Analysis.

ROME, March 22, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Rumors have been swirling that perhaps Pope Francis will approve of homosexual civil unions. There have been suggestions, which have been refuted by others, that as Archbishop of Buenos Aires he approved such unions in the context of trying to stop a homosexual “marriage” push in the nation.

Beyond the rumors, though, the simple fact of the matter is that the Pope will not reverse the Church’s teaching on the matter.

Specifically on the matter of homosexual civil unions, the Church’s teaching is laid out in a 2003 document approved and ordered published by Pope John Paul II and written by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was is currently Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

That document Considerations Regarding Proposals to give Legal Recognition to unions between Homosexual Persons, leaves no room for doubt on the teaching of the Church regarding homosexual unions. It says:

  • There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved”.
  •  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. 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. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.
  • The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions

And what weight does this Vatican document ordered published by the Pope carry? Could the thrust of it be reversed by a future Pope?

To answer that I spoke with Professor Scott Nicholson, the Chair of the Theology at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, ranked one of the most faithful Catholic colleges in North America by the Cardinal Newman Society.

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Professor Nicholson said that the document in question, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, expressly approved by the Pope has the same status as the Catechism. (see ref. Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium 25, and On the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian, AAS 82, pp. 1550-1570) In theological parlance, they “participate in the ordinary magisterium of the successor of Peter.”

Thus, the document on homosexual civil unions, he said, “demands religious submission of mind and will.”

Nicholson added, “A Catholic following Vatican II teaching will accept such a document, aware that one may explore the issue further, but that the general thrust will not be reversed.”

Meanwhile, additional information has come out strongly refuting contentions that Francis in some way supported the concept of giving  recognition to homosexual unions.

Catholic News Agency reports today its Argentina director, Miquel Woites, told the agency that claims by Sergio Rubin that then Cardinal Bergoglio "proposed that the bishops [of Argentina] adopt a moderate position and perhaps leave room for civil unions as a compromise" are in fact "not true, they are totally inaccurate." CNA adds Woites emphasized "It’s wrong to invent something like this out of thin air."

Related LifeSiteNews story:

Bergoglio didn’t suggest endorsing homosexual civil unions in 2010, says confidant of new pope