At a speech at the National Gallery in London Cardinal Schönborn is reported to have endorsed same-sex civil partnerships. The story comes from the Tablet who had someone at the event. Others who were there apparently think his words were not precisely as the Tablet reports them. Unfortunately, if they were they would be consistent with other recent statements and actions of the Viennese Archbishop. Whatever the truth of the matter in this case the teaching of the Church is clear as the CDF stated in 2003,

“Laws in favour of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex. Given the values at stake in this question, the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good.”

One of the many great merits of this document is that it addresses the question correctly from a position of principle. Unless we insist first on the grave depravity and destructive social consequences of homosexual activity the Church’s teaching cannot be defended. It would be quite correct to pursue the line being taken by the world in this regard. Religious liberty does not work as a defence. If a realised inclination to sodomy was really analogous to being black or female then the state would be right to overrule a particular group’s desire to unfairly stigmatise and exclude ‘homosexuals’. We cannot retreat from the substantive point that sodomy is gravely immoral and injurious to society. Furthermore, any retreat from this position even an unwillingness to express oneself forcefully (or at all) on the matter implies a repudiation of the Church’s tradition and a Modernist conception of the Magisterium. As the CDF document also points out,

“Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts ‘as a serious depravity… (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’ This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.”

To accept Same-Sex Civil Partnerships is thus to repudiate the claim that the Church has always guaranteed to the faithful the “objective possibility of professing the true faith without error” (CCC890). Accordingly it is logically a rejection of the possibility of public revelation and saving faith.