DAILY CATHOLIC FRI-SAT-SUN January 22-24, 1999 vol. 10, no. 15
NEWS & VIEWS
HOMOSEXUAL UNION CANNOT BE MARRIAGE, POPE SAYS
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- As he received a group of Church jurists in a private audience on Thursday, Pope John Paul II spoke out in opposition to the legalization of homosexual "marriage."
"It is an incongruous claim to attribute the conjugal reality to a union between persons of the same sex," the Holy Father said. He was speaking January 21 to the judges who serve on the Roman Rota, the body whose primary duty is to weigh annulment petitions.
"Some insistent public campaigns seek to confer the dignity of conjugal relations" on same-sex unions, the Pope observed. But since such unions are "deviations from natural law," he continued, they cannot be justified on the grounds of human freedom. Rather, the Pontiff argued, the invocation of freedom is a "pretext," because the reality of homosexual unions is "an obstacle to human dignity." In fact, he said, real freedom entails "adapting one's personal choices and will to God, and thus becoming ever more like one's Creator."
Remarking on the "objective impossibility" of making homosexual activities fruitful in transmitting human life, the Pope added that such unions also lack the "interpersonal complementarity" that is present in unions between a man and woman-- unions which are based on psychological as well as biological realities.
The Pope recognized a general "deterioration of the natural and religious sense of marriage," but cautioned that this trend should not lead to discouragement or resignation. Instead, he called on Catholics and "all those people dedicated to true human progress" to promote energetically the understanding of "the authentic concept of conjugal love between two persons who are equal in dignity but distinct and complementary in their sexuality." Such love, he said, includes a sincere desire for the other's welfare, and a "concrete commitment to bring it about," which is manifest in acts of the will. Marital love, he said, cannot be seen as a "vague sentiment" or even "a strong psychological or physical attraction." Such feelings, he said, are subject to "the instability of the human soul," and therefore "subject to ready, if not fatal, weakness."
Noting that marriage is sometimes "identified or at least confused" with "the
formal rite and exterior that accompanies it," the Pope emphasized that
marriage consists "essentially, necessarily, and uniquely in the mutual
consent expressed by those who marry each other." That consent assumes
that the couple will make their commitment in a juridical act, and express
their loving commitment in a mutual gift of self, he said. In order to prepare
couples of that marital commitment, the Pope said that the Church has a
"grave responsibility" to help young couples understand their obligations,
and to ensure that the partners have "the necessary psychological maturity"
to make an intelligent commitment.
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NEWS & VIEWS