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  • Message of the Orthodox Church of Moldova regarding the ratification of Istanbul Convention by the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova

    Presidency of the Republic of Moldova

    Parliament of the Republic of Moldova

    Government of the Republic of Moldova

     

    MESSAGE of the Orthodox Church of Moldova regarding the ratification of Istanbul Convention by the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova

    Dear Mrs. President,

    Dear Members of Parliament,

    Dear Members of the Government

    The Orthodox Church of Moldova is repeatedly expressing concern regarding the ratification in the First Reading of the Convention of the Council of Europe on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (hereinafter, Convention of Istanbul) by the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova.

    We draw your attention to the name of this legal document that, at the first glance, seems to be embellished with good intentions. It goes without saying that violence against any person is condemnable.

    However, just like in the case of the Convention of Istanbul, details may hide […] we know whom. A series of very plastic formulations and legal nuances hidden in the mentioned Convention may open the gate to an avalanche of severe consequences for our society – though it is, as we know, far from being perfect.

    One of the most controversial aspects of the Convention of Istanbul is the definition of the concept of “gender”. According to Art. 3, letter c) of the Convention, “gender” shall mean the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women and men”.

    So for the first time, an international treaty does not classically define “gender” with “biological sex”, but gives it a definition of a “socially constructed” notion. It leads to series of implications with ideological significance, whereas the norm stipulated in Art. 3, letter c) comes to inform us that as a “socially constructed notion”, a human being is born “neutral”. Consequently, gender may be altered by the society of person. Thus, this text denies the objective reality of existence of a man and a woman.

     

    Moreover, such approach directly contradicts a fundamental biblical truth: So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. [Genesis 1: 27].

    To continue, equally problematic is the norm of Art. 12, par. (1) that states: Parties shall take the necessary measures to promote changes in the social and cultural patterns of behaviour of women and men with a view to eradicating prejudices, customs, traditions and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority of women or on stereotyped roles for women and men.

    Convention of Istanbul intends to “eradicate traditions”. The idea itself of eradicating, or the culture of annihilating, is dangerous. History may not just be thrown into rubbish pit. The convention proposed for ratification does not come to explain which decision-making body and set of standards will be put at the basis of eradication (see also Art. 27 for reporting).

    In the same context, it is improbable that people nowadays are able to make important discoveries in matters of morale, ethics, or philosophy. We want to believe that the European society is based on acquiring wisdom, and we are beneficiaries of a Christian spiritual heritage accumulated during thousands of years, and it cannot be neglected in such unwise manner, however well intended may those who want to ratify the convention be.

    Another aspect that arises concern is the attempt against religious freedom. According to Art. 42 of the Convention: Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that, in criminal proceedings initiated following the commission of any of the acts of violence covered by the scope of this Convention, culture, custom, religion, tradition or so-called “honour” shall not be regarded as justification for such acts.

    The danger of this norm may come from the extended interpretation of the term of violence, including here the very vague notion of psychological violence (see. Art. 33). For example, marriage between a man and a woman may be considered an obsolete tradition.

    In the same manner, we note Art. 28 of the Convention that states: Parties shall take the necessary measures to ensure that the confidentiality rules imposed by internal law on certain professionals do not constitute an obstacle to the possibility, under appropriate conditions, of their reporting to the competent organisations or authorities if they have reasonable grounds to believe that a serious act of violence covered by the scope of this Convention, has been committed and further serious acts of violence are to be expected.

    This article puts under question the professional secret of a series of social categories: doctors, psychologists, priests, lawyers, mediators, etc.

    The stipulations of the Convention directly attack the rights of parents to educate their own children. Reminding about the controversy of the definition of “gender”, art. 14 of the Convention comes to impose the same theory at “all levels of education”. Thus, it can be noted that, although in its preamble the Convention of Istanbul refers to international legal documents (such as Universal Declaration of Human Rights), acts that provide religious freedom and ensure the parents’ rights to educate their own children, these are completely ignored in the text of the Convention of Istanbul.

    In this context, we also remind about the verification mechanism (GREVIO) that in time may become a true “police of thinking”. In addition, it is known that a number of countries of the Council of Europe and even European Union did not ratify this Convention (for ex., Bulgaria, Great Britain, etc.). Other countries refused to accept or are still debating the acceptance of the Convention of Istanbul (Poland, Hungary, Turkey). In some countries (for ex., Slovakia) there considerable debates, and the Convention of Istanbul is seen as Trojan Horse that intends to introduce “the third sex” and “same sex marriages”. The Constitutional Court of Bulgaria declared this Convention unconstitutional on 27 July 2018.

    Art. 4, par. (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova states that: Wherever disagreements appear between the conventions and treaties on fundamental human rights to which the Republic of Mol­dova is a party and its domestic laws, priority shall be given to international regulations. We consider that in this case it is imperative that the ratification of any convention, especially one that has a major impact on various spheres of life in our society, shall be preceded by reaching a broad national consensus, with veritable disputes. In this case, the ratification of the Convention shall be succeeded by a series of acts: laws, government decision, etc., that result from the obligation assumed under the Convention of Istanbul.

    The Orthodox Church of Moldova has always supported the prevention and combatting of violence in the family, and violence in general, including the prevention and combatting of negative effects of the encouragement of violence promoted in films, literature, theatre, video games, internet, mass-media, as well as the fight against vices and addictions that vafour violence. Love of the neighbour, peace, sensibility, good understanding, patience, are essential human and Christian concepts promoted by the Church in our society. Joint with the efforts of public authorities and the existing legal levers, these contribute to the prevention and combatting of violence, and not to the propaganda of gender ideology. Each of us individually, and all of us collectively, are called to build our common spiritual and moral well-being.

    The Orthodox Church of Moldova repeatedly expresses its opposition to the ratification of the Convention of Istanbul.

    We pray to Good God to grand to the legislative forum wisdom and help in good acts!

    † VLADIMIR,

    METROPOLITAN OF CHISINAU AND ALL MOLDOVA