Rome, Italy, Jul 1, 2013 / 03:42 pm (CNA).- After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, an Italian cardinal said that recognizing gay unions as “marriages” ignores nature and may yield effects that cannot be entirely anticipated.
“The fundamental structures of our existence would be overturned, with the destructive effects that we can imagine, but not entirely foresee,” Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general emeritus of the Diocese of Rome, said in a June 28 interview with Italian daily Il Foglio.
“We think, in concrete terms, of what can be a family in which there is no longer a father, a mother, and children who have a father and a mother,” he added in the interview, which was noted by Vatican analyst Sandro Magister of L'Espresso July 1.
Two days before the interview, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, and that the federal government must recognize same-sex “marriages” if they are accepted by individual states. This means that “married” gay couples are entitled to the same federal benefits as married straight couples.
Cardinal Ruini said that same-sex “marriage” is an effect of a misunderstanding – even a rejection – of human nature.
In fact, reality is a given, which cannot be changed and is not a construction of society, he explained.
“One very important aspect of our being is that we are structured according to the sexual difference, of man and woman…it is a primordial and evident difference, which precedes our personal decisions, our culture and the education we have received.”
This reality has led humanity “since its origin,” to understand marriage “as a bond possible only between a man and a woman,” he said.
The basis for “gay marriage,” the cardinal explained, is the view that sex is a choice of the individual, and not a given characteristic that is received at conception.
“But,” he said, “this is an illusion, even if it is shared by many.”
“Our freedom, in fact, is rooted in the reality of our being, and when it is violated it becomes destructive, of ourselves first of all.”
Cardinal Ruini emphasized that equality is a good which is to be valued, “understood as equal dignity among all human beings.”
However, when it is understood “as the negation of every difference and therefore as the presumption to treat different situations in the same way, equality is simply something that goes against reality,” he said.
“The illusions, instead, sooner or later collapse, often after having done great damage.”
Recognizing that governments cannot command or prohibit whom one loves, the cardinal also said that governments “can and must…seek to regulate in the way most useful and most in keeping with reality the behaviors that are born from love but have a public significance.”
He rejected the idea of civil unions as a compromise between supporters and opponents of same-sex “marriage,” saying society can in no way healthfully “banish nature with a personal or collective decision of our own.”
Civil unions would not “satisfy the demand for absolute freedom and equality that is at the basis of the claim of homosexual marriage,” he stated.
Furthermore, Cardinal Ruini suggested, civil unions are harmful to societies because they would further dissolve the already damaged institution of marriage, as well as useless because all of the rights they would afford “can very well be protected…by recognizing them as rights of persons, and not of couples.”
In light of the rush to accept gay marriage in the U.S. and Europe, the Italian cardinal said the Church “cannot help” but uphold reality and the nature of man.
On that basis, Catholics are called to witness to truth and live their faith in the public square.
He urged that Catholics “must become more aware of the cultural and social significance of their faith.”
“When this awareness becomes weak, the faith becomes insipid and has little impact not only in the public sphere, but also in the capacity to draw persons and lead them to Christ,” he reflected.