There’s been good news and bad news recently regarding Catholic leaders’ opinions on legal protections for same-gender couples. The surprising thing is that the good news comes from the Vatican.
because of the Vatican’s previous opposition. That’s right, “previous.” The Buzzfeed article indicates that change seems to be happening:
“But there are also signs of a thaw within Vatican City. Monsignor Marcel Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Science, Vatican offices that engage with research on society, told Buzzfeed in an interview last week at an event inside the Vatican walls in which Italian politicians were participating that the church is solidly against any law that makes ‘complete [equivalence] of the normal [matrimony] and the gay,’ but if legislation clearly distinguishes between them, ‘that is another question, and this is accepted by the church.’ ”
[Editor's note: Though Buzzfeed refers to Sorondo as "Monsignor," he is actually an Argentine bishop. In Argentina, as in many Latin American nations, a bishop is referred to as "Monseñor."]
Terence Weldon, at Queering The Church, points out the significance of this monsignor’s statement:
“What makes Monsignor Sorondo’s observation particularly interesting right now, is his position with PASS [the Pontifical Academy of Science and Social Science]. Although Vatican documents pay lip service to the importance of paying due attention to the findings of both social and natural science, in practice, the published guidance on homosexuality and on queer families have largely ignored the scientific evidence, especially on the matter of gay adoption. That could be about to change. In the working document prepared for the bishops’ forthcoming synod on marriage and family, there is an acknowledgement that there is a need for better understanding of the science, and that some questions should be referred to the academy.
” ’117. Many responses and observations call for theological study in dialogue with the human sciences to develop a multi-faceted look at the phenomenon of homosexuality. Others recommend collaborating with specific entities, e.g., the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences and the Pontifical Academy for Life…..’ “
In Indiana, however, Catholic bishops issued a strong rebuke to a court decision there which overturned the state’s constitutional ban against same-gender marriage. WTHR.com reported that the bishops said:
” ‘The Church upholds the dignity of every human person, including persons with same-sex attraction, whom we accept and love as our brothers and sisters. At the same time, the Church upholds the dignity and sanctity of marriage as a natural union established by God between one man and one woman, intended towards the establishment of a family in which children are born, raised, and nurtured.’
“The bishops explain that because God is its author, ‘it is not within the power of any institution, religious or secular to redefine marriage.’ “
Similarly, this week in Colorado, the Catholic bishops there roundly criticized a court decision to overturn the state’s constitutional ban on same-gender marriage. Their statement, which repeats many of the same arguments of the Indiana bishops, can be read by clicking here.
In nearby, Missouri, Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis also criticized the decision by that city’s mayor to issue marriage licenses to four same-gender couples. The Riverfront Times carried a column criticizing the archbishop for such a statement, particularly after his recent disappointing testimony on clerical sex abuse where he answered that he “did not remember” when he learned that pedophilia was a crime.
So, we take a few steps forward, and one step back. Little by little. That’s how all real and lasting change happens.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
The Elkhart Truth: “Catholic Bishops of Indiana respond to Indiana same-sex marriage ruling”