Wednesday, May 23, 2012 by Jacqueline Calleja, Balzan
Various writings in newspapers seem to be implying that the Catholic Church, while being adamantly against marriage for same-sex couples, is slowly coming round to accepting civil unions for these same people. Nothing could be further from the truth. For the Catholic Church, any legislation that seeks to equate the union between a homosexual couple to that of a heterosexual couple can never be accepted. It would be contradictory for the Church to accept civil unions between same-sex couples and then reiterate in the Catholicism of the Catholic Church that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered… under no circumstance can they be approved" (CCC 2357).
In 2003, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued "considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons". At the time, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the Prefect for this important Church Congregation and these considerations were approved by Pope John Paul II, who ordered their publication. The following are some excerpts from this document.
"No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who, by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons."
"Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law."
"In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognised or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection."
"If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favour of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications."
"When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic lawmaker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral."
"The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognise, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values that belong to the common inheritance of humanity."