Is the Church pro-civil unions?

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In Chiesa Express Online, Sandro Magister scoops stories for Catholics in much the same way Matt Drudge does for political junkies in his Drudge Report.  In the end, the news and analysis sometimes aren’t “the whole truth and nothing but the whole truth” because they are reported in real time as the stories continue to develop.

Sandro Magister’s report today is a stunner and, if the story develops as Magister’s account suggests it may, will end up being a blockbuster of a scoop, reverberating globally for proponents of “civil unions”…supported by the Church.

The bottom line?

Magister cites the New York Times article which reported that then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio—when the passage of a “homosexual marriage” law was being debated in Argentina—“was in favor of a compromise solution that would have legitimized civil unions for homosexuals.”

To be fair, Bergoglio also wrote that the new law was a product of “the envy of the devil, through which sin entered into the world: an envy that seeks astutely to destroy the image of God; that is, the man and woman who receive the command to grow, multiply, and rule the earth.”  But, Bergoglio wrote that in a letter sent to four convents of cloistered nuns.

Complicating this story are some high-ranking prelates who have sided with the proponents of civil unions.  Read the post for the details, the most troubling being the Archbishop-Emeritus of Mechelen-Brussels, Cardinal Godfried Daneels, who has stated that the Church “has never opposed the fact that there should exist a sort of ‘marriage’ between homosexuals, but one therefore speaks of a ‘sort of’ marriage, not of true marriage between a man and a woman, therefore another word must be found for the dictionary.”  Daneels concluded: “About the fact that this should be legal, that it should be made legitimate through a law, about this the Church has nothing to say.”

The problem: The Pope’s silence on the matter—evidently because he is more concerned about “the oppression of the poor and defrauding workers of their wages—rather than….the sin of the sodomites,” according to Magister.  He notes:

But to react to the challenge he relies more upon the prayers of the cloistered sisters than upon public proclamations, solemn declarations, or demonstrations in the street.

Until today there are no signs that as bishop of Rome he may wish to change this line of conduct.

Then, too,  the Vatican’s spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, has stated:

[One must] clearly emphasize that marriage between a man and a woman is a specific and fundamental institution in the history of humanity. This does not change the fact that there could be some recognition of other forms of union between two persons. (italics added)

When asked what about Pope Francis’ reaction, Fr. Lombardi said: “It is the pope who must speak, I will let him talk.”

So, is the Pope open to and will the Church work out an accommodation concerning civil unions?

That’s not the primary question of interest to The Motley Monk, although it probably is focal for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

“What is going on here?” is The Motley Monk’s primary question.

Let there be no doubt that proponents of “homosexual marriage” will do everything in their power to advance their cause by besmirching Church teaching concerning marriage and family life.  One favorite tactic involves depicting the Church as anachronistic and insensitive to the experience of human beings with “same-sex attraction.”  Another favorite tactic involves marginalizing the Church by “exposing” the hypocrisy of the episcopate and of clerics in general, pointing out that many of them are not only homosexual but actually side with the proponents, yet live in fear of retribution if they speak their minds freely.

But, this “exposé” of then-Cardinal Bergoglio’s supposed support for some kind of compromise concerning civil unions, might reveal an attempt on the part of the proponents of “homosexual marriage” to bully now-Pope Francis by conflating two different ideas—social justice and so-called “homosexual marriage”—in an effort to get the Church to legitimate civil unions as a first step toward the latter.

If true, the Pope must tread very carefully.  He is on the record as favoring a compromise solution that would have legitimized civil unions for persons of the same sex.

How will the Holy Father address this matter?

 

 

To read Sandro Magister’s post, click on the following link:
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350534?eng=y

 

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18 Comments

  1. Please correct me if I err, but I think then Cardinal Bergoglio supported civil unions Of sodomites as a way of trying to prevent legalization of sodomite marriage which he regarded as worse than the former. I do not think that he supported civil unions of sodomites in principle, but rather as a stop-gap solution. Unfortunately, this was an ill-conceived compromise and indeed one can never compromise with the enemy. However, as the Montley Monk correctly noted, Cardinal Bergoglio did correct ascribe sodomy to the devil.

    And no, it’s NOT gay, and calling it homosexual sanitizes it. It’s sodomy and lesbianism. The people afflicted with it need help instead of being enabled in the perversion that makes them more and more addicted.

  2. A pope can do only so much to defend the poor, whom Christ said we will always have with us, but he can have an enormous impact with a strongly worded statement against same-sex “marriage”. There have been bad popes, not counting anti-popes, and there have been popes who are remembered as weak and ineffective. If Pope Francis fails to do what is in his power to try and stop the juggernaut of legitimized sodomy, he will face the prospect of being remembered by the faithful as one of the weak and ineffective ones.

  3. The Pope has spoken for, rather than the healing of wounded valid marriages as he should, welcoming into the Catholic Church those living in public and permanent, unrepentant adultery.

    For me, I am not surprised by this man in his views of sexuality.

