MANILA, August 18, 2003 ( – While some Catholic Church leaders may be trepid about the Vatican’s latest teaching on the subject of homosexual unions, bishops in South Africa, Poland and the Philippines have praised the document and presented it forcefully to their Catholic politicians.

Following the release of the document late last month, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged lawmakers not to pass any bill recognizing homosexual civil unions. The Manila Times reports that Msgr. Hernando Coronel, CBCP secretary-general, said the Philippine bishops “value and share the Vatican’s stand”.  Msgr. Coronel said, “the bishops’ conference urges the legislature to consider the law of God [and] natural law in formation of human law.  The bishops appeal to the members of Congress not to legalize what is immoral, to legitimize what is unethical, to make human law that is contrary to divine law.”  In Poland, Catholic bishops read out excerpts of the text at a press conference in response to a radical proposal to legalize homosexual civil unions. “The idea is immoral and hurting to families and marriages,” said Bishop Stanislaw Stefanek. “We strongly object to it.”  The South African Bishops’ Conference (SABC) echoed the words of the Vatican in a statement emanating from a meeting of their conference last week.  “At a time when family life is under significant stress, the principled defence of marriage is an urgent necessity for the wellbeing of children and families, and for the common good of society. Society owes its continued survival to the family. If same-sex unions were to be legalised, the concept of marriage would be shattered, to the detriment of the common good,” they warned.  “By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane equal to that of marriage and the family, the state acts against and in contradiction to its duties. For the state to grant legal standing to homosexual unions is for it to fail in its primary duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good.”  See media coverage of the statements: