VATICAN - “CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PROPOSALS TO GIVE LEGAL RECOGNITION TO UNIONS BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS”: A DOCUMENT TO PROTECT AND PROMOTE THE DIGNITY OF MATRIMONY FOUNDATION OF THE FAMILY AND THE STABILITY OF SOCIETY

Friday, 1 August 2003

Vatican City (Fides Service) – On July 31 it was announced that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued a document Considerations Regarding Proposals To Give Legal Recognition To Unions Between Homosexual Persons dated June 3. The introduction of the short paper (introduction - four chapters and conclusion) it says : “various questions relating to homosexuality have been addressed with some frequency by Pope John Paul II and by the relevant Dicasteries of the Holy See.(1) Homosexuality is a troubling moral and social phenomenon… which gives rise to greater concern in those countries that have granted or intend to grant – legal recognition to homosexual unions, which may include the possibility of adopting children.” The Considerations expressed in the document “do not contain new doctrinal elements; they seek rather to reiterate the essential points on this question” and to “reiterate the essential points on this question and provide arguments drawn from reason which could be used by Bishops in preparing more specific interventions, appropriate to the different situations throughout the world, aimed at protecting and promoting the dignity of marriage, the foundation of the family, and the stability of society, of which this institution is a constitutive element. The present Considerations are also intended to give direction to Catholic politicians by indicating the approaches to proposed legislation in this area which would be consistent with Christian conscience”.
Chapter 1 on the nature and characteristics of matrimony affirms: “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. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives…There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved”.
Chapter 2 says that in regard to homosexual persons, “civil authorities assume different attitudes”, however: “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.”
Chapter 3 gives “arguments from reason against legal recognition of homosexual unions” from the order of right reason, from the biological and anthropological order, from the social order and legal order.
Chapter 4 underlines the responsibility of Catholic law makers: “When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it… When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth.”
The Conclusion underlines that “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… 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 which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.” SL (Fides Service 1/8/2003 EM lines 59Words: 686)


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