More Vatican support for same-sex civil unions

A second senior Vatican official has spoken in favour of civil recognition of same-sex unions — but has said they can never be equivalent to marriage.

Archbishop Piero Marini, who served for 18 years as Pope John Paul II’s liturgical Master of Ceremonies, said “there are many couples that suffer because their civil rights aren’t recognised”.

Archbishop Marini, who is now the president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, was being interviewed by La Nación newspaper in Costa Rica, following a local eucharistic congress.

The archbishop made his statement in the context of a question about the meaning of a secular state.

“This is already a reality in Europe,” he said. “A secular state is fine, but if it turns into a secularist state, meaning hostile to the Catholic Church, then there’s something wrong.

“Church and state should not be enemies to one another. In these discussions, it’s necessary, for instance, to recognise the union of persons of the same sex, because there are many couples that suffer because their civil rights aren’t recognised.

“What can’t be recognised is that this [union] is equivalent to marriage.”

In February a similar position was expressed by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

During a Vatican news conference, Archbishop Paglia said that while the Church is opposed to anything that treats other unions as equivalent to marriage between a man and a woman, it could accept “private law solutions” for protecting people’s rights.

In his La Nación interview, Archbishop Marini was also asked what the recent change in the papacy meant.

It’s a breath of fresh air, it’s opening a window on to springtime and on to hope,” he said.

“We had been breathing the waters of a swamp, and it had a bad smell. We’d been in a Church afraid of everything, with problems such as Vatileaks and the paedophilia scandals. With Francis we’re talking about positive things; he puts the emphasis on the positive and talks about offering hope.”


National Catholic Reporter

Vatican Insider

Image: Chronicle Herald

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