Amidst widespread misunderstanding and divergence on the Catholic Church’s doctrine on marriage and sexuality in the weeks leading up to the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, one of the three cardinals Pope Francis appointed to serve as presidents of the gathering has insisted the Church cannot approve homosexual relationships, no matter how “stable” they might be.
“Of course the Church doesn't defend nor approve the stable union between same-sex couples and neither recognizes it as marriage,” Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, Archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil, and president of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, told LifeSiteNews.
LifeSiteNews contacted the cardinal after Brazil’s largest daily newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, included quotations by him in a September 15 article lauding the “softer and tolerant rhetoric of Francis, especially regarding homosexuality.”
The article said Cardinal Damasceno Assis is “aligned with recent statements from the Vatican, that is preaching a 'more respectful and less severe' attitude” to homosexual unions.
Regarding such unions, which were legalized by the Brazilian Supreme Court in 2011, the paper quoted the cardinal as saying, “It is a decision by the Supreme (Court). Of course, for the Church, it (homosexual union) cannot be equated to marriage, that is different. But, regarding respect for the stable union between these people, there is no doubt that the Church has always been trying to do it this way.”
The paper interviewed him at a September presidential debate hosted by the Brazilian bishops’ conference.
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The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered, contrary to the natural law and that under no circumstances can they be approved.
The Catechism also teaches that marriage is a matrimonial covenant by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love. Church teaching says by its very nature marriage is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children, and that it was raised to the dignity of a sacrament by Jesus Christ.