On Monday, Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, remarked that “there are multiple other types of non-family cohabitation [besides marriage] for which solutions should be found in terms of individual law and in my view also in terms of property law.”
He also stressed that certain gay rights should be adopted for non-traditional families in order to prevent “injustice against the weakest.” He condemned homophobia and countries that criminalize gays. His declarations might sound contrary to the church’s teaching, but in fact they are not. He is wording a doctrine that is completely consistent with the Catholic teaching.
Gay marriage is still out of the question. The church cannot abide by such an idea because it goes contrary to the scriptures; and because the authority of the church derives solely from the scriptures, it cannot support gay marriage without undermining the reason for its existence. Its first duty is to protect the truth of the Bible.
The church is acknowledging a social pattern in our times: more same-sex couples are sharing life together, and their well being should also be considered. The church is adamant in regards to human rights and their protection, so considering civil unions for the sake of making it easier for gays to live happier lives is a good and Christian thing. Marriage might be a matter of principle, but private rights and protections are a pragmatic matter that require practical solutions. In this second aspect the church is opening and reconsidering its stance and contradicting the usual biases against it — that the church is an obsolete and intransigent institution.
The church remains steadfast in the defense of human rights and individual dignity, and this includes gays. There are many parts of the world where being gay is not even a matter of embarrassment, but where it is dangerous and unsafe. The physical threat of violence against gays is something that the Catholic Church stands against. Monsignor Paglia is expanding this stance and considering less aggressive behaviors like discrimination and homophobia, as things that should be condemned. In few words, a good Christian cannot be homophobic.
The LGBT community should acknowledge the good will of the church, and accept that it simply cannot help beyond this. After all, the word of Christ is one of hope and charity for all human beings regardless of origin, race, background, and even sexual orientation, but the protection of traditional family is one of the church’s main duties, as is the dispensation of the holy sacrament of marriage.
Human rights and marriage are two different things. The church has never acknowledged sexual license, whether between homosexuals or heterosexuals. But the human rights of those that give themselves this license is something that ought to be protected and respected. So far the church remains consistent.