Homosexuality and the Clergy
Anti-Natural Law Approved in Catholic Portugal
Margaret C. Galitzin
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The Parliament of Portugal approved a law to legalize same-sex “marriages” on Friday, January 8. The 123-99 vote moved the bill for a final review and signature by President Anibal Cavaco Silva in April.
So, Catholic Portugal, honored by the apparitions of Fatima, where church bells still ring on the hour in villages and stores close on Sunday, will join the small list of countries that have accepted same-sex marriage (Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, South Africa and Sweden as well as five States in our country). How did it happen?
It was only possible with the tacit collaboration of the Cardinal José Policarpo, Archbishop of Lisbon.
A pact of silence
Before the vote, Lisbon papers were reporting that Card. Policarpo had made a “pact of silence” with socialist Prime Minister José Socrates. According to news reports, in a private meeting with Socrates on October 20, the Cardinal would have agreed that the Church would not provoke any “holy war” on the issue or take any opposition to the streets. (1) The latter was an indirect reference to the Cardinal Rouco Varella of Madrid who led a vigorous public campaign against the passage of a similar bill in Spain.
Let me remind readers that in Catholic countries things work differently regarding opposition to abortion and homosexual “rights.” Here in the U.S. it is generally lay organizations that are in the vanguard of the fight, pushing and poking our often reluctant Prelates to enter the battle. In countries like Portugal, the people still look to the Bishops and clergy for leadership on moral issues. Unfortunately the people’s trust has been betrayed.
Cardinal Policarpo made an agreement with socialist Prime Minister Socrates
Abortion was legalized in Portugal two years ago – another once-unthinkable action. Despite the official teaching of the Church against abortion, Card. Policarpo failed to lead an efficient campaign, affirming that it was “not a religious question.”
He used the same excuse to justify his silence on the same-sex “marriage” issue, saying that the matter was “Parliament's responsibility" and not something that Portugal's Catholic Church should publicly debate. Despite the fact that a recent poll showed a majority of Portuguese people against the measure, Policarpo decided the Church should not make a public campaign.
His silence on the topic became so notable – reinforcing the report of his “pact of silence” with Socrates – that reporters began to hound him for a statement. He refused to comment, finally snapping angrily at one insistent newsman on December 22, “I am not responding to you, man. Don’t you get it that I don’t want to respond?” (2)
This is not to say that he did absolutely nothing. He did issue a theoretical statement saying the Church opposed “marriage” between homosexuals and weakly endorsed a proposition by conservatives that a national referendum be held. But no more. With this lack of support, the referendum campaign collected only around 90,000 signatures and was easily rejected by the Prime Minister.
In my view, his silence effectively handed the victory on same-sex “marriage” to the socialist government of Socrates.
In a public statement issued in October, Card. Policarpo revealed his conciliatory attitude on homosexual couples using the new Vatican-speak language of tolerance and human rights. In it, he emphasized he opposed the term “marriage” for homosexual couples, but advocated granting them special inheritance and financial “rights.” Such measures would prevent any possible “discrimination,” a sin worse than the unnatural vice of sodomy, according to the Cardinal.
"I don't have anything against people who like persons of the same sex, and I understand that this community has some reason to complain about [the treatment of] others," the Cardinal wrote. He went on to describe how members of such unions were historically victims of "prejudice, taboos and homophobia." Indeed, his defense of the Catholic teaching on same-sex “marriage” ends up reading like an apologia for homosexuals. (3)
Lesbians outside Lisbon Parliament celebrating victory
That this position – as well as his silence regarding homosexual “marriage” – conflicts with Catholic teaching is clear. The Church has always strongly condemned the sin of sodomy and called for clear and emphatic opposition of the legal recognition of homosexual unions.
So, how can the Cardinal’s position be explained?
The Vatican influence
Some conservative commentators pretend that the Cardinal is taking a stance in opposition to the Vatican, that supposedly Benedict XVI would be opposed to his pact of silence. I do not believe this is true. In fact, Cardinal Policarpo appears to be just repeating present-day Vatican rhetoric.
On December 10, for example, the Vatican’s legal attaché to the United Nations issued a statement saying the Holy See continues to oppose “all forms of violence and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons … which undermines the inherent dignity of the human person.”
Opposition to same-sex “marriage” is downplayed in the document with the simple reminder that the “the Holy See's teaching on the concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity remains well known” – without even bothering to state its opposition. On the other hand, a strong call is made for States and individuals “to respect the rights of all persons and to work to promote their inherent dignity and worth.” (4) Can anyone imagine that the Pope is not aware of this official statement?
This pro-homosexual stance supports Card. Policarpo’s position. Isn't it influencing the Portuguese people to accept the anti-natural law approved by the Parliament?
This is how the highest personage in the Catholic Hierarchy in Portugal - with a tacit approval of Rome - facilitated homosexual “marriage” in the land where Our Lady came to object to immorality and bad customs…
1. “Cardinal Archbishop of Lisbon Accused of ‘Pact of Silence’ with Portuguese Government as Country Lurches Towards "Gay Marriage," LifeSite News online, January 7, 2010
4. “Holy See reiterates opposition to violation of homosexual persons’ human rights,” CAN online, December 14, 2009
Posted January 11, 2010
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