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Cardinal O'Malley and Bishop TaylorFlickr / Facebook

October 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — High-ranking Catholics who came out defending Pope Francis’ heterodox support of same-sex civil unions, including a cardinal and bishop, are washing their hands of the damage those unions do to souls, especially to the souls of children.

Online statements defending the Pope’s recent remarks seemingly approving same-sex civil unions have been released by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, Massachussets, and Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas.

While both clergymen rightly affirm that Church teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts has not changed, they also maintain that the Church can support same-sex civil unions, completely ignoring the Church’s teaching explicitly prohibiting such unions.

Cardinal O’Malley’s argument that Pope Francis’ statement “is not an endorsement of homosexual activity” has to contend with its real-life ripple effect. Praise for Pope Francis’ call for civil union laws give the impression that his words are not drawing people closer to Christ’s teaching — rather the opposite.

Many advocates of homosexual relationships seem to be enthusiastic about Pope Francis’ statement precisely because they see it as a form of support for homosexual relationships, if not an endorsement of them.

One Twitter user referred to Pope Francis’ statement as an “opening to homosexuality”: “Pope Francis’ opening to homosexuality is one of the most historical changes I’ve witnessed in my life.”

Indiana attorney Kathleen DeLaney recently described how a teacher and a guidance counselor working for the archdiocese of Indianapolis were fired for being in a same-sex “marriage.” She sees Pope Francis’ words as a repudiation of the decision.

“The Archbishop of Indianapolis is clearly out of sync with his boss, the Pope in Rome,” DeLaney said. “We hope that [the Archbishop] will seek to make amendments with our clients who were wrongfully terminated because of who they are and to whom they’re married,” said DeLaney.

To some, the approval of civil unions naturally goes hand-in-hand with the approval of same-sex couples acting as parents. CBS Boston reported that one woman in a homosexual “marriage” “views the endorsement as a message to her kids: their family is welcome, and Catholic faith is a gift they can share together.”

From the practical consequences alone, it is easy to see how same-sex civil unions pose a huge moral problem, even aside from being a “continuous proximate occasion” of grave sin. To take the approval of civil unions and run with it is to embrace a moral revolution.

Far from acknowledging the grave danger of living in actual mortal sin or its near occasion, Bishop Taylor claimed in his statement that “a stable bond between persons of the same sex has the possibility of offering some good for those persons, especially when that bond is chaste in nature.”

Bishop Taylor went so far as to equate real injustices done to same-sex attracted people with the denial of legal benefits attached to an immoral union: “We have an obligation to remove all the disadvantages that [homosexuals] suffer unjustly. One of these injustices is the fact that in most societies the legal union of civil marriage conveys tangential benefits to incentivize marriage that are not intrinsically connected to marriage itself, and are denied to those who are not in a legal union.”

Bishop Taylor indirectly touched on one of the very reasons why the Church cannot condone civil unions. The Church, of course, is not against legal status for same-sex attracted people. However, just as legal benefits incentivize marriage, they incentivize civil unions — and it would be a violation of the Church’s mission to support the incentivizing of grave sin or public scandal. That is the true injustice.

Both Cardinal O’Malley and Bishop Taylor speak as if the Church’s stance on the actual morality of homosexual acts can be separated from, or is irrelevant to, the Church’s stance regarding civil unions.

Bishop Taylor framed same-sex unions as isolated from Church matters: “Notice that this union is civil, solely for the purpose of ensuring civil benefits. It has no status in Church law,” he said.

Cardinal O’Malley argued, “Just as the Church does not campaign against civil laws that allow for common-law marriage or second marriages that are not sacramental, even though such arrangements can be in violation of the laws of the Church, the Holy Father recognizes that in civil society there can be cogent reasons to enact such laws providing for civil unions which are not the same as the institution of marriage.”

These statements obscure the fact that the Church can never condone a law contrary to Her moral teaching. Abortion is the most obvious example of this. The same goes for “second marriages” — the Church cannot, and never has, declared second “marriages” permissible or tolerable. Much less does it actively support them.

That civil unions don’t go so far as to pretend the impossible — that two people of the same sex can “marry” — does not make them permissible. Same-sex civil unions are contrary to the Church’s moral teaching because, aside from the actual grave sins involved in what are probably the vast majority of them, they are, as Bishop Schneider pointed out, not only “a public scandal,” but a “constant and immediate danger of mortal sin for the two involved persons.”

What makes civil unions especially grievous is that they involve one of the “particular mortal sins that are so evil that they are said to be sins that cry to heaven for vengeance,” namely sodomy (Gn 18:20-21, cf. CCC #867).

Approval of civil unions denies the social Kingship of Christ

Steve Skojec noted in his commentary on “The True Social Kingship of Christ, “It wouldn’t be a daring wager to say that nearly every Christian alive today would agree that Christ’s dominion over nature, over creatures, and the universe itself is absolute. But this statement finds not a few objectors when applied to the civic sphere.”

He went on to quote Pope Pius XI’s 1925 Encyclical, Quas Primas, which declares that not just individuals and families, but political states — and by extension, their laws — are subject to Christ’s power:

“‘… truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ.’ Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. In him is the salvation of the individual, in him is the salvation of society.”

“In a world wherein we speak so often of ‘religious liberty’ and the ‘separation of Church and State,’ it is difficult for us to conceptualize such a social reign of Christ,” said Skojec.

Quas Primas continues, “With God and Jesus Christ excluded from political life, with authority derived not from God but from man, the very basis of that authority has been taken away … The result is that human society is tottering to its fall, because it has no longer a secure and solid foundation.”

This much-forgotten nugget of Truth drives home that human law should conform to Christ’s law not only as a matter of right, but because it is precisely Christ’s law which will further true peace, justice, order, and happiness in society.

When we divorce law from the first Lawgiver, by condoning civil unions, for example, we undermine those very benefits of society.

Civil unions violate natural law

The question of same-sex civil unions goes even deeper than church law or human law. They are contrary to the natural law, for the sexual acts involved in same-sex unions by their very nature exclude the gift of life. (CCC #2357)

Even before our Lord Jesus Christ took His human nature and became the King of all governments through His human nature and conquest, every government had a duty to legislate in accordance with the natural law. “Every humanly-created law is legitimate insofar as it is consistent with the natural moral law,” according to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

Thus, an observant Jew, for instance, is bound to reject not only homosexual acts and same-sex “marriage,” but same-sex civil unions as well. This is demonstrated by the fact that Halakha, or Jewish Law, “holds that the ban on homosexuality applies universally, to non-Jew as well as to Jew (Sanh 58a: Maimonides, Melakhim 9:5, 6).” In fact, no differentiation between civil and religious law exists in classical Judaism.

Civil unions are not a construct that the Church can wash its hands of and cleanly tuck away in the “civil sphere.” They are an affront to the very foundation of society, the family, and even an instrument of “violence” to children. This is not a far-away figment of the imagination, because, as noted above, Pope Francis’ approval of civil unions is already being used to justify same-sex parenting.

The CDF stated that “Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in [same-sex] unions would actually mean doing violence to these children,” by placing them “in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development.”

If Cardinal O’Malley, Bishop Taylor, and Pope Francis will not heed Church law, nor Christ’s Social Kingship, nor natural law — will they at least come to the defense of our children?


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Emily Mangiaracina is a Miami-based journalist for LifeSiteNews. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of Florida. Emily is most passionate about the Traditional Latin Mass and promoting the teachings of the Catholic Church.