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Bishop Athanasius SchneiderSteve Jalsevac/LifeSite

October 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In the documentary film “Francesco” that premiered on October 21st 2020 as part of the Rome Film Festival Pope Francis used the expression “convivencia civil” instead of “union civil”, asking thereby, nevertheless, that a civil law of cohabitation be created for homosexual persons, so that they are legally covered. Both expressions “convivencia civil” and “union civil” have, however, substantially the same meaning, as it is manifest also for instance in the Argentinian legislation. On December 17, 2002 a law called “Law of Homosexual Cohabitation”, in the original Spanish langue called “Ley de Convivencia Homosexual” No. 3376 was approved in the Province of Río Negro in Argentina. Article 1 provides that “Same-sex couples may make a sworn statement certifying their cohabitation (convivencia) before the competent authority”.

The juridical terms are different in some countries, but they all mean substantially the same thing, namely a cohabitation of a homosexual couple, as well as of a heterosexual couple, which means a stable extramarital cohabitation registered by the state. These juridical terms are for instance: “same-sex unions”, “union civil”, “convivencia homosexual”, “convivencia civil”, “registered partnership”, “Eingetragene Partnerschaften” and others.

The support of legal forms of a stable cohabitation of two homosexual persons, asserting at the same time, that homosexual acts remain immoral, and that the two homosexual persons registered in that legal form will live in sexual abstinence, represents a factual contradiction. In spite of a theoretical assertion of the immorality of homosexual acts, such a support makes de facto part of the general ideological and juridical propaganda to legalize and recognize the alleged goodness of the homosexual lifestyle and of homosexual acts. Furthermore, it is completely naive and out of touch with reality to assume that civil forms of a stable cohabitation of two homosexual persons will help them to live sexual abstinence. To assume that would presuppose that there should be an article in the legal statute of the homosexual cohabitation, which would stipulate more or less this: “The two partners of the civil cohabitation must live in sexual abstinence”. However, that would be ridiculed as a joke. No person with common sense would believe that two homosexual persons who register their stable cohabitation are living in sexual abstinence, just as nobody would believe that a heterosexual couple who registered their stable cohabitation are living in sexual abstinence.

Every normal-thinking person understands the expression that the Pope uses here as a form of a cohabitation legally recognized by the state, as a stable cohabitation (“Convivencia”) of a homosexual couple, and thus as a legal recognition of the homosexual lifestyle.

The wordplay with “civil cohabitation”, in Spanish “convivencia civil” and “civil unions” in Spanish “union civil” is in our case a sophism, a hairsplitting and a trick. It is reminiscent of the fairy tale of the emperor's new clothes. This wordplay is ultimately intellectually dishonest and does not convince anybody.

Any kind of a legally registered form of a stable cohabitation of two homosexual persons, no matter what you call it, is inherently immoral because it is a public scandal, a propaganda for the homosexual lifestyle, a constant and immediate danger of mortal sin for the two involved persons. A support of such a legal form is morally irresponsible, confusing, causing scandal, and producing a fatal effect. The claim to guarantee for a homosexual couple some civil rights as for instance inheritance, visiting in hospital and similar cases, is evidently a pretext. In fact, civil laws in democratic countries provide sufficiently for each citizen the regularization of such issues as inheritance, legal care etc., without needing to create a juridical form of a stable cohabitation of two homosexual persons. If homosexual persons honestly wish to live in sexual continence and practice the virtue of chastity, they will never demand a legal form of a stable cohabitation, since they know that such a mutual closeness will put them in immediate danger of mortal sin and even of habitual mortal sins of fornication. If homosexual persons honestly wish to live in sexual continence they will not engage in any form of civil cohabitation, in order to avoid even implicitly any support of the spread of the ideology of justification and legitimization of the homosexual lifestyle. Homosexual persons who honestly wish to live in sexual continence will also know that their civilly registered cohabitation will cause scandal.

In a time of worldwide, aggressive and demagogic propaganda for legitimizing homosexual behaviour and homosexual acts as morally good, affirmations by churchmen in favor of any kind of legally recognized forms of homosexual cohabitations, independently of the terms (unions, coexistence, cohabitation, partnership etc.) will de facto solidify this propaganda. The voice of the Church should do exactly the contrary and resist courageously by words and gestures full of clarity, calm and dignity this ideological propaganda that enslaves human dignity in a lifestyle which contradicts the will of God the Creator and the Redeemer of the dignity of human nature.

Intellectual honesty and sincere love for the truth are required and are worthy for all representatives of the Church to remain credible witnesses of the Divine law written in human nature and human reason and explicitly revealed in God’s Word in the Holy Scripture and unchangingly taught by the Church throughout two thousand years.

October 25th, 2020
+ Athanasius Schneider