By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

January 15, 2009 ( – Words attributed to Cardinal Archbishop of Lisbon Jose Policarpo, in two recent articles published by LifeSiteNews, were not his, LifeSiteNews has learned from a supporter in Portugal.

The original article published by LifeSiteNews (LSN) on January 7 and now corrected, erroneously claimed that the Cardinal had made statements to the effect that homosexual couples should be granted special legal rights, and also that he had made statements of sympathy regarding the homosexual cause, which was characterized in the article as “homosexualist rhetoric.” A second article on January 8 made a reference to the erroneous material in the first article. Both articles have been corrected.

The two quotes erroneously attributed to the Cardinal were as follows:

“I am aware of and understand some complaints made by homosexual couples. For example: in the area of the right of inheritance and in the area of financial rights.  Here the government, through its regulatory role, should raise the possibility of homosexual couples being able to benefit from the advantages and the prerogatives of these two systems, getting rid of eventual discrimination.”

“I don't have anything against people who like persons of the same (sex) and I understand that this community has some reason to complain against everyone else. Recent and previous history tells us that sexual orientation deviating from the norm was always a controversial issue and wrapped up in taboos and prejudices – the primary form of homophobia was present in the institutions that held on to power…”

LSN, and particularly this reporter, offer their profound apologies for any confusion or harm caused by this error, and we thank the Portuguese-speaking reader who took the time to inform us of it.

The error stemmed from the fact that the names of the Portuguese Cardinal and a Potuguese politician were identical – Jose Policarpo.  Moreover the positions the two men espoused on the subject in question were also similar, but not the same. Both seemed to oppose same-sex “marriage,” but take a softer stance on same-sex unions.

The politician Policarpo’s statements were more positively in favor of same-sex unions while those of the Cardinal were ambiguous. The Cardinal has, however, exhibited a marked reticence to address or condemn same-sex unions, to such a degree that it has lead to speculation in the press that he has developed an agreement with the Portuguese government not to stand in the way of its gay “marriage” legislation.

The confusion was exacerbated as days before the vote, Cardinal Policarpo stated publicly that he had instructed parishes not to participate in a petition drive, sponsored by groups defending traditional marriage, for a national referendum on the issue.

Additionally, in an interview with the Portuguese Catholic Church's official press agency “Ecclesia” in late December of 2009, the Cardinal stated that unions for homosexuals should be “called something else” and was then asked if there should be “another juridical formula” for homosexual unions, he responded only: “over that, I make no pronouncement.”

Cardinal Policarpo added: “I think that no one, in the democratic framework, even if they are not in agreement, are going to contest the right of these people to live together.  If there must be or not some recognition by the State, is another question.”

The Cardinal's stance, as appears in his interview with Ecclesia, appears to contradict the Vatican's official statement on the issue, made by now Pope Benedict XVI while he was the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in 2003.

Then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote that “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.”

The document added that “all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions.”

As soon as LSN was alerted to the possibility of an error, the quotes in question were removed from the website versions of the story.