NZ gay law 'to make moral wasteland'
Cardinal Thomas Williams of Wellington said New Zealand's Civil Union Bill, which aims to bolster the rights of same-sex couples, is part of the erosion of values that is turning New Zealand into a "moral wasteland".
Cardinal Williams likened reforming politicians to "modern barbarians" who aim to "tear down existing standards, and to debase ideals that have come to characterise a society built on sound moral principle".
In an essay, The Spiritual Bankruptcy of Liberalism, in yesterday's New Zealand Herald newspaper, he also attacked reforms in the past two decades that had legalised prostitution and homosexuality, reshaped the economy and liberally amended abortion law.
Prime Minister Helen Clark said the cardinal's views were sad. She told radio station NewstalkZB that politicians reflected the direction in which society moved and she was "frankly sad that that sort of language has been used".
The Civil Union Bill, introduced for debate in Parliament last week, would grant couples in civil unions many of the same rights as married couples. The new legal status would be open to both same-sex and heterosexual couples.
Conservative critics have labelled it the "Gay Marriage Bill" although civil unions would still be distinct from marriage.
Cardinal Williams said it would grant legitimacy to "all manner of relationships that are anything but marital".
"The traditional family unit as essential to the well-being of society is increasingly ignored by legislators," Cardinal Williams wrote.
The nation's failure to protect basic values and rudimentary citizenship was fast converting New Zealand into a moral wasteland, he said.
"We have rejected the moral sustenance of the past and are attempting to live on junk food provided by a bankrupt liberalism."
Gay law 'to make moral wasteland' (The Courier Mail 28/6/04)
Cardinal Thomas Williams: Barbarians at the gate jib at Judaeo-Christian ethic (New Zealand Herald 28/6/04)
Catholic Leader Sees 'Moral Wasteland' Resulting From Liberal Policies (CNSnews.com 28/6/04)
Civil Union Bill
NZ Becoming 'A Moral Wasteland' (Newstalk ZB/XtraMSN 26/6/04)
Being Gay and Catholic (GayNZ.com)
Catholic Church in New Zealand
29 Jun 2004