In view of the serious situation in Spain where the family is under systematic attack with a serious of measures imposed by the government to change the Spanish Code of Civil Code to allow people of the same sex to "marry" and adopt children, accelerate and facilitate separation and divorce, allow free distribution of "day-after" pills at health centres, Fides spoke with Cardinal Alfonso L—pez Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family.Your Eminence what is your opinion on the new law being discussed in Spain with regard to "marriage of people of the same sex" and measures to accelerate separation and divorce?
I have spoken recently of the serious threats to the family and life in certain countries due to a wrong interpretation of what represents a parliamentary majority and laws which can be passed. Ancient and venerable traditions tell us that unjust laws are called iniquitous because they lack the equity of justice.
St Thomas says "lex injusta non obligat" which means that a law which is not good for the individual and for society and are imposed from outside, they can ruin the structure of the natural institution of the family which is central to society and the Church. We should recall the Letter to Dionisius which says that Christians are like other citizens in what they eat and how they dress, but they share everything, except one thing, the nuptial bed. This means that the nuptial bed is a place of conjugal, faithful and exclusive love until death. It is the place where life is welcomed and children are generated. It expresses the character and significance of marriage as described in the encyclical Encyclical Humanae Vitae (Paul VI 1968): union and procreation.
So the fact that some parliaments, as in the case of Spain, open the way for same sex "marriage", represents a step towards other problems which aggravate the situation and in this way destroy piece by piece the institution of the family the most valuable heritage of peoples and humanity. The Letter to Dionisius also says that Christians do not harm their children, they respect life and are against abortion.
For the Church these two principles are central, they are essential, desired by God, a holy plan from the moment of creation, as we read in the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 19). This is not our invention it is part of the holy plan of the Creator who desires the good of humanity. Some say: "in what are we doing wrong ?" Precisely in those things which are so important for the Church and for which it has suffered at various times in history. Today the problem is serious and gradually we have reached the legalisation of illegal unions, a juridical pretence. In these unions there are no promises for the partners or for the children, no stability, nothing before society or God, but they demand all the benefits of authentic marriage.
A similar union offers nothing. It has been presented as progress when in fact it is moral retrocession. The problem has become worse because these couples present themselves as an alternative to marriage. But since the very beginning of humanity and cultures and peoples, marriage has always and only been a union of love and life between a man and a woman. History confirms this and anthropologists agree that similar unions have never been recognised. In your opinion what causes this move to overturn the understanding of marriage?
To accept same sex "marriage" they have had to falsify the very definition of marriage. And this is the first time that a country does something like this. They have changed the definition so it can be used to describe the union of any two people without specifying whether they are of different sex or same sex. They would have us believe that this is a right rather than a threat for the family. But could any person with basic knowledge of anthropology, the history of human culture or juridical thought could affirm this? If we take a dictionary in any language up to five years ago marriage was defined as a union of a man and a woman. Therefore this is something which goes against common sense, against the principles of law. Many are surprised at the Church"s position, they fail to realise that the concept of marriage is the common patrimony of humanity. In Spain for example Muslims and Jews and other religious groups are staging public protests because authentic marriages is a legacy of humanity and religion.
Before God and in fidelity to my mission I must be faithful to this principle: marriage comes from God. It is the Creator"s natural institution to protect authentic love, to protect children, to protect the spouses. Otherwise spouses will feel they can trust no one, because this is like instituting infidelity, indeed it is the supreme institution of supreme infidelity of a type of union which cannot stand before God or society.
To reach this situation the way had been prepared for some time with the so-called "gender theory" according to which: sex is not part of human nature, it is neither intrinsic nor constitutive even if the genetic code proves that it is. They say this does not count because the person can choose and cultures are not permanent, they change. This theory helped prepare the way to allow same sex "marriage".
This would destroy the child"s future, it would be an act of moral violence against the child. The United Nations Convention dated 1998 says that the greatest principle is the good of the child, the rights of the child. This is a central principle in the constitutions of the many countries which signed the Convention. This Convention was approved by the Convention of The Hague. I had the honour and responsibility two years ago of leading the Holy See delegation to the United Nations where I spoke about the sacred right of every child to have a real family in which to be loved, to grow and develop harmoniously. And not one person objected. Now I am criticised for my work which is something the Church has always preached to the whole world. It has been preached by John Paul II, the then Cardinal today our beloved Pope Ratzinger, the Bishops Conferences. It is not a personal opinion it is my duty because my mission is to promote and protect the family.
They say that children adopted by two people of the same sex are very happy. A child may be for a couple of years but when the child reaches the age of reason, when he grows up and becomes young adult, how tragic it will be for him to let his friends know that his "parents" are two women or two men? This situation endangers the child"s personality, balance, harmony. Our experts all over the world say unanimously that this is an act of violence against children because children naturally imitate the nearest model, the parents and when they are of the same sex what will the child assimilate? This reality is presented as sound, mature, possible. And this is totally false.
As I have said many times, homosexual peoples must be respected, loved and assisted. We must help them overcome this situation if they seriously want to and help them realise that there is not only life on earth, there is another life. The Church does not wish to see these "couples" suffer discrimination, or humiliation, jeered at or treated without respect. They are human persons and we must love them. It is false to say that the Church does not love these people. She loves them and wants to lead them to eternal salvation.
Paragraphs 69, 73, 74 of Evangelium Vitae speak of objection of conscience. This means a person can use his or her right to object out of conscience and refuse to comply with this crime which represents the destruction of the world. Conscientious objection has always been respect in the laws and constitutions of all nations and the State is bound to respect it without threats. A believer has the right to refuse to "burn incense" in front of a false god just at the first Christians refused to burn incense in front of the emperor. If Christians are obliged to act against their conscience then history would repeat itself. As Pope John Paul II reminded us so often it is necessary to obey God rather than men.
All Christians, including state employees, have a duty to avail themselves of conscientious objection because the law of which we are speaking inflicts a deep moral wound on the Christian faith. Moreover the question involves the entire world, and is creating a universal scandal for all religions and all cultures. It calls for a world response. Conscientious objection was not invented by the Church: the Christian must object and make his or her faith respected like doctors who refuse to carry out abortions. Conscientious objection is used not only to protest against abortion or same sex "marriage" it is used against all bad laws. And this law is particularly evil and bad and therefore provokes conscientious objection.
The principle was affirmed by Pope John Paul II on 29 January 2002, when he addressed the Roman Rota with regard to divorce. A citizen is always allowed to have recourse to conscientious objection unless the state is totalitarian. It would be pure totalitarianism if a person were sacked for conscientious objection. Democracy always respects personal freedom and to overlook this principle would be very dangerous and very grave. How can a state which fails to respect the individual and de-humanises the human person look towards a future worthy of humanity?
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