Catholic Church takes stand against homosexuality, abortion

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The Catholic Church has officially taken a stand against homosexuality and abortion in a pastoral letter that was read out in all its churches across the country on Sunday.

The pastoral letter, which is dated March 2, 2013, signed by all bishops of the church including the chairperson of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), Joseph Zuza, also speaks against artificial birth control.

While describing homosexual orientation as disordered, the bishops argue that one is always responsible for the behaviour that stems from his or her sexual orientation.

They also argue that one may be homosexual and not engage in homosexual acts, and one may not be a homosexual and nevertheless engage in homosexual acts.

“The Church’s ministers must ensure that homosexual persons and those indulging in homosexuality acts, if any exists in their care, will not be misled by this movement, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not,” the letter reads in part.

The bishops further condemn as gravely sinful direct abortion as a family planning method as well as other artificial methods of birth control.

Activist Kizito Kaunjika, who heads a pressure group that is fighting legalisation of abortion and same sex relationships, hailed the church’s stand and called on all Christians to heed the call and share the message.

“The church has taken the right direction to guide the faithful on these important issues. It is my hope that the people will heed the message of the bishops and be able to share it with others so that the message should spread,” said Kaunjika.

Executive Director of Malawi Health Equity Network (MEHN) Martha Kwataine said her organisation also does not support abortion particularly where there are no medical grounds to support termination of pregnancy.

“The church has every right to speak on these matters and as MEHN we share the view on abortion. We, however, encourage that people must have access to as many alternatives of family planning methods as possible to prevent conception,” Kwataine said.

Minister of Information Moses Kunkuyu said as government they have to critically look at the issues tackled in the pastoral letter before coming with an official position.

He, however, hinted that government had already communicated how they will deal with some of the issues raised like homosexuality.

The government has so far let the public debate on the issues without taking a stand on them.

The Catholic Church is the biggest conventional church in the country and has influence in local politics since early 1990s.

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