LUGANO, Switzerland, September 22, 2005 ( – Cardinal Angelo Sodano said that cohabitation might be a desire for some, but that does not make it a “right,” in an address to a human rights congress at a Swiss School of Theology.

“Today, one speaks of the ‘right’ to live together outside of marriage,” the Vatican Secretary of State said, according to a Zenit report. “But it is not a right! It will be a desire, a yearning for some.”

“There doesn’t exist a right to other forms of union that aren’t the family,” emphasized Sodano, who is also Dean of the College of Cardinals. “This [the family], like the right to live, liberty, property, is founded in the natural law. And the natural law is universal and immutable. Laws cannot go against the natural law.”

The cardinal criticized a societal trend to create so-called rights that have no legitimacy in morality, history, or in natural law, “to the point of speaking of a right to abortion and to different models of family life. But these are not rights.”

“The mission of Christians,” the cardinal continued, “is that of reminding people that the tree of human rights, with all its ramifications, cannot give fruit if its roots are cut. With them the tree stops flourishing and will wither.”