At the International Symposium of the Martín Azpilcueta Institute of the University of Navarre last week, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, a leading Catholic cardinal repeated the Church’s opposition to the legal recognition of same-sex relationships, warning of the “grave risks” associated with expanding marriage rights. The Polish Cardinal, who is the Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, said that it was impossible to draw comparisons between the institution of marriage and same-sex relationships.
“God has endowed nature with wise laws, directed to the good of humanity. These laws cannot be violated without grave risks. Human nature is eloquent in regard to the complementarity of the sexes, the tendency of marriage to generation, etc.”, the Catholic Zenit news agency reports him as saying. “I do not understand how the public interest is not seen in recognizing and protecting the institution of marriage,” he said. “If this is understood, it is not possible to find any basis whatsoever to compare homosexual unions to marriage: there isn’t even an analogy.”
Grocholewski denied that refusing the rights and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples was discriminatory and also hit out at claims that the Church was tacitly supporting homophobia. “I don’t mean to say that all those who experience a homosexual inclination are personally culpable, but that homosexual conduct is ‘objectively disordered,’ as the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us,” he told the conference’s attendees.
The Cardinal did also speak out against discrimination aimed at lesbian and gay people, repeating the Catholic belief that it is the sin which is rejected, rather than the sinner. “In the same way as it would be unacceptable to approve this type of relation, so would it be to approve any unjust discrimination of homosexual persons.”
His comments repeat similar claims made by the Catholic Church recently, in light of the increasing number of countries who are to offer same-sex couples legal recognition. The Pope, and many leadings bishops, are angry that countries such as Spain and Canada are edging closer to full marriage rights for lesbian and gay couples, while they also oppose giving domestic union rights such as the Civil Partnership bill currently being debated in the UK.
The Netherlands, Belgium and a number of Canada’s provinces currently offer marriage rights for same-sex couples, while civil union packages are available in Germany and France.