  4. I think we’ve been down a similar road before with regard to “compromise” pro-life legislation. If there is no practical chance of banning ALL abortions, is it morally acceptable for a legislator to vote for a law that allows SOME abortions (e.g. for rape and incest) as an alternative to a worse law that allows even more abortions? Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae indicated that it was, if that was the best that could be done at the time.

    There is a huge difference between thinking something is wonderful and thinking it tolerable merely as an alternative to something worse. If then-Card. Bergoglio was simply saying that, in a situation where it is inevitable that the law WILL change to recognize same-sex unions, civil unions are the lesser of two evils, then I don’t see where this is necessarily a bad thing.

  5. That human beings are nothing more than intelligent beasts has become the predominent one. Our contemporaries would never frame their view that way but the modern view of human beings is little more than “you are driven to act by your physical and emotional being and can’t help it. It is therefore wrong for anyone to condemn your activity since you aren’t able to control it anyway.”

    That underlying assumption makes most laws merely repressive of course and destroys the fabric on which the law itself is written. It is irrational, for example, to bar beastiality. Surely individuals can be driven by a deep-rooted emotionl need to engage in beastiality and, if it is OK to eat animals, how can it be wrong to express sexual passion towards them?

    Law must be rational and individuals must be able to understand it and accept it, in a general sense, for it to bind society together. As that comes unravelled we are going to have a harder and harder time convincing others that there even is such a thing as Truth, much less that the rightness and wrongness of an action is dictated by divine Will and not human passion and intellect.

    We live in an age more similar to the Roman Empire in the second and third centuries than to even the pagan ages that preceded it. It is the curious and irrational lie that man cannot control his own impulses and is therefore only in command of himself, only truly “free” when he gives himself over to his passions.

    Hedonism is as much a lie now as it was in ancient Greece and, like then, we whitewash the inconsistences and pretend that the logical conclusions of those theories are beyond contemplation. (Consider the false wall constructed by modern-day hedonists that non-consensual behavior is wrong. If rightness and wrongness is dictated by the drive itself, it is merely repressive law that bars taking what one wants, not that doing so is wrong.)

    This is a dead end of course and the remedy can only be God. The remedy is, curiously, a similar idea: instead of “giving into passions and accepting that they are beyond our control” is replaced by “giving into His Will, becoming a slave to a law external to ourselves, we are free.”

    The Church can and should call evil what it is but the fact remains that this philosophical battle is lost already. It is not until society comes unravelled and the consequences become undeniable that the uninitiated and deniers of the Truth will turn back. The good and bad news is that this can’t go on forever and Utopia isn’t around the corner.

  6. David is spot on and therefore I shall not repeat, but sadly agree with his analysis. The “homosexual juggernaut” has long been rolling in our direction, pretty much undeterred, and is now preparing to flatten those in its way. Speak to kids, even those in Catholic schools (including our own children), and you will find overwhelmingly the sentiment that there is nothing wrong with “loving” whomever you are attracted to. They cannot distinguish love from feelings, equate sex with love in many contexts and are unable to offer a cogent rationale on any subject. To them it is all just “opinion.” This kind of adolescent thinking and morality extends itself into the lives of many a 40 year old and the undeniable consequences destroying individuals now are becoming societal decay. Freud was correct in recognizing violence as one consequence of sexual deviancy as the Nazis so clearly demonstrated (albeit most people are ignorant of this history) and the violence of abortion is just one of many examples we can anticipate.
    As this began with the “lesser of two evils” argument over civil unions, I will close with the axiom, “never shake hands with the devil.” We must oppose evil in all its forms.

  7. What I’m missing in this dialogue is … if it is better to ante up and support the civil union movement (as a lessor of two evils) .. what then is the response to receiving the sacraments? Is a civil union only for “non Catholics”? If we recognize the legality in our faith, are we recognizing the right to eat at the table? Or is all this just secular mumbo jumbo that in practice has no impact on our faith life (other than the continued confusing trail it leaves) …. much like today’s “marriages” that occur outside the church.

  8. I think it has to be the second of the two since no law of Man can make right what is intrinsically wrong.
    The problem with this position isn’t on the Christian’s side of the table; we can easily say the equivalent of “you may call yourselves married but the usage is false,” much as we would say to one who doesn’t believe that the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Christ “you may call yourself Catholic but you are falsely claiming to be one of us.” It is on the other side of the economic equation where the problem comes in. As we have begun to see, denying someone the title they choose or the services they request is unlawful. The problem comes when a Bed and Breakfast or a caterer, or a photographer refuses to provide services they believe violate their beliefs. Perhaps the 1st Amendment protects the churches but it surely won’t protect any business.

  9. Something that David Spaulding wrote has triggered a thought:

    “That underlying assumption makes most laws merely repressive of course and destroys the fabric on which the law itself is written. It is irrational, for example, to bar bestiality. Surely individuals can be driven by a deep-rooted emotional need to engage in bestiality and, if it is OK to eat animals, how can it be wrong to express sexual passion towards them?”

    My thought is this: We are seeing the logical conclusion of the Theory of Evolution. If all we are is evolved apes, then what David wrote makes perfect sense. But if we are really and truly created in the very image and likeness of God Almighty, then we are required to live to a higher ideal, forsaking the primal passions of the flesh with the self-gratification of genital titillation. Apes on the other hand, however evolved, have no such need for self-restraint and one sees that on a visit to the baboon cage at the local zoo (imagery is intended and purposeful).

