Church teaching on same-sex marriage and civil unions

USCCB Catechism: “There are attempts by some in contemporary society to change the definition or understanding of what exactly constitutes marriage. Efforts to gain approval for and acceptance of same-sex unions as marriages are examples. While the Church clearly teaches that discrimination against any group of people is wrong, efforts to make cohabitation, domestic partnerships, same-sex unions, and polygamous unions equal to marriage are misguided and also wrong. The Church and her members need to continue to be a strong and clear voice in protecting an understanding of marriage, which is rooted in natural law and revealed in God’s law.” (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, p. 280.)

“The political pressure for the legalization of same-sex unions is yet another step in the erosion of God’s plan for marriage and the understanding of marriage in the natural moral order of creation.” (USCCB Catechism, p. 286.)

“Attempts to justify same-sex unions or relationships or to give them matrimonial status also contradict God’s plan — as revealed from the beginning both in nature and in Revelation — for marriage to be a life-long union of a man and a woman.” (USCCB Catechism, p. 411.)

Second Vatican Council: “By their very nature, the institution of matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation and education of children, and find in them their ultimate crown.” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, n. 48.)

Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: “The Church’s teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.” (Cardinal Ratzinger, CDF, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons, n. 2 in its entirety.)

“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. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law.” (Cardinal Ratzinger, CDF, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons, n. 4.)

“Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil. In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.” (Cardinal Ratzinger, CDF, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons, n. 5.)

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