the indisputable connection between the EU and gay rights legislation that contravenes Christian teaching. The Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice treaties, as well as the forthcoming European Constitution, all have clauses that prohibit discrimination in areas such as marriage and adoption on grounds of sexual orientation.
The EU's laws are not a la carte, but have to be implemented in full by every member state. It follows that legislation, which is currently receiving the attention of several European parliaments, including Britain's, intending to legalise marriage between homosexuals and to grant such couples adoption rights, originates from the EU.
It seems inconceivable that senior Vatican officials like Cardinal Ratzinger, the author of last week's report, fail to recognise the source of such legislation. If they do acknowledge the EU's culpability, then why does the Vatican offer it such widespread support?
Yours faithfully, DR GREGORY SLYSZ [email protected] London W3 From Miss Maureen Oliver Sir, Although I fully understand the Church's teaching on homosexual relationships — that they are outside God's plan for humankind and that, therefore, sexual expression and the possibility of marriage for gay people are proscribed — I was saddened both by the tone of your coverage of the Vatican document on "gay marriage", and by at least one aspect of the document itself. I had to ask myself: "Where is the compassion to be found in all this?"
Our Lord chose to spend time
with those beyond the pale in his society — prostitutes and tax collectors. When questioned he said: "I do not come for the righteous but for sinners to bring them to repentance." Furthermore, he said of the woman taken in adultery: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
Don't forget, in your condemnation of gays and lesbians, that in order to live by the precepts of Holy Church homosexuals are asked to forego human sexual love entirely and to be celibate without a calling. This is a bitter pill indeed.
I am myself a lesbian and a Catholic. I am now celibate and I intend to remain so. In the past I was a gay activist, and I tried to fight the hatred and discrimination experienced by homosexuals. It was tough work.
On the one hand, Cardinal Ratzinger says that discrimination is wrong, and on the other he dedicates his document to the martyred Ugandan Christians who were victims of a murderous paedophile, described as a "homosexual". With all due reverence for those martyrs, in so doing the cardinal is associating all gay people with this kind of evil, an action that will inevitably lead to yet more hatred and discrimination.
When I worked as a volunteer for a gay organisation I had to deal with the fact of the suicides of many young people, often from Christian backgrounds, who could not bear to live because of their sexuality and who had sometimes been thrown out of their homes by those same Christian families. I also worked on cases where gays had been beaten and often killed because of their sexuality.
Stick to the teachings of Mother Church by all means, but don't forget to pray for those who find themselves, unaccountably, attracted to the "wrong" sex.
I do not believe that Christian marriage is appropriate for gay relationships, but neither do I believe homosexual people should be denied basic rights. It is not the gay couple next door who threaten the Christian institution of marriage in the Western world. The institution is rather threatened by the fact that few in our society care about, or have any interest in, the message of Jesus Christ. That is something that the Church needs to address.
Yours faithfully, MAUREEN OLIVER New Malden, Surrey