Skip to comments.Pope to MPs: Stop gay marriage
Posted on 07/29/2003 11:27:12 AM PDT by Clive
OTTAWA - The Vatican is calling directly on Catholic politicians around the world to be true to their faith and reject the legalization of same-sex marriage.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops predicted yesterday the appeal may give pause to the federal Parliament as it considers just such legislation.
Catholicism is the dominant religion among federal politicians, as it is in Canadian society.
"What it may do is that it will cause some conscience problems for several MPs," said Monsignor Peter Schonenbach, general secretary of the conference.
But a spokesman for Martin Cauchon, the Justice Minister one of many Catholic MPs, said that Minister will base his vote on equality rights, not religion.
"His personal religious beliefs are not the issue here," said Tim Murphy. "He is the Justice Minister for all Canadians. The key things we have pointed out is that this is a fundamental issue of equality and there will be protection for religious freedom."
A federal bill legalizing same-sex marriage, and stating that religious institutions will not be forced to perform ceremonies, has been sent to the Supreme Court to determine whether it complies with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Liberal government has promised a free vote on the issue, meaning MPs can vote their conscience instead of along party lines. Several Liberal MPs have already expressed their opposition to gay marriage.
Same-sex marriages have been considered legal in British Columbia and Ontario since courts in those provinces ruled prohibiting the marriages violates the Charter of Rights.
On Thursday, the Vatican will release new instructions for Catholic politicians to oppose same-sex marriage, which has already been adopted in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Msgr. Schonenbach described the 12-page document, which is devoted entirely to the issue of same-sex marriage, as "a general reflection that pulls together things that have been said before."
Although the instructions do not specifically mention Canada, Msgr. Schonenbach noted that this country's plans have drawn significant attention from the Church and likely played a role in the Vatican's appeal. He noted he has done interviews with Vatican Radio on the issue.
The document builds on the Pope's approved guidelines for politicians, issued last January, calling on them to oppose abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage.
Those guidelines said laws safeguarding marriage between man and woman must be promoted and that "in no way can other forms of cohabitation be placed on the same level as marriage, nor can they receive legal recognition as such."
Jason Kenney, a Canadian Alliance MP who is Catholic and against gay marriage, said he doesn't think the Vatican's call will make much difference.
"Politicians who come from the Catholic tradition whose convictions are formed in part by their faith, this should be nothing new to them and they should already have taken that into consideration," Mr. Kenney said.
"They're all free to decide whether or not, and to what extent, they will form their conscience and actions in accordance with the Church teaching. It's up to each individual."
Mr. Kenney acknowledged that few politicians publicly declare their religious affiliation and are therefore not in a position where they have to answer to voters about faith. The appeal from the Vatican is not expected to sway other powerful Catholics in the Liberal government, including the Prime Minister and his heir apparent, Paul Martin, who intend to vote for the bill.
Mr. Chrétien, Mr. Martin and Mr. Cauchon all come from pre-dominantly Catholic Quebec, where the Church has a loose grip on the province's largely liberal society.
Mr. Chrétien has already come under fire from Marcel Gervais, the Archbishop of Ottawa, over the clash between his Catholic religion and his views on social issues. Most recently, the archbishop denounced the Prime Minister's pro-choice position on abortion.
The Vatican's directive, titled Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, expands on an appeal from religious institutions across Canada for the federal government to reject same-sex marriage.
As in the Canadian population in general, the Catholicism is the dominant religion in the federal Parliament, although exact records are not kept.
In the general population, 43.2% of Canadians identified themselves as Catholic in the last federal census, which makes the religion by far the most common. In second place was United, the declared faith of 9.6% of Canadians.
This month, a leading German cardinal condemned Germany's same-sex marriage law after it was upheld by the country's supreme court, calling it a blow to the family.
"Now the associations of homosexuals have a potent arm to obtain further concessions on the road toward full equality with married couples, including the right to adoption," Karl Cardinal Lehman complained in a Vatican Radio interview.
The Vatican is particularly worried about the waning influence of the Church in Europe. Drafters of a proposed constitution for the European Union ignored Vatican requests to include explicit mention of Europe's Christian roots.
On Sunday, the Pope lamented that the Church's message was being watered down in Europe.
They've seriously damaged their own moral authority by their omerta apporach to the paedophile scandals.
Actually, I'm happy to see the Pontiff taking a strong stance on this, particularly since the average Euro/American Cardinal is wishywashy at best, an enabler at worst, of the Gaystapo agenda. Only the Africans and Asians seem to take a strong stand on this issue.
Yeah, because the Pope has never said anything about abortion (PUH-LEASE!), and has tons of diocese worldwide with no pedophile problem and a bunch of American bishops with a fidelity problem. It amazes me how people expect the Bishop of Rome to do all the other bishops' jobs in addition to the stellar performance he is doing as Christ's Vicar on earth.
Condeming abortion in general without any further action toward those supporting it is exactly the sort of lazy moral leadership that lead to the current problem. Support of abortion to the extent you assist other in obtaining them (pretty much all politicians fall in this category) carries an automatic excommunication. Where is this sort of pronouncement?
Then they are excommunicated. It doesn't need to be officially declared by the Church, and doing so is and I think (?) has always been quite rare.
It has been rare. But it does have a proper time and place. Proper use of public declarations of excommunication is to send clear messages to the faithful - including to the excommunicated themselves.
For example say there was a prominent and influential Catholic, say a United States Senator, who publically and repeatedly violated Church teaching on abortion. Say this Senator also publically traded on his membership in the Catholic Church. Say he was widely observed by fellow Catholics to be allowed to participate in the sacraments, and regularly meet on friendly terms with priests and bishops. The scandal this would cause is that the Church officials in question would be seen as accepting, or even condoning behavior that clearly violated Church teaching - whether they intended such a message or not. It would cause many of the faithful to believe that such behavior did not violate Church teaching after all.
This is exactly what has happened, and continues to happen today. On abortion, and a whole host of issues, one can observe prominent and influential Catholics defying Church teaching without consequence. That sends a powerful message that depersonalized statements, however orthodox, cannot entirely dispell.
The overall effect has been to dilute the moral authority of the Church. Catholics now openly defy the Church without feeling the least bit uncomfortable, nor the least bit less Catholic. There are plenty of examples of prominent Catholics defying he Church in exactly the same way while yucking it up with the bishops. Why should an average person who's bishop scarcely notices him be concerned?
Are you one of those bigoted ignorami who believes that the pope and Catholics are not Christians?
Oh, I don't want to be arguing against it, per se. In my earliest post on this thread I was calling for excommunications, and I'd like to see a couple. But I would hesitate before saying the failure to pronounce excommunication was . . . a failure.
Where's Michael Hypocrite Moron to DEMAND they do what the Pope says? The blowhard egomanic was on TV a few monthes ago proclaiming how important it is to follow the wishes of the Pope when JPII says something it's a "sin".