Francis and “Civil Unions” for “Gays”: Not to Say NO Is to Say YES
by Christopher A. Ferrara
January 25, 2015
As the Italian parliament prepares to vote on whether to legalize “civil unions” for “couples” who engage in sodomy, Pope Francis has told the judges of the Roman Rota (the Vatican’s matrimonial tribunal) that “there can be no confusion between the family God wants and any other type of union. … The family, founded on indissoluble matrimony that unites and allows procreation, is part of the ‘dream’ of God and that of his Church for the salvation of humanity.”
That sounds fine, putting aside the peculiar notion that God has a “dream” about “the family that God wants” as opposed to a divine order His law demands that man follow under pain of eternal damnation. (It seems Francis can hardly utter a sentence that does not contain some element of theological dubiety.)
But, not so fast, not so fast. Even as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis had a reputation for appearing to be on both sides of every issue, telling each side what it wanted to hear. As Father Linus Clovis has candidly observed (quoting an acquaintance of Cardinal Bergoglio’s from Argentina): “Apparently, he loves to be loved by all and please everyone, so one day he could make a speech on TV against abortion, and the next day, on the same television show, bless the pro-abortion feminists in the Plaza de Mayo; He can give a wonderful speech against the Masons and, a few hours later, be dining and drinking with them in the Rotary Club.”
Recall in this connection the disgraceful “midterm report” of Synod 2014, personally approved by Francis, which declared that despite the “moral problems” with “homosexual unions” they provide “a precious support in the life of the partners.” Recall as well his telling statement to Corriere della Sera that while “Marriage is between a man and a woman,” secular governments “want to justify civil unions to regulate different situations of cohabitation, pushed by the demand to regulate economic aspects between persons, such as ensuring health care…. One needs to see the different cases and evaluate them in their variety.” Then there was the “hugs and kisses” private meeting Francis had with a “gay couple”: a caterer and his “partner” of 19 years, whose encounter with Francis the Pope was personally arranged by cell phone.
In stark contrast to Francis, the bishops of Italy, following Church teaching, have unequivocally declared their opposition to any form of “civil union” for sodomites. They massively mobilized the faithful to oppose the Italian “civil union” bill at the recent Family Day demonstration — concerning which Francis uttered not a word of support even though it was one of the largest demonstrations in Italian history, as Antonio Socci notes, filling both the plaza outside Saint John Lateran basilica and the Circus Maximus with more than a million people.
As the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) admonished under John Paul II: “In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty.” And where such “civil unions” have not been legalized: “One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application.”
The CDF further observed that “Laws in favour of homosexual unions” — i.e., any such laws, whether or not they authorize “marriage” as such — “are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex. Given the values at stake in this question, the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good.” And that is true no matter what label is applied to the resulting “homosexual union.”
In short, while Francis has said no to “gay marriage” when it is called “marriage,” he has not said no to “civil unions” providing the same benefits as marriage in everything but name. On the contrary, he has consistently implied yes, going so far as to describe such “unions” as providing “precious support in the life of the partners” in the very document he approved as a “report” of Synod 2014 although the Synod Fathers never even saw it before Francis ordered it published to the world.
As Sandro Magister has put it: “When It Comes To Gay Unions, Bergoglio Doesn’t Say No.” But when a Pope does not say no to a threat to the moral order that has moved the bishops and laity of Italy literally to shout no, has he not effectively said yes? In the circumstances now prevailing in Italy, merely to declare opposition to “gay marriage” in remarks to the Rota — as opposed to what Francis tellingly describes as “other forms” of union, as if there could be other forms — is to duck the real issue. And the real issue is “civil unions” that provide the benefits of marriage, including adoption of children and rights of inheritance.
Thus, the real test of where Francis stands would be a forthright declaration, in union with the bishops and laity of Italy, against any form of “civil union” between homosexuals whether or not it is denominated “marriage.” But from Francis, I fear, we can expect only a calculated silence as Italy takes a final step toward the destruction of the moral order in what was once the heart of the Roman Catholic Church. After all, if Francis observed a politically correct silence while Ireland and America succumbed to “gay marriage” explicitly legalized as “marriage” — which one “gay activist” was pleased to note — he can hardly be expected to voice any objection to “civil unions” for homosexuals in Italy, which provide the same thing under a different name.
Here we must recall once again Sister Lucia’s warning to Cardinal Caffarra that “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.” Given the inclinations of the current “general” of the Church Militant, it will be a long and brutal battle indeed.
I will be happy to be proven wrong if and when Francis, leading the Italian bishops, speaks out clearly against the impending legislative horror in Italy.