Synod secretary backs rights for people in same-sex unions

The synod on the family’s special secretary has given a qualified support to legal recognition of the rights of people in same-sex unions.

At a press conference after the release of the synod’s half way report (relatio), Archbishop Bruno Forte said “it seems obvious to me that humans have different experiences [and] have rights that must all be protected”.

He did not equate same-sex unions with traditional marriage.

But he said: “Naturally, this does not mean that we should rule out looking for a way to describe the rights of people living in same-sex unions.”

“It is a question – I think – of being civilised and respecting people’s dignity.”

At the press conference, when the synod’s relator general, Cardinal Peter Erdo, was asked about the report’s conciliatory statements on gay people, he turned the microphone over to Archbishop Forte.

“He who wrote the text must know what it is talking about,” the cardinal said.

Queried about the statement that “homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community”, Archbishop Forte said that “the fundamental idea is the centrality of the person independently of the sexual orientation”.

Archbishop Forte was also asked to reflect further on the “positive elements” in cohabitation and same-sex unions.

“I think the document intends to find positive aspects wherever these are to be found and they do exist of course,” he said.

“Rejecting something is easy, but recognising and giving value to all that is positive, even when dealing with these kinds of experiences, I think is an exercise in intellectual honesty and spiritual charity.”

Some of the synod fathers have said the first week of discussions at the synod have recalled the spirit of Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes, Archbishop Forte said.

“[This is] the Church that looks kindly upon the world, making the expectations and the suffering of today’s men and women its own.”


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