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.
Marriage is not a "Right," it is a construct of the State. The State can recognize any type of marriage it wants, based on the formula it recognizes as being the most conducive for successful procreation and nuturing of children.
Those who call marriage a "Right" are sadly mistaken! Human beings have the Right to engage in sexual activity with the consenting adult partner of their choice; they DO NOT have a Right to have their sexual relationship recognized by the State, blessed by the Churches, or accepted by society! Recognition, blessing, or acceptance are based upon the prevailing norms of the day...PERIOD!
It seems to me (and I wish I could find the passage) that if we would hear that in the sermons all over the country and the bishops and priests would expand on that,we could at least give the offenders and the observers some food for thought.
I believe that Truth has a compelling effect on the soul and the mind of man but the world is so full of make work projects many people do not have the time to think,and if they do,they are thinking about things that are of no matter or substance.