- The Washington Times - Monday, July 28, 2003

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican, alarmed by growing legal acceptance of homosexual “marriage,” is issuing instructions to bishops and Catholic politicians in an effort to halt the trend.

The instructions, which call on politicians to oppose extending rights granted to traditional couples, are in a document prepared by the church’s guardian of orthodoxy, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The document — “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons” — will be released Thursday, the Vatican said.

Pope John Paul II and top Vatican officials have been speaking out for months against legislative proposals to legalize same-sex “marriages” in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

In January, the pope approved guidelines for Catholic politicians that said church opposition to abortion, euthanasia and same-sex “marriage” was not up for debate.

It said laws safeguarding marriage between man and woman must be promoted and that “in no way can other forms of cohabitation be placed on the same level as marriage, nor can they receive legal recognition as such.”

But legal acceptance is growing.

Two Canadian provinces — Ontario and British Columbia — have legalized homosexual “marriage” under recent court rulings. The move has attracted homosexuals from the United States.

Earlier this month, a top German cardinal condemned Germany’s same-sex “marriage” law after it was upheld by the country’s supreme court, calling it a blow to the family.

“Now the associations of homosexuals have a potent arm to obtain further concessions on the road toward full equality with married couples, including the right to adoption,” Cardinal Karl Lehman said in a Vatican Radio interview.

The Vatican is particularly worried about the waning influence of the church in Europe. Drafters of a proposed constitution for the European Union ignored Vatican requests to include explicit mention of Europe’s Christian roots.

On Sunday, the pope said Europeans were diluting the church’s message.

Vatican officials said the new document — 12 pages long and available in seven languages — is devoted entirely to the issue of same-sex “marriages.”

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