Open letter of His Beatitude Patriarch Teoctist against the intention of the Romanian Parliament to abrogate Article 200 in the Penal Code, concerning the homosexual relations
At the end of June, 2000, following the recommendation of the European Parliament to harmonise certain stipulations in the Penal Code with Resolution 1123 of the Council of Europe, the House of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament analysed the bill that provides among other things, the abrogation of Article 200 concerning homosexuality.
Before the final vote, during the debates over the respective bill, His Beatitude Patriarch Teoctist addressed the following open letter to the deputies and senators in the Romanian Parliament:
A CALL TO RESPONSIBILITY
The Appeal of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church addressed to the Senators and Deputies in the Romanian Parliament - September 13, 2000
Dear Senators and Deputies,
The abrogation of Article 200 in the Penal Code by the House of Deputies caused a great sadness in our souls and in those of the great majority of the Romanians. The imminent debate of this issue in the Romanian Senate worries us even more.
Therefore, in the name of God from whom any rule and power comes and of the millions of Orthodox Christians who mandated the Romanian parliamentarians by their votes, we ask them not to pass laws in contradiction with the Christian morals, with the natural law, as well as with the dignity and vocation of the family.
The Romanian people asks the Holy Synod, through numberless written requests not to remain silent when faced with the danger that the traditional way of life of the Romanians be trampled on, the Holy Scripture despised, and the family given homosexuality as an alternative.
The people asks us to remind its elected persons in the Romanian Parliament not to become estranged from those who elected them, not to be in contradiction with the voice of the majority represented by the Christians of this country. The people expresses, through the voice of the Church, its desire that the legislators in the Parliament of today and of tomorrow too, the Government of today and of tomorrow too, to give ear to the real stringent needs of the Romanians who will go to the polling station this autumn.
Today, we, the hierarchs of the Holy Synod wonder ourselves, at the same time with the whole of the population of our country why the economic issues, those of social protection, of support of culture, education and health, as well as those concerning the diminishing of violence and crime are not treated and solved as priorities for the integration of Romania in the European structures? Why just the cessation of the indictment of propaganda for homosexual relations mentioned in article 200 in the Penal Code became a priority for the legislative forums of the country at the end of this administration?
We remind you that the Romanian Orthodox Church – together with the other religious cults in Romania – expressed, through the Declaration of the religious cults for the integration of Romanian in the European Union, its desire to support the integration of Romania in the European structures. It was specified at the time that the cultural particularities, as well as those of mentality or religion of every nation could serve as a link and richness for the European unity.
The Holy Synod does affirm that having signed the Declaration mentioned above the Romanian Orthodox Church responsibly assumed its willingness to support the process of European integration but it does not agree with decisions that lead to the moral and spiritual degradation of the Romanian society.
We are sure that in spite of all appearances, the European structures will receive us, in their bosom, with our specific features, with our Christian traditional identity. We also think that a dialogue and a richness of spiritual values is desired, not a unity artificially imposed.
Dear members of the Parliament,
The Church does not ask you to pass bills designed to punish those affected by sins against nature. The Church proves understanding, forgiving and patience towards these persons, placing at their disposal spiritual means to improve themselves. Yet, we consider necessary that law punish the propaganda of their practices through public manifestations, mass-media, through their own institutions and so on.
We are sure that this appeal will find its proper echo in your conscience as sons of the Romanian Orthodox Church and of the other religious cults in Romania. We pray God to bestow His life giving guiding light on all of you, so that you should not adopt a decision that may affect the dearest value of a nation, that is the family.
PRESIDENT OF THE HOLY SYNOD
+ T E O C T I S T
PATRIARCH OF THE ROMANIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
The bill is to be debated by the Senate, the higher house of the Romanian Parliament, in the autumn session.