SOUTH AFRICA: Archbishop Comments on Church’s Position on Marriage amid Homosexual Civil Union Debate

By Arnold Neliba

CAPE TOWN, OCTOBER 27, 2020 (CISA)-Archbishop Emeritus William Slattery the spokesperson of South African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) had maintained that the Church still stands with the traditional Catholic position on Christian Marriage.

“A recently published statement by Pope Francis appearing to call for the passage of Civil Union Laws for same sex couples does not represent a departing from the traditional Catholic position regarding Christian Marriage,” he said in a statement released on October 23.

Referring to Pope Francis’ document Amoris Laetitia Archbishop Slattery said the Pope endorses the teaching of the Church in regard to Christian Marriage.

“As for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family,” he quoted the Pope’s document.

Archbishop Slattery further says that the Pope in the document says, “It is unacceptable that local Churches should be subjected to pressure in this matter and that international bodies should make financial aid to poor countries dependent on the introduction of laws to establish ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex.”

According to him, the Pope realizes that there is a minority of persons who live in homosexual unions and need to be protected by civil law.

“Civil unions are simply that —agreements controlled by civil law. For the Catholic Church they are in no way marriages. They are simply civil statements by which a gay couple express their civil relationship to each other,” the archbishop said.

“The Pope and the Church reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration while every sign of unjust discrimination is to be carefully avoided,” he added.

According to remarks made by Pope Francis in a documentary film “Francesco” that premiered at the Rome Film Festival on Wednesday October 21, “Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it.”