Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, from Wednesday last week till now, the entire world has been bombarded with varied interpretations of a statement made by the Holy Father, Francis, in the newly released documentary entitled ‘Francesco,” in which he is quoted as saying:
“Homosexuals have the right to be in the family. They are children of God; they have the right to a family. No one can be thrown out of the family or make life impossible for that.”
Essentially, the Church has always defended the dignity of all persons. The Pope is here in union with the Church and proposing laws to protect homosexuals from abuses of all kinds, including rejection from their own families, from individuals and the society at large.
However, the main point on contention in the Pope’s utterance, as I understand it, is in his use of the Spanish term “Convivencia Civil, which is translated in English as Civil Coexistence. Some interpreters argue that it corresponds to civil union and others say it doesn’t. Evidently, the Holy Father is expressing concern about the treatment of homosexuals as persons because of their orientation.
I submit that the Holy Father is not promoting civil unions. Otherwise it would be against the established teachings of the Church. I wish to quote from the decree of the “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” entitled: Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexuals, approved by Pope John Paul II on March 28, 2003. After stating in paragraph §4 that:
“According to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity.”
Then the decree concludes with paragraph §11 stating thus:
“The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or the legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. 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.”
Therein lies the official teaching on the Church on the matter, and to my knowledge, there has been no change to this teaching. Amen!