The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Is forcing sex on your spouse without their consent, rape? What does the Catholic Church Say

Archbishop Patrick Pinder
The Archdiocese of Nassau, Bahamas, has come out in support of legislature to deal with marital rape.

“To the extent that the proposed legislation seeks to address the unfortunate reality of marital rape and in the measure that it seeks to preserve the dignity of every person and to safeguard marriage as a covenant of life and love between a man and woman, the Catholic Church offers its prayerful support”, reads an August 27 statement from Archbishop Patrick Pinder on the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2009.

Giving the Church’s perspective, Archbishop Pinder said God created man and woman in such a way that through their bodies “it would be self-evident that they are called to love and give themselves to one another in the gift of marriage”, a sacrament according to the Catholic understanding. “By its nature, then, marriage is an intimate union of life and love.”

Woman and man exist in a partnership where one partner completes the other, making the relationship one of complementarity and not ownership, the archbishop said, adding, “no person can be the possession of another. Human dignity does not allow this.”

Therefore, he continued, “When an individual is forced to engage in sexual activity against his or her will then the perpetrator does violence to the dignity and value of the human person created in the image and likeness of God.”

When this happens in the context of marriage, the biblical understanding is distorted and the relationship between the couple is ruptured. “Such sexual activity is nor conjugal love and is rightly seen as a crime against the dignity of the human person.”

Archbishop Pinder was strong in condemning rape saying it is never an act of love but an act of violence which can never be “allowed or permitted or justified or rationalised under any circumstance…. rape has no place in the communion of life and love which is marriage properly understood.”

He said proving cases of marital rape might make the application of the proposed law difficult and will require particular care “to protect against false accusations… so as to safeguard the presumption of innocence which is a fundamental right of all persons.”

The archbishop urged Bahamian legislators that it therefore may be necessary to amend a section of the Bill “to provide that no prosecution may be commenced against a person accused of marital rape without the consent of the Attorney General.”


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