Ferruccio de Bortolli: Many countries have regulated civil unions. Is it a path that the Church can understand? But up to what point?
Pope Francis: Marriage is between one man and one woman. The secular States want to justify civil unions to regulate different situations of coexistence, spurred by the need to regulate economic aspects between persons as, for instance, to ensure healthcare. Each case must be looked at and evaluated in its diversity.
Last week, some parts of the media blew up over the Pope’s “controversial” statements on civil unions. The first I saw of it was an irresponsible headline from Raymond Arroyo that misrepresented the Pope’s statements and inflamed many anti-homosexual comments on his facebook page.
When I was reading through some of these comments by fellow Catholics I couldn’t help but to become slightly enraged. Not only did many of the comments put words into the Holy Father’s mouth which he did not utter, their failure to distinguish between varying degrees of “rights” and varying states of life between persons who struggle with same-sex attraction showed little understanding of the Church’s teachings.
To begin with attacks on the Pope that claim he is tolerating homosexual behavior in this and other previous statements are preposterous. Any claim that he is opening a door to same-sex marriage or a change on the teachings of the Church on homosexuality are equally idiotic. The first thing out of the Pope’s mouth is: marriage is between one man and one woman. There is no wavering on this point, no sense of misgiving or of shifting attitude on this point. Throughout the rest of his commentary, the word and concept of homosexuality is not even mentioned.
I know that Pope Francis has at times appeared to some to be “too friendly” in his comments about homosexuals.
If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?
To liberals this was a signal that Francis was breaking with his predecessors and that the Church might move to “get with the times” and to Catholic traditionalists it was a signal that Vatican II’s break with true Catholicism was complete.
However, the Pope is not really saying anything new that the Church hasn’t already taught in apostolic letters and the Catechism and isn’t something that people like me, who are same-sex attracted, don’t already know: that inner crosses have no bearing on whether God loves you and does not diminish your possibility for good will and seeking of the Lord. Sexual attraction is not the definition of salvation. We are not handed cards that identify ourselves as “straight” or “gay” or as “honest” or “dishonest” or as “sober” or “alcoholic”. We are all given souls of equal value before Jesus Christ and when the stamp of Baptism is placed on that soul we begin the journey of salvation no matter what baggage, chosen or unchosen, we bring with us. And the Church is there to help us along the way, to bind us to certain obligations which when attempted with good will turn our eyes away from self and to trust in God. And when we fail in our attempts, the Church provides a sure way for reconciliation.
In what way has the Pope broken with the faith? In what way has he softened the moral rigidity of the Church? He only seeks to present the same meaning and reality in words of encouragement. The Church seeks the souls of the lost, no matter what their orientation and if the Pope’s words can coax some of the most hardened anti-Catholics to come and look at what the Church offers, is that not a good thing? If even one homosexual person repents and returns to the Church because he or she was welcomed and shown mercy, which is just as much of a trait of God’s as his swift arm of justice, why should we be upset? Shouldn’t we rejoice like when the woman found her lost coin?
And for all you news outlets who are claiming the Pope has spoken on same-sex civil unions, he has not. Start using honest journalism and do not twist the Holy Father’s words. And for Catholics who lump all of the demands of the LGBT agenda under a broad banner of “gay rights” just stop. Not all of the demands of the LGBT agenda have to do with marriage, and those that don’t are not necessarily evil. Working towards achieving just ends that belong to ALL people (gay, straight, married, single, man, woman, or child) is a good thing, even if some groups have co-opted these things into agendas that often-times conflict with the Faith. Healthcare (which is what is mentioned by the Holy Father) is NOT just for married people. It is NOT just for families. It is NOT just for Christians. What is wrong with legal protections for being able to obtain healthcare for someone you care about? There is no “grave immorality” of providing health care to a same-sex partner as far as I can understand it.
Long story short I think people on the far left and the far right have made a big deal out of nothing.