From San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone:
In our bishops region’s audience with Pope Francis last January during our ad limina visit (the visit diocesan bishops make every five years to the Vatican), the topic of civil unions came up in conversation.
The Holy Father clearly differentiated between a civil arrangement which accords mutual benefits to two people, and marriage. The former, he said, can in no way be equated to marriage, which remains unique.
I would add that a civil union of this type (one which is not equated to marriage) should be as inclusive as possible, and not be restricted to two people of the same sex in a presumed sexual relationship.
There is no reason, for example, why a brother and a sister, both of whom are unmarried and support each other, should not have access to these kinds of benefits. Marriage is unique because it is the only institution that connects children to their mothers and fathers, and therefore is presumed to be a sexual relationship.
Indeed, the sexual relationship that marriage is presumed to involve is the only kind by which children are naturally made. The nature of marriage, the place of sex within a virtuous life, these great teachings of the Church come to us from God, are illuminated by reason, and do not change.
Archbishop Cordileone will be familiar to longtime JMG readers as the “father of Prop 8” – California’s successful 2008 public referendum to overturn same-sex marriage. Subsequent appearances on JMG came when he ordered Catholics not to masturbate, when he was arrested for drunk driving, and when prominent Catholics called on the Vatican to make him the successor to Pope Benedict. He last appeared on JMG when he performed an exorcism at the site of a civil rights protest. Before that we heard from him when he petitioned to DOJ to enforce obscenity statutes against porn sites.