Several Roman Catholic prelates either denounced or attempted to clarify comments Pope Francis made this week that endorsed civil union laws for same-sex couples.
Cardinal Raymond Burke, an American who has before described homosexual relationships as “profoundly disordered and harmful,” said in a statement: “Such declarations generate great bewilderment and cause confusion and error among Catholic faithful, inasmuch as they are contrary to the teaching of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.”
“They cause wonderment and error regarding the Church’s teaching among people of good will, who sincerely wish to know what the Catholic Church teaches,” Burke further described the papal comments. “They impose upon pastors of souls the duty of conscience to make fitting and necessary clarifications. The context and the occasion of such declarations make them devoid of any magisterial weight. They are rightly interpreted as simple private opinions of the person who made them.”
“These declarations do not bind, in any manner, the consciences of the faithful who are rather obliged to adhere with religious submission to what Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and the ordinary Magisterium of the Church teach,” Burke added.
Burke, who sits on the Vatican’s highest court and formerly served as the archbishop of St. Louis, Missouri, cited both the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church to lay out his case that God ordained the differences between the sexes for a reason and that homosexual relationships are “contrary to the natural law, closed to the gift of life and void of a true affective and sexual complementarity.”
“To speak of a homosexual union, in the same sense as the conjugal union of the married, is, in fact, profoundly misleading, because there can be no such union between persons of the same sex,” Burke continued. “In what regards the administration of justice, persons in the homosexual condition, as all citizens, can always make use of the provisions of law to safeguard their private rights.”
Burke closed his statement with a sobering warning that the pope’s comments are causing “turmoil, confusion, and error.”
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