Opinion

Priest explains why states always do evil by enshrining same-sex civil unions

Such recognition of an objective evil is contrary not only to faith, but to right reason.
Mon Nov 2, 2020 - 5:33 pm EST
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November 2, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Can civil unions of same-sex persons be considered the subject of rights by the state?

No.

Is this denial, so firm and decisive, “confessional” — that is, an undue interference of faith in the field of political life and the secular state?

Independent of whether or not faith can exercise its beneficial influence in the organization of society, the aforementioned denial does not depend only on faith, but is a conclusion that derives from the correct use of reason.

Can a Catholic consider the exercise of homosexual genitality a sin but be in favor of a merely civil recognition of de facto unions between people of the same sex?

No, because — as we have said — this recognition is contrary not only to faith, but to right reason.

So what is the argument of reason that proves the aforementioned recognition illegal?

The first and most important is the fact that these unions do not contribute to the common good of society — common good that society itself, organized by the state, must pursue.

Can you explain why?

The first common good that society must strive for is its maintenance in existence. A society maintains itself through generational change, which prevents its extinction. On these assumptions, a form of union, which constitutively cannot favor the permanence of society itself over time, cannot be considered as oriented toward the common good.

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Can a union of persons of the same sex therefore claim recognition by society?

This union can claim nothing on the part of society, because it is not oriented toward the good of society itself; therefore, the state owes nothing to such unions. If the state intervened, it would go beyond its task, which is to organize society in view of the pursuit of its purpose, which is the common good.

If the state denies the recognition of civil unions, would it not claim moral competences, and therefore not its own?

No, because this denial derives not from moral presuppositions, but only from the judgment on civil unions with regard to the common good.

Wouldn’t people with homosexual orientation be deprived of all rights in this way?

No, because they maintain all the rights of individual human persons, and it is not possible for them to be proven of a right they do not have.

Wouldn‘t it be a form of injustice to offer the possibility of civil unions to opposite-sex couples and deny them to same-sex couples?

No, because distributive justice — that is, the justice proper to those who hold a form of authority over their subjects — consists in giving everyone a good not in equal parts, but according to what is due to each.

Can you give some examples?

An employer must give unequal compensation to those who work more and those who work less. A teacher must give different grades to students with different merit. A physician must provide assistance to his patients with uneven timeliness based on the severity of the disease.

Can you now apply these principles to the concrete case of civil unions?

The state cannot recognize the same treatment — in our case, the recognition analogous to family union — to those who have a right (the union of people that brings an objective benefit to society in relation to the common good) and to those who do not have it (the union of two people of the same sex, which does not bring benefit to the common good).

But couldn’t unions between people of the same sex benefit society, through adoption, on a par with sterile heterosexual couples who adopt children?

No, because this would violate the inalienable right of every child to be educated by his father and his mother. Furthermore, in this way, as experience teaches, the shameful practice of the rented uterus would be favored.

Why does the Church intervene in a matter that, as we have seen, is not of faith, but first of all of reason?

The Church has the duty to propose to believe the whole divine revelation. This includes not only substantially supernatural mysteries (quoad substantiam) — that is, such that man could neither desire them nor imagine them if God, precisely, does not reveal them. God himself also wanted to reveal in a supernatural way (quoad modum) truths that can also be known by reason alone. Therefore, the Church also reaffirms the truths of reason, insofar as they are ordered to the salvation of man.

Why did God reveal — and therefore the Church proposes to believe — truths that can be known only by reason? Isn't all this a surplus?

After original sin and because of it, as, sadly, experience teaches, people with great difficulty manage to know many truths, even though they can be reached only by reason. Then “[i]t is due [to] divine Revelation if all that of divine things is not in itself absolutely inaccessible to human reason, even in the present condition of the human race can easily be known by all with certainty and without any danger of error” (Vatican I, Dei Filius).

In what conditions would then be placed him who would certainly consider the practice of homosexual genitality to be sinful, while considering the recognition of civil unions by the state lawful and necessary?

He would place himself outside the Church, refusing to pay the respect of faith to truths proposed to believe in a binding way and with internal assent.

Tell us where and in what documents the Church has proposed to believe the illegality of de facto unions between people of the same sex.

  • Civil law cannot contradict right reason without losing its binding force on conscience (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Evangelium vitae, 72).
  • “Laws in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex. Given the values at stake in this question, the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons,” n. 6).
  • “It might be asked how a law can be contrary to the common good if it does not impose any particular kind of behavior, but simply gives legal recognition to a de facto reality which does not seem to cause injustice to anyone. In this area, one needs first to reflect on the difference between homosexual behavior as a private phenomenon and the same behavior as a relationship in society, foreseen and approved by the law, to the point where it becomes one of the institutions in the legal structure. This second phenomenon is not only more serious, but also assumes a more far-reaching and profound influence, and would result in changes to the entire organization of society, contrary to the common good. Civil laws are structuring principles of man’s life in society, for good or for ill. They ‘play a very important and sometimes decisive role in influencing patterns of thought and behavior’. Lifestyles and the underlying presuppositions these express not only externally shape the life of society, but also tend to modify the younger generation’s perception and evaluation of forms of behavior. Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage” (ibid.).
  • “Sexual relations are human when and insofar as they express and promote the mutual assistance of the sexes in marriage and are open to the transmission of new life.” (id., n. 7)
  • “By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to that of marriage and the family, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties.” (id., n. 8)
  • “The denial of the social and legal status of marriage to forms of cohabitation that are not and cannot be marital is not opposed to justice; on the contrary, justice requires it. There are good reasons for holding that such unions are harmful to the proper development of human society, especially if their impact on society were to increase.” (ibid.)
  • “It would be gravely unjust to sacrifice the common good and just laws on the family in order to protect personal goods that can and must be guaranteed in ways that do not harm the body of society” (id., n. 9)
  • There is always “a danger that legislation which would make homosexuality a basis for entitlements could actually encourage a person with a homosexual orientation to declare his homosexuality or even to seek a partner in order to exploit the provisions of the law.” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Some considerations concerning the response to legislative proposals on the non-discrimination of homosexual persons,” July 24, 1992, n. 14).[1]

Do Catholic politicians have a particular duty and task?

Yes, Catholic politicians have a particular duty and task. They have been well described and recommended by the Church: “If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favour of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications.

When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.

“When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician, recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, ‘could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality’, on condition that his ‘absolute personal opposition’ to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided’ (John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae [March 25, 1995], 73). This does not mean that a more restrictive law in this area could be considered just or even acceptable; rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons,” n. 10).

What attitude should good Christians have toward people with homosexual orientation?

Those who rightly oppose the recognition by the state of civil unions between people of the same sex must comply, in relation to individuals, with what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, in particular in §2358: “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”

In any case, it must be clear that their “suffering can only be intensified by error and lightened by truth” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of homosexuals, 01-10-1986, §18).


[1] I owe this collection to Mons. A. Scheider, https://tinyurl.com/schneider-to-pope.


  catholic, civil unions, homosexuality, pope francis

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