A Jesuit cardinal has become the latest Church leader to speak out forcefully against a government’s push towards same-sex marriage, and has called on his nation’s contemplatives to pray fervently to prevent such laws.
According to an article in tomorrow’s L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Primate of Argentina, has said that if a proposed bill giving same-sex couples the opportunity to marry and adopt children should be approved, it will “seriously damage the family.”
He made the statement in a letter addressed to each of the four monasteries in Argentina, asking the contemplatives to pray “fervently” that legislators be strengthened to do the right thing.
He wrote: “In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family…At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.”
Cardinal Bergoglio continued: “Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
The cardinal also noted that “today the country, in this particular situation, needs the special assistance of the Holy Spirit to bring the light of truth on to the darkness of error, it need this advocate to defend us from being enchanted by many fallacies that are tried at all costs to justify this bill and to confuse and deceive the people of good will.”
The cardinal explained why he has called on the nation’s Carmelites for “their prayers and sacrifice, the two invincible weapons of Santa Teresa.”
“I invoke the Lord to send his Spirit on senators who will be voting, that they do not act in error or out of expediency, but according to what the natural law and the law of God shows them,” he said. Addressing the contemplatives, he called on them to pray for the legislators and their families, “that the Lord visit, strengthen and console them. Pray for the senators to do good for their country.”
Cardinal Bergoglio said the bill will be discussed in the Senate after July 13. “We look to Saint Joseph, Mary and the Child Jesus and ask that they fervently defend the family in Argentina at this particular time,” he said. “We remember what God said to his people in a moment of great anguish: ‘This war is not yours, but God’s’: defend us, then, in this war of God.”
Argentina already permits civil unions. Last Wednesday, a senate committee approved a bill which conferred on civil unions the same benefits as those who are married, but prohibited adoption and assisted reproduction.
L’Osservatore Romano says that there is growing opposition to the legislative proposals, and many are opposed to same-sex marriage, not only Catholics. “They also consider the proposed legislation a serious threat to the natural family,” it writes.
President Fernández de Kirchner has stated that she would not block the bill from becoming law if it was approved by the Senate.
Same-sex marriage has been very much in the headlines in Argentina over the past year after a series of marriages were approved and then overturned by local and supreme courts.
Earlier this year, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra of Bologna issued a doctrinal note warning against same-sex marriage, calling it “devastating” to society, and saying it would cause one of the “pillars of our legal system” to collapse.