    So the question is this: are we just furless apes with bigger brains, opposable thumbs, a throat and mouth that can use language, and bipedalism, or are we created from dust in God’s own image and likeness as the Book of Genesis says? There are consequences to believing in evolution, and this is one of them.

    PS, I do NOT discount Pope Pius XII’s Encyclical Humani Generis. Rather, I think it should be required reading of every single student in Catechism and RCIA classes (as well as in the jurisdiction of which I am a member). But this is fundamental: ape or man? Primate or “a little lower than the angels”? Which are we?

  10. It’s frustrating that, so far, our Pope hasn’t spoken in a systematic way on a lot of issues. Dribs and drabs will drive you crazy. It leaves all of us like Kremlinologists, trying to guess what each word indicates. They may indicate nothing in particular – at least nothing that constitutes a change in policy. The worrisome thing is that, while orthodox Catholics may understand that, people who don’t understand ecclesiology will see changes (or possibilities of changes) where there aren’t any.

  11. The Church’s position is set out in the “Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons” issued by the CDF on 3 June 2003, which appropriately is the feast of St Charles Lwanga and Companions. Last year the Archbishop of Westminster had his attention drawn to this when in attacking same-sex marriage he implied that the Church was “all right” with civil partnerships.

    The Church could of course change the official line, but until she does so, it stands. If legislation is already in place allowing same-sex unions, Catholic politicians may support legislation which restricts or mitigates it, provided that they make clear that they are opposed to it on principle, and any possible cause of scandal is avoided.

  12. Then-Cardinal Bergoglio proposed the idea of endorsing civil unions to the Argentine Bishops Comference which they overwhelmingly shot down. So it would seem absurd on its face for Pope Francis to endorse such an idea as Supreme Pontiff.

    Paul, I agree that the word gay should not be used for the simple fact that true definition of the word has nothing to do with sexual orientation at all. Homosexual is certainly appropriate. After all, that is an accurate description. While the term Sodomite is not inaccurate in and of itself, it often carries a connotation of nastiness that is not helpful.

  13. Greg,

    In a certain way I agree with you. Here’s how. If a person stays drinking alcoholically, then he is a drunk. But if he gets into recovery and sobers up, then he is an alcoholic. The condition of his alcoholism is permanent and can never be cured (except by a divine miracle). But he doesn’t have to give in to the alcoholic cravings so long as he practices the Twelve Steps.

    In like fashion if a person with same sex attraction continues to engage in sodomy, then he is by definition a sodomite. But if he gets into recover and abstains, then he is a homosexual. The condition of his homosexuality may (or may not be – here is where the analogy breaks down) permanent. But he doesn’t have to give into the homosexual cravings so long as he practices his spirituality.

    Now that being said, there is always the problem of relapse. Sometimes alcoholics relapse and so do homosexuals. Sadly, relapse is often a part of the long – very long – process of recovery. And besides, who here is without his or her own secret sexual sin (though possible heterosexual in nature)? None of us is perfect. That being said, there is a difference between the person – like an alcoholic or a homosexual – who is trying to recover and a person – like a drunk or a sodomite – who has quit trying and decided to behave like an animal (that goes back to my comment on evolution above).

    By the way, St. Paul used some very strong terms in 1st Corinthians 6:9 and 10 about who isn’t getting into the Kingdom of heaven. Oh, he mentions drunkards with the Greek word “μέθυσος” (it goes into our English word methyl). An he mentions the effeminate and the abusers of themselves with mankind. The first is given by the Greek word “μαλακός” that was used of catamites back in the Roman Empire and denoted receivers of penetration. The second is given by the Greek word “ἀρσενοκοίτης” that was used of sodomites and denoted givers of penetration. The Nova Vulgata renders the first as “molles” and the second as “masculorum concubitores” meaning respectively “effeminate” and “concubine of men”. So if we struck with Sacred Scripture, we would get a very precise but nasty picture indeed.

    BTW, old English Bibles like the 1560 Geneva Bible uses the term “buggery” with all that that word entails. Ugh!

  14. Assault and battery, no crime, can ever be given consent and the weight of law. Sodomy is not sexual in any form. Sodomy is a violation of friendship. Homosexual behavior is a denial of the human being, created in body and soul. Civil unions are not at all civil, perjury, a false husband, male wife, assault and battery of the partner and friend.
    Jesus is the TRUTH. Perjury and pretense have no part in TRUTH.

  15. Most countries that have introduced civil unions have not confined them to same-sex couples.

    In France, before the introduction of the PACS [Le pacte civil de solidarité] in 2000, there were roughly 300,000 marriages a year; in 2011, there were 235,000 marriages and 203,000 PACSs, representing a decline both in marriage and in unregulated cohabitation.

    A civil unions and marriage are quite different, even for an opposite-sex couple. A PACS is a contract, it belongs to the Law of Obligations; a marriage creates a civil status and belongs to the Law of Persons.

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