An Italian bishop has stated his support for civil unions, though not for marriage, for same-gender couples.
GayStarNews.com reported that Bishop Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini, of the Locri-Gerace diocese in Calabria (the southernmost part of Italy), has written a letter to his churches where he stated:
“same-sex couples should have their civil rights recognized.”
He also added:
“However, same-sex couples are not families. We can not give them the right to a regular marriage. . . .A marriage is a union between a man and a woman, but every couple should have civil rights.”
While this may not sound like earth-shaking news, it is interesting to note that over the past year, we have seen a small trend among some Catholic leaders (and conservative political leaders, too) to support civil unions as an alternative to marriage.
For example, the diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, ended up supporting a bill in the state legislature which would have instituted civil unions as an alternative to marriage. Similarly, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster (London), England stated his support for civl unions at the end of 2011. In May of this year, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Berlin, Germany, said that he thought homosexual and heterosexual couples should be treated similarly by the church.
More importantly, Bishop Morosini’s comments differ markedly from an Archdiocese of Milan spokesperson who, in July, said that establishing a civil union registry in that Italian city would lead to polygamy.
No, the earth isn’t shaking because of Bishop Morosini’s comments, but taken in the context of these previous statements from other church leaders, I think we are witnessing the beginning of some kind of shift.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry