The Catholic Church, often called the Roman Catholic Church or the Catholic Church (also known as the Roman Catholic Church or the Catholic Church) is the biggest established Christian religion in the world, having about 1.3 Billion active members worldwide. The Catholic Church has many followers in many countries, especially in Europe and Latin America. It also has one of the largest charitable organisations in the world with millions of volunteer hours helping to build homes and care for those who are less fortunate than themselves. The Catholic Church has been a consistent Church against modern society’s acceptance of gay relationships and same sex marriage.
In Argentina, the Archbishops of Buenos Aires reaffirmed their rejection of gay marriage in a public meeting. In June of 2021 the Argentinean Congress passed a bill criminalising same-sex sexual relations outside a committed relationship. The Church called the law “ridiculous and in violation of the will of the people”. The archbishops added that the law violates the basic right of freedom of expression of opinion, which they believe are fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution and the human rights of all citizens. Some analysts have suggested that the Church’s position on gay marriage is a response to the loss of the Papacy due to age, not a reflection of their views on gay civil unions.
Argentina is not the only country to have a major Church opposition to gay civil unions. In the United States, there are some small but vocal splinter groups. In a country as large and stable as the US, the Pope could easily resolve any internal Church opposition to accepting gay marriage. If the Church does not do this, it could be forced to do so under the UK Home Office Act, passed in 1996. Under this legislation, the government can insist that the Church either accept its teachings on homosexuality or enter into a voluntary partnership with a gay community to work towards ending discrimination. This legislation has had limited success and there are reports that the number of gay couples registering with Catholic Church agencies has not significantly reduced.
Even in countries where there is minimal Church opposition to gay marriage, a Pope who is perceived as soft on sexuality could cause problems for the Church. Benedict XVI was installed as the new Pope in March 2021. He immediately released a statement saying that the Church is not opposed to gay marriage. This caused much consternation among conservative Catholics and some of his predecessors have since repeated this position.
Many people believe that the Church should be supportive of gay rights. This may happen in some small and informal ways, but the Church is not an institution that can be pushed into changing its long-standing teaching. There is an increasing pressure from gay lobby groups and members of the clergy to soften the Church’s stance on homosexuality. This could mean that eventually the Catholic Church will begin to cater for gay civil partnerships and adopt welcoming attitudes to homosexual couples.
It is also believed that the Church should be more prepared to welcome gay and lesbian people. The current theology on homosexuality places it beyond salvation. They are believed to be incomplete or incur sin simply because they are gay. The Church must therefore accept them, teach them, and welcome them into the Church with full openness and charity.
This would certainly be a step forward for the Church. However, it should be noted that there is currently one cardinal who is openly gay and married. This man, Belgian Cardinal Christoph Cardinal Bavian, has refused to step down despite calls for him to do so. If he were to resign, it is not clear whether the Church would then welcome gay couples. Some people speculate that it might push people in that direction, but that would be difficult to see how this would work given the divisions that currently exist in the Church.
What can the Catholic Church do? It has the power and authority to decide what is suitable to say and do given its existing beliefs and positions on matters such as abortion, capital punishment, and so forth. There is nothing to say that it cannot or should not speak out on issues that concern individuals who are gay. However, it is important to understand that those same beliefs and positions that are held by the Church also prevent them from being open and tolerant of other individuals regardless of their sexual orientation.