When Cardinal Martini talked about focusing on the councils and synods he knew how long and difficult it would be to go in that direction. Gently, but firmly and tenaciously."
Cardinal Martini was pro-civil unions, contraception, and women's ordination.
That's a bit of a stretch, he had 'nuanced' positions on many of these issues which were not entirely in sync with the Vatican, but if I recall, he was more pushing at the edges rather than suggesting a radical realignment of Catholic teaching, particularly with his position regarding condom usage.
“It isn’t bad for two homosexuals to have a stable relationship, and so in that sense the state could also favour them. I disagree with the positions of those, in the Church, who take issue with civil unions.” -Cardinal Martini
MODIFY: Replaced a dead link.
I would actually agree with him. In the sense that, people have a right to marry however they want within a secular framework. But, it should be kept in a secular framework, outside the Church.
The Church's Canon Law is something altogether different, and only applicable to members of the Catholic Church.
Sexual relationships inside the Church are only that one is celibate, or one has a partner of the opposite sex.
I'm sure most of you will engage in typical reactive fashion, but in this week's Commonweal Online, Father John Garvey, OCA, "An Imperfect Union
When Church & State Marry"
writes on this very topic and his comments will no doubt provoke many, but he makes the same point I have made in the past - leave marriage to the church, let the state deal with contract rights and take the clergy out of any role in the signing of the state's contracts.
(Sorry about the long quote, but I didn't want Father's column to be cherry picked as I am sure others are already doing elsewhere.....)
'Anyone willing to make a life-long commitment to another person should be allowed to. Such commitments can only strengthen our common social bonds, and in a society where so many kinds of personal bonds seem to be dissolving, anything that promotes fidelity should be encouraged.At the same time, while such unions should provide the same legal benefits as marriage, they should also be seen as different from Christian marriage. But in America we have so confused the sacrament with the legal arrangement as it bears on insurance, hospital visitation, inheritance, etc., that the meaning of marriage as a Christian mystery has been lost in legalism. This is partly because of the country’s Protestant heritage, which never recognized marriage as a sacrament in the first place. But many Catholics—including Catholic bishops—have been guilty of the same confusion, though not all: apparently Pope Francis, as a bishop in Argentina, opposed same-sex marriage but suggested that the bishops accept civil unions as an alternative
. The other bishops didn’t agree.It always struck me as odd that marriage is the only occasion when I, as a priest, have to deal with an agent of the state
. An Irish Dominican friend, trained in law, said, “I think the church should get out of the civil marriage business.” So do I. My ideal—a sharp distinction between marriage and civil unions for both heterosexual and same-sex couples—might have worked if the church hadn’t settled into such a cozy relationship with the state in the first place.
But the church long ago drank the Constantinian Kool-Aid in this and other matters, and continues to ask the state to enforce its own confused idea of what marriage entails. What we have to face now is not just a case of having lost the cultural battle over issues that matter—and should matter—to us morally. We’re also dealing with the church’s ancient mistake of entering into an alliance with Caesar and asking the coercive power of the state to defend the church’s morality.
It seems to me a matter of justice to grant same-sex couples the same rights heterosexuals have under the law, and to require the same obligations. At the same time, to redefine marriage in terms of romance, personal feeling, and a rather Victorian sense of family, along with a sentimental approach to children, is a mistake. It is to act as if our present understanding of family, historically limited as it is, were the definitive one—the last stage in a long line of progressively more perceptive understandings of marriage rather than the contingent result of our current and, to my mind, overly sentimental presumptions.
There is and should be a radical difference between secular marriage as a legal contract and Christian marriage as a sacrament, a sign of the mystery that unites Christ and the church. If we care about the survival of Christian marriage, this difference should be our central concern