Vatican Secretary of State avoids direct opposition to Italian civil-union legislation
February 24, 2016
The Vatican's Secretary of State did not oppose a bid to recognize same-sex unions in Italy-- although he did insist that civil unions should not be given equal status with marriage-- in informal talks with Italian government officials on February 23.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin met with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at a reception honoring the anniversary of the Lateran Accords, the 1929 agreement that established the Vatican city-state and the terms of its relations with Italy. Cardinal Parolin said that the pending legislation to allow civil unions "came up, but did not enter into our discussions. Cardinal Parolin said only that it is "essential" to preserve the unique status of marriage.
The Italian bishops' conference, which has been united in opposition to civil-union proposals in the past, has been less prominent in debate on the issue this year. Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, the president of the bishops' conference, has strongly opposed the measure. But Bishop Nunzio Galantino, the secretary-general of the conference-- who was appointed by Pope Francis-- has pointedly declined to join in the opposition.
Pope Francis himself has avoided public comment on the measure.
- Cardinal Parolin: Civil Unions should not be equated with marriage (Vatican Radio)
- Italy and Holy See celebrate anniversary of Lateran Pacts (Italian foreign ministry)
- Italian bishops' leader reaffirms opposition to civil-union proposal (CWN, 1/27)