By Hilary White
PORTSMOUTH, UK, November 12, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Over the weekend, the head of the Catholic diocese of Portsmouth, UK, issued a statement saying he supported the establishment of legal brothels, a move that has been widely condemned by those campaigning against the international trade in women.
Experts in the growing international sex-trafficking industry emphasize the damage done to women and girls by the legalization of prostitution. Still, Bishop Crispian Hollis told Reuters news service, echoing what abortion supporters have said about the need to legalize abortion, that his support for legalization of brothels was for the safety of the women.
“If you are going to take a pragmatic view and say prostitution happens, I think there’s a need to make sure it’s as well-regulated as possible for the health of people involved and for the safety of the ladies themselves.”
Most experts agree that one of the major obstacles in stopping the trade in women and young girls for enforced prostitution is legalized brothels such as those that are common in Germany. Hollis’ comments came in response to a campaign launched by the Hampshire Women’s Institute to legalize brothels.
“That’s not to say I approve of prostitution in any way,” Hollis hastened to add. “I don’t.” He said he would be “very much happier if there were no prostitution in Portsmouth or anywhere else, because I do regard those involved in any way as involved in some form of immorality.”
“But it’s going to be there whatever we do – it has been from time immemorial, so I think that’s something we have to be realistic about.”
Janice Raymond of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women International has written that legalization of prostitution is “a gift to pimps, traffickers and the sex industry.”
Legalization, she wrote, promotes and expands the sex industry, increasing the demand and helping the trade in women and girls; it increases clandestine, hidden, illegal and street prostitution and child prostitution. “It boosts the motivation of men to buy women for sex in a much wider and more permissible range of socially acceptable settings.”
While no comment has been forthcoming as yet from either Rome or any clarification from the Portsmouth diocese, the news spread over the internet in minutes and within hours, Catholic ‘bloggers’ were expressing dismay and outrage.
One writer, a Catholic science teacher going by the nom de plume “Mulier Fortis”, wrote, “His Lordship appears to have forgotten that, as shepherd of God’s flock which has been entrusted to him, his role is to uphold Catholic doctrine.”
Another commented, “No hint from the bishop that the problem might be rampant sexuality. No hint that people living well-ordered lives might act as examples to their neighbours. No hint that prostitution is both a sin itself and a cause of sin. No mention of sin, actually. In what morass have we sunk, and who has guided us there?”
Hollis is well known among British Catholics as an outspoken member of the “liberal” wing of the episcopate. He was the instigator of a three-week course offered to foreign clergy coming to the UK to minister to teach them the “British” way of doing things. The course, which costs £1,500 (Cn. $3,000), opened this month at Ushaw College outside Durham in Northumberland.
The President of Ushaw College, the Rev. Terry Drainey, was quoted by the Anglican Journal saying, “Some foreign priests working in Britain tend to be too dogmatic about the church’s moral rightness on just about everything. That’s not how we do things here. This course shows how we deal with a whole range of issues affecting Catholics, including the role of women, divorce, the lay ministry and homosexuality.”
Late last year, British law enforcement admitted that the problem of trafficking in women and girls to fuel the prostitution industry was much worse than previously thought. Fraser Nelson wrote in the Spectator’s December 30 edition that the Home Office was preparing a report that would admit that a new form of slave trade was operating in dozens of bordellos in Britain and that the main victims were the women from eastern European countries.
See related Lifesitenews.com articles:
Britain Awakens to New Slave Trade in Bordellos