Thursday January 7, 2010

Cardinal Archbishop of Lisbon Accused of “Pact of Silence” with Portuguese Government as Country Lurches Towards “Gay Marriage”

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

LISBON, January 7, 2009 ( – Cardinal Archbishop José Policarpo of Lisbon is being accused of a “pact of silence” with socialist prime minister Jose Socrates as the country approaches a vote on “gay marriage” Friday, and the Cardinal has rarely mentioned it.

Following an October 20th meeting with Socrates, in which the Cardinal admits he spoke to the prime minister about the “homosexual marriage” issue, he has spoken and written little about it.

Now the Lisbon newspaper “i” is reporting that Policarpo has promised Socrates not to fight him on the issue.

Writing for “i”, reporter Ana Sá Lopes states that “i is aware that the Cardinal Archbishop of Lisbon, D. Jose Policarpo, guaranteed to Jose Socrates that the decision of the government will not provoke any holy war…The Church will continue to repeat its doctrine on the matter but will not take to the streets.”

Lopes goes on to note the close political relationship between the two men, pointing out that Socrates consulted with Policarpo privately in the days before the formation of his cabinet. She also highlights the glaring difference between Policarpo’s response to the issue, and that of the Spanish bishops several years ago, who led a vigorous public fight against the passage of a similar bill.

Although some Portuguese Catholic bishops are calling for a referendum on the issue, the hierarchy in general is doing notably little, despite the fact that a recent poll showed a strong plurality of Portuguese opposed to the measure.

Cardinal Policarpo’s silence has become so notable that newspaper reporters have attempted to elicit any response from him on the matter, which he has angrily refused to give.

“I am not responding to you, man, you still don’t understand that I am not responding to you,” Policarpo snapped at a reporter who asked him about the bill on December 22, in a manner the Portuguese daily Correio de Manha called “somewhat rude.”