Tuesday, 2 December 2008

RC church supports death penalty for homosexuality

Sensationalised title - yes.

But true nonetheless.

The Vatican is to oppose a UN Resolution calling on governments to decriminalise homosexuality.

You can read the Irish Times take on it here while the International Herald Tribune has the story here.

And there was me thinking Catholics were concerned with the right to life yet now stand opposed to ending death sentences for those who are "convicted" in countries where homosexuality remains a crime.

It's a bizarre world we live in.


Stephen Glenn 2 December 2008 at 17:13  

Very weird indeed Malc. A hat tip has been given. :)

berenike 3 December 2008 at 10:36  

Um. It would be bizarre if it were true. But it's not.

If the Holy See were to oppose the decriminalisation of theft, would that mean "The Roman Catholic Chuch Supports the Chopping-Off of Thieves' Hands"?

It wouldn't.

Wee consideration of the question:

1) If this resolution is purely about the decriminalisation of homosexuality, then presumably it covers all legislations in which sexual activity between people of the same sex is a criminal offence, and not just those where you get killed for it. One might campaign for the abolition of the death penalty for this act, or indeed in general, while thinking that it should be decriminalised.

2) I haven't seen the resolution. However, looking at it pragmatically: you think this sort of thing makes any difference in countries where they execute people for buggery and chop people's hands off for theft? No, of course you don't. You're not daft. "UN resolution brings about radical change in Islamic regimes across North Africa". Nah. While I am sure many people are behind this resolution because they think it is a noble expression of noble intentions ekcetra, it will have zilch effect on the declared problem, but is likely to have a considerable effect within the community of countries which don't execute people for homosexual acts, or indeed for anything. The phrasing of these things is important, because one definition in one document defines the meaning of existing and future documents using the term defined. You can't think it odd for the HS to oppose something that will in no way further the cause of the abolition of the death penalty, but is very likely to affect, as the Irish Times article quotes the HS's UN observer, legislation on marriage, for example. You might think they ought not to oppose homosexual marriages, but given that they do, and that this resolution will, as I have pointed out, have no effect on countries which execute homosexuals, it's not at all bizarre they are opposing it. (I suppose you might believe it will have some effect. But then you should argue that point, and not say "the Pope thinks we should kill homosexuals".)

The Holy See works quite hard at the UN for many things, and the death penalty is not one of them.

Here's a wee quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church para 2267 "Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."

Sorry about the ramblingness of the comment, hope it makes sense.

Malc 3 December 2008 at 11:43  


That's kinda why I didn't go over the top with the headline. It IS half true though.

I'll agree with point one - though "decriminalising" homosexuality does not equate with legalising gay marriage (or even civil partnerships) which is what the RC Church is opposed to.

I'll also agree that the UN Resolution is unlikely to bring massive change in militant Islamic regimes. But I'm happier living in a world where the UN makes it clear that everyone should be treated equally. I think the UN is a complete waste of time (it does nothing when it should do a lot) but if it is going to exist then it should state clearly what it thinks is acceptable and unacceptable practice for its members.

Incidentally, I categorically did not say "the Pope thinks we should kill homosexuals" but if they are opposing action aimed at stopping the practice of executing people for that very reason, then it amounts to the same thing.

Also, your analogy with theft is way off the mark.

But thanks for the comment.

berenike 3 December 2008 at 12:03  
This comment has been removed by the author.
berenike 3 December 2008 at 12:07  
This comment has been removed by the author.
berenike 3 December 2008 at 12:08  

Oops, point 1) should read "One might campaign for the abolition of the death penalty for this act, or indeed in general, while notthinking that it [sc. homosexual activity] should be decriminalised."

Like with the theft thing: you can perfectly well think both that stealing should be a crime and that we should not chop hands off people who steal.

The second point was also supposed to be saying that the HS's opposing this resolution doesn't necessarily mean they don't per se support the decriminalisation of homosexual acts. Not that I think they do, but opposition to this resolution doesn't actually tell you what the HS's position in this matter is.

[those were my deleted comments, I kept getting the html in the wrong place!]

Stephen Glenn 3 December 2008 at 14:30  

Thing is the resolution is attempting to get rid of the "crime" of being who you are not overturn any nations punishment for the crime of what they do. There is a differenetiation which the Holy See appear to be unable to see.

berenike 3 December 2008 at 17:21  

The HS clearly thinks this is not about "overturn[ing] any nations punishment for the crime of what they do", but about decriminalising homosexual acts, and will have an effect on other legislation.

Your blog post objected to the the HS being "opposed to ending death sentences" for homosexuality.

I am now lost as to what your actual objection is! :-)

tres arty photie, by the way.

berenike 3 December 2008 at 17:22  

oh hang on, you're not the blogger, sorry about that, adjust the above comment as nec. must dash or would do it myself.

Ronnie. 12 October 2009 at 19:45  

I`m not a catholic, I would however take a great deal of pleasure in executing the homos.
Tell the old pope to get in touch.
What about all them weird priests, how are they gona get their kicks?

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