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FIRST POSTING:  August 13, 2003;   UPDATED: August 14, 2003

Reactions to Vatican document on same-sex unions: an Web blog

International Links | Official Church Responses | Links in the United States

Editor's note: Click on the headline to read the full story. These links were active on the date marked as posted.

International Links

August 13
PM: I'm Catholic, and I'll legalize marriage for gays
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien dismissed criticism from Roman Catholic bishops who have questioned his faith and said he risked his "eternal salvation" by supporting same-sex marriages. Mr. Chrétien said yesterday he will proceed with legislation allowing homosexuals to marry.

August 12

NEW! MaltaMedia, Malta
Bishops re-iterate Vatican's stance on same-sex unions
This document, the Maltese Catholic bishops said in a press release Tuesday, presents priceless teachings towards safeguarding and strengthening the dignity of marriage, the foundation of the family, and the stability of society. It confirms the Church's teaching that due respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to the legal recognition of unions between homosexual couples.

August 9

NEW! The Tablet, London
The Vatican’s blunt instrument
Last week’s Vatican document calling on every citizen to do whatever is morally permissible to block, or at least limit, the legal recognition of “homosexual unions”, has some notable strengths, not least of which is a remarkable clarity. But it also suffers from ambiguities which undermine the effectiveness of its arguments., Malta
'Vatican document encourages homophobia'
The Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) expected to meet last week to take a position on the document entitled “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons” issued by the Vatican. The group was expected to encourage politicians to ignore the advice given by the Catholic Church's document and instead insist on democratic principles.

The Age, Australia
Vatican keeps its council in the closet
It was said of the Bourbons, the dynasty deposed by the French Revolution, that they learned nothing and forgot nothing. A similar baffled intransigence in the face of modernity is apparent in the Vatican, which is pretty much the nearest

August 8

Sydney Star Observer, Australia
Church of hate: Papal statement threatens gay rights
A statement from the Vatican calling for politicians to oppose laws recognising gay and lesbian relationships has outraged gay activists and local politicians.

August 6, Ottawa, Canada
Canadian Psychological Association at odds with Vatican views on gay parents
The Canadian Psychological Association says there's no basis in the scientific literature for any perception that gays and lesbians make bad parents.

August 5

Sudbury Star, Canada
Damned if you don’t
While the Roman Catholic church’s stance has been entirely predictable, many Canadians get prickly at the notion that the Pontiff should be so flagrantly trying to influence the government of Canada.

August 1

CNN Europe, Europe
Gays hit back at Vatican
'We don't want the Holy See to make pressure on our parliament' the appeal reflects a mix of religion and politics that is out of touch with the modern world.

July 30, Canada
Bishop tells PM: You've lost your way
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Ottawa has written Prime Minister Jean Chrétien a personal letter warning that he has lost his way as a Catholic if he supports same-sex marriage.

Official Church Responses

NEW! Secretary of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Why Has The Holy See Written a Document Against Homosexual Unions?
VATICAN CITY, AUGUST 1, 2003 ( Why has the Holy See published a document, clearly articulating its negative ethical judgment on those laws that give legal recognition to homosexual unions?
Salesian Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and, together with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, signatory of the document, answered the question in this interview with Vatican Radio.

NEW! President of the U.S. bishop's conference
Bishops’ Head Welcomes Vatican Statement on Legal Recognition of Unions Between Homosexual Persons
August 1, 2003. Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), welcomed the Vatican document entitled “Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons.” He urged Catholics and all persons of good will to give the document serious and thoughtful attention

Catholic Church in England & Wales,
Catholic Communications Service
Affirming the foundational importance of marriage
July 31, 2003. Comment by Bishop John Hine, Chairman of the Committee for Marriage and Family Life of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

Statement of the Connecticut Catholic Conference
Hartford, CT, Thursday, July 31, 2003 – The Connecticut Catholic Conference, which is the public policy and advocacy office of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Connecticut, welcomes the statement from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons."

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago

July 31

Letter from the Cardinal
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The document, Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons, issued today by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sets out again the Church's constant understanding of the unique and sacred character of marriage as a total sharing of life between a man and a woman.

August 3

Sermon at Holy Name Cathedral, 9:30 a.m. Mass
I stand here to defend our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, against a false accusation made on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times last Friday. The headline reads: “Pope Launches Global Campaign against Gays.” The Pope, of course, did no such thing

August 7

About the Instruction “On the manner of proceeding in cases of the crime of solicitation,” drawn up by Cardinal Alfredo Ottavianni, approved by Pope John XXIII on March 16, 1962, and published by the Vatican Press in 1962
This is a document which shows how seriously the Catholic Church addresses the sinful misuse of the confessional by a priest, should he solicit a penitent for sexual purposes either during confession or immediately before or after. It does not presuppose any sexual act as such, only the invitation to sin; but it also covers cases where a sinful act takes place as a result of solicitation in the confessional.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, Los Angeles

Statement on Vatican document opposing homosexual unions
August 8, 2003
I welcome and offer my full support to the document released July 31 by the Holy See with respect to granting legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons. This new declaration brings together in one place the consistent teaching of the Church over the centuries regarding marriage, the union of a man and a woman, as the foundational basis for the human society.

Links in the United States

August 13

NEW! Salt of the Earth (a Claretian publication)
Vatican launches counter-strike against gay
"The Vatican's continuing unwillingness to engage Catholic laity in a discussion about human sexuality weakens its positions," said Linda Pieczynski, spokesperson for Call to Action, a U.S. group seeking church reforms. "This new document does nothing to further a thoughtful discussion on homosexual unions, an important issue facing many churches."

August 10

NEW! The Free Lance-Star, VA
Church lacks the moral authority to comment
The Catholic Church needs to clean its own house, from the top down, before attempting to influence public law.

NEW! Boston Globe
Gays question faith after Vatican edict
LAS VEGAS -- Chuck Provancher and David Lenoir of Arlington, Mass., insist that when they stand with dozens of other same-sex Catholic couples this morning in a makeshift chapel decked with cactuses, their minds will be focused primarily on blessing and affirming their nine-year relationship. Yet they acknowledge that the group ceremony, which was long planned but which will be held 10 days after the Roman Catholic Church issued its edict calling same-sex relationships "against the natural moral law," has taken on an unavoidable connotation.
Anti-Gay Backlash To Worsen Activist Warns
LAS VEGAS -- Part protest, part affirmation of their love for one another, same-sex couples exchanged vows Sunday as LGBT Catholics from across the country wrapped up a four day conference in Las Vegas. The annual meeting of Dignity was dominated by the Vatican denouncement of gay marriage.

August 2

Press Release from Rainbow Sash Movement, Chicago
National Gay Catholic Organization Responds to the Vatican's Smoke and Mirrors Document
The US Rainbow Sash Movement (National Organization of Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender Catholics) welcomes the Vatican's attempt to get involved in the public discourse over this issue; however, the Vatican should have approached this matter with less hysteria, and more reason.

August 1

The National Review
No Surprises: The Vatican issues gay-union directives.
Doomsayers claimed the Catholic Church would never recover from the recent sex scandals; they also insisted she had lost her moral authority. Yet, despite vital reforms and healing that still needs to be done, she has continued to minister to her children, and to all the world. In Thursday's release of the document regarding the legal recognition of homosexual unions, we find the Catholic Church standing up for all the faithful, regardless of their sexual orientation.

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