Catholic World News News Feature
Vatican to issue warning on same-sex unions July 28, 2003
The Vatican will soon publish a teaching document on the Church's stance regarding legislative proposals to recognize same-sex unions.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will release a statement on July 31, the Vatican has revealed. The 12- page document will be devoted to "considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual partners." Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the prefect of that Congregation, has already signed the document, which also has the approval of Pope John Paul II, and circulated it among the world's bishops.
According to informed Vatican sources, the new document will not contain any major new teaching. It will, however, reiterate the traditional teachings of the Church regarding homosexuality and homosexual acts. The document will then provide a series of clear and logical arguments against the legal recognition of same-sex unions.
Vatican officials indicate that the document will be directed particularly toward politicians. Church officials have viewed with alarm the quickening trend to provide various forms of legal support-- up to an including the legal status of "marriage"-- for homosexual couples. The most recent example of this trend came in Canada, where homosexual couples are expected soon to receive the same full legal recognition as married heterosexuals. In the US, the highest court in the state of Massachusetts is likely to issue a similar ruling in the near future.
The arguments offered in the July 31 document will be based on sound reasoning, supported by biological and anthropological principles rather than solely on the strength of revealed truth, Vatican insiders say. The document, CWN has learned, will make it clear that Catholics who serve in public office have a moral obligation to resist the adoption of policies that recognize same-sex unions, and to seek ample provision for those who cannot in conscience recognize such policies.
The document issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will be followed by a related document-- long anticipated from the Vatican-- in which the Congregation for Catholic Education will give instructions to seminary directors on the hotly disputed question of whether young men who are disposed toward homosexuality should be allowed to prepare for the priesthood.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that people who have a same-sex attraction should be treated with respect and compassion (2359); however, the impulse toward homosexual acts is also identified as "disordered" and homosexual acts are defined as gravely sinful. (2396)