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Cardinal hits out at "false" media coverage on Vatican gay marriage stance

Chicago's Cardinal Francis George angrily hit out at a newspaper for reporting that last week's Vatican statement on same-sex unions represents a "global campaign against gays".

Speaking from his pulpit in the city's cathedral, George said that the Pope was merely reiterating standard teachings of popes for the past 2000 years, that "marriage is the life-long union of a man and a woman who enter into a total sharing of themselves for the sake of family".

"Because of the concerted campaign in movies and TV shows in recent years to shape public imagination and opinion into accepting same sex relations as normal and morally unexceptional, obvious truths are now considered evidence of homophobia," he said.

George admitted that there can be genuine love between homosexuals, but added that he could never preside over any kind of union.

George's argument was also used by Australian Catholic Bishops Conference research fellow Warwick Neville, who told ABC Radio's AM program on Friday that the document just restated teachings of the church of very long standing.

"As a matter of Catholic teaching, there has always been a privileged position of marriage, the church does not intend to offend those who are in all different kinds of relationships," Neville said.

"But the nature of the acts in those relationships cannot beget offspring and the principle focus of the document is to refocus peoples' attentions generally on what is the role of marriage in society."

Meanwhile Catholic activists in the United States are saying that Democratic politicians who claim the Catholic banner but who vote against Church doctrine on homosexual issues are part of the 'unfortunate' legacy of President John F. Kennedy. The thrust of the Vatican statement was an instruction to Catholic politicians to oppose legislation that would allow same sex marriage.

Executive director of the Massachusetts Catholic Action League C.J. Doyle said that when politicians say they are not going to let the Church tell them what to do, it really means that interest groups, media institutions and the "big money campaign contributors that make their careers possible" will call the shots for them instead.

In Tasmania, Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome said the Vatican statement is a breach of the Anti-Discrimination Act.

"The Catholic Church is clearly in breach of Tasmanian law by referring to homosexuality as `deviant behaviour', gay marriage as `evil' and gay parenting as `violence to children'," Mr Croome said.

He said distributing the material could result in a fine of up to $20,000.

While Hobart Archbishop Adrian Doyle was not available to comment to The Mercury newspaper yesterday, a a spokeswoman said she did not see any reason why the church would distribute such material.

Daily Herald/AAP/CNSnews/The Mercury

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Considerations regarding Proposals to give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons (English official text)
Archdiocese of Chicago | Letter from Cardinal
Catholic MSPs have no option on Papal edict (The Scotsman)
No to legal same-sex partnerships (The Tablet)
Jesuit magazine says Catholics should pray for those who govern them (Catholic News Service)
Dutch pay no heed to Vatican's campaign (Bangkok Post)
Montreal gays denounce Catholic marriage policy (Canadian Press)
Vatican 'Helped Gays' Activists Say (
Australian politicians resisting Vatican pressure on gay marriage legislation (4/8/03)

5 Aug 2003