Portuguese Bishops Resolve to Fight “Homosexual Marriage” Proposal by Socialist Prime Minister
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
FATIMA, February 11, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic bishops of Portugal have resolved to fight plans to legalize "homosexual marriage" in their country.
Following a meeting of the Permanent Council of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference (CEP) in Fatima, the leadership of the Church has announced that "the organizations of the Church will move" to combat the proposal by the Socialist Party to equalize homosexual unions with matrimony.
"At the time of voting, Christians will certainly draw their conclusions" regarding the candidates, said Fr. Manuel Morujao, a spokesman for the CEP, following the meeting. He added that "those who involve themselves in these ventures in which the society is exposed to profound wounds, are not trustworthy."
Same-sex "marriage," he said, "is an offense against marriage that is, by its nature, heterosexual." He also stated that the movement to create "homosexual marriage" is a "threat" to Portuguese society and is moving along "an erroneous path."
"What are we going to say to the generations coming after us?" he asked. "That they can be whatever they want? That they can choose whatever they want to be from a menu of identities?"
The nation’s socialist Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, has announced his intention to advance a motion in the party’s congress later this month to approve the legislative initiative. Minister of Parliament Augusto Santos Silva has promised that the legislation will be proposed in the Portuguese Parliament if the party wins the upcoming elections in the fall of this year.
Socialists and their allies struck back following the bishops’ announcement, accusing the Church of intervening in the politics of the nation.
The Grand Master of the Portuguese Grand Orient, an association of Freemasons, said that while "the Catholic Church has all the right to have its opinion," the "Portuguese people and their representatives will decide freely and won’t be subject to the pressures of any religious organization."
The bishops issued a follow-up statement clarifying that they were not targeting any political party, but were seeking to educate Catholics to enable them to make informed decisions in the voting booth.
The issue of "homosexual marriage" is perceived as a particularly divisive issue in Portuguese society, and has even opened fault lines within the predominant Socialist Party. Former President and Socialist Party founder Mario Soares has denounced the initiative publicly.
Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
Leader of Portuguese Ruling Party Seeks to Create Homosexual "Marriage" in Portugal