Madagascar’s Catholic Bishops Fault Bill to Castrate Child Rapists as “against human dignity”


Members of the Episcopal Conference of Madagascar (CEM) have condemned a bill that proposes to have rapists of minors castrated, arguing that such a law goes “against human dignity.”

In a February 23 ruling that cannot be appealed, Madagascar’s High Constitutional Court (HCC) approved the implementation of surgical castration for perpetrators of rape against minors.

The new bill introduces a penalty of surgical castration for “perpetrators of rape committed on a child under the age of 10”; it allows “chemical or surgical” castration for rapists of children aged between 10 and 13 and chemical castration for rapists of minors aged between 13 and 18.

Until now, the minimum sentence for child rape was five-year imprisonment.

In a statement shared with ACI Africa Wednesday, May 15, CEM members say, “It is obvious that rape or abuse of any other kind is a criminal act; the Church firmly condemns it. She is in communion and compassion with the victims; she comforts them; and even demands that they be taken care of.”


However, they pose, “Is it really through this law that we could truly eradicate rape?”

The Catholic Bishops advocate for the reinforcement of the current law that imposes a five-year prison sentence for rapists.

They argue that the “teachings of the Church, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Madagascar's current fundamental law all speak with one voice in affirming that torture goes against human dignity.”

“The human body is so sacred as the work of God and redeemed by Christ that no one has any power over it, not even the law,” CEM members say in their 13-point statement dated May 9.

They add, “The man who enacts the law infringing on the human body claims to take the place of God. But a human being who claims to take the place of God becomes the worst danger for himself and above all for the whole nation.”

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In their statement, CEM members also express concern about birth control, “which is currently on the government's agenda, if not a priority.”

“Deciding to procreate is a matter of free choice and will on the part of the spouses, and the child that results is their own responsibility,” Catholic Bishops say, adding, “This is natural family planning in line with the teaching of the Catholic Church, insofar as it respects human dignity.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.