Bishops Outside Spain Assail New Law

Same-Sex Marriage Statute Prompts Warnings

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ROME, JULY 5, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Catholic bishops in various parts of the world have publicly expressed concern in the wake of Spain's legalization of homosexual marriage and warned about its effects.



Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, warned that the new law is "an aberration of the principles that derive from nature" and stressed that the decision "does not reflect the true will of the Spanish people," the Italian newspaper Avvenire reported Friday.

For his part, Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, called the Spanish measure an "iniquitous law."

It is hard to understand "how the proposal can promote the family," given that it implies the latter's "destruction," he told Colombia's National Radio Network.

Also on Friday, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima and primate of Peru, warned of a dictatorship of moral relativism.

"Evil is disguised as good and is imposed," he said, "and woe to the one who doesn't accept it as he is labeled 'intolerant.'"

"I say all this because we have just learned that … [a] country of an enormous Christian tradition has approved pseudo-marriage and imposed on society a disfigurement, that is, a most pharisaic, hypocritical attack," Cardinal Cipriani said during a Mass.

Grave attack

It is a "grave threat for the family institution and for the future of the world," said Bishop José Hugo Garaycoa Hawkins of Tacna-Moquegua, Peru, in a statement to the Vatican agency Fides.

Archbishop José Ríos Reynoso of Arequipa, Peru, in a note sent to ZENIT, said: "We believe that it is not possible to accept passively such a grave attack against authentic marriage and the painful consequences and sufferings for families. It is necessary, therefore, to defend the historical and moral heritage," which is affected by this law.

"The reasons to reject this law are not against homosexuals, who insofar as human beings have the same rights as the rest of people," he said. "What we wish to do is to defend the anthropological and social reality of the union of man and woman, in its specificity and in its irreplaceable value for the common good."

Bishop Catalino Claudio Giménez Medina of Caacupe, president of the Paraguayan episcopate, told Fides: "For the sole desire to appear as a nation in the vanguard, trampling on fundamental principles, the Spanish government has approved a law that legalizes the so-called marriage of homosexual couples.

"This is no more than the aberration of a society without objectives and horizons, which causes profound confusion, the fruit of an age that shows itself ever more decadent."

Step backward

Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu, Uganda, in statements to Fides, said: "I hope that other countries will not follow Spain's example. Europe seems to be losing its soul and to be prey to a relativism without ethics."

Archbishop Theodore Adrien Sarr of Dakar, president of the Senegalese episcopate, lamented: "This law is a step backward, not a step forward, in human civilization, because it goes against the natural law.

"Africans of all religious creeds have been profoundly astonished by this law, because the natural law is rooted in our continent's culture."

Fides, the Holy See's missionary news agency, also reported the statements of Father Donald De Souza, secretary-general and spokesman of the Indian episcopate.

"The Church in India expresses its disconcert over the approval of the law that legitimizes homosexual 'marriage' in Spain," he said. "The Indian episcopal conference expresses its full solidarity with the Spanish bishops in the battle for life and the authentic family which they carry forward."

Father De Souza stressed that "beyond the Christian religion, ancient Indian traditions see marriage as between man and woman, and would in no way understand marriage between two men or two women."