Thursday, February 07, 2013

Paglia on same-sex marriage: “By lying we all lose”

In his first press conference as Vatican “minister” for the family – a role he was appointed to last 26 June – Mgr. Vincenzo Paglia, the President of the Pontifical Council for Family, made reference to a number of history’s greats, from Cicero, to Justinian, to Giorgio Gaber. 

These varied references were used to illustrate his message about the traditional family being based on the marriage between man and woman – “the fundamental resource of our society,” a source of hope and cultural and economic wealth, despite the crisis it is facing and the myriads of attacks against it.

Today Paglia met journalists in the Vatican newsroom to present the upcoming initiatives planned by the Vatican dicastery for the family, spanning from the World Meeting of Families in Milan last summer to the one that is due to take place in 2015 in Philadelphia.

The former bishop of Terni who has always had close relations with the Community of Sant’Egidio, said the first step will be the presentation (again) of the Charter of the Rights of the Family at the UN headquarters in New York, on 14 February. The Charter was written by the Pontifical Council thirty years ago. 

“The content is very current. The family is part of the “heritage of mankind” which should be protected and its rights recognised.  In this way, the Church serves everyone,” Paglia explained, announcing similar future initiatives in Geneva and the European Parliament.

In the eyes of the Catholic Church, the approval of marriages between people of the same sex in France is the tip of the iceberg of a cultural movement that is calling into question what it considers to be one of the pillars of mankind. 

Paglia praised the “courage” of French bishops who managed to open a “debate” on the controversial provision by staging two mass demonstrations. Although same-sex marriage is on the way to being approved in a number of countries throughout the world, the Vatican archbishop says victory for the Church is not to be sought in the success of any specific law but rather “in the settling of truth in a person, because by lying we all lose.”

Paglia is, however, open to the recognition of some rights for de facto couples, both homosexual and heterosexual, explaining that the State should decide on such cases “according to the provisions of private law, taking patrimonial questions into account as well”; he also stressed that the Church is fighting against anti-gay discrimination: “All children of God have equal dignity and are untouchable.”

However, he added, “it is impossible for marriage to be conceived as anything other than the relationship between a man and woman which implies the creation of offspring. It is the respect for truth that protects us against a sick egalitarianism that suppresses all difference.”

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