R.I. Bishop: Civil Unions Unacceptable

During Corpus Christi celebrations in Crown Heights, parishioners from St. Matthew’s process from their worship site behind the Holy Eucharist to join St. Gregory the Great and Our Lady of Charity parishioners in Brower Park.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CNS) – Saying that civil unions “promote an unacceptable lifestyle, undermine the faith of the Church on holy matrimony, and cause scandal and confusion,” Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin reminded Catholics that they may not participate in such ceremonies.
“To do so is a very grave violation of the moral law and, thus, seriously sinful,” he said in a statement June 30, the day after passage of legislation that will give same-sex couples who enter into civil unions the same rights and benefits as marriage in Rhode Island.
The state Senate agreed to the bill, which the House had already approved, on a 21-16 vote late June 29 and Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, an Independent, has said he will sign it. Some proponents of same-sex marriage in the state opposed the bill, however, saying it did not go far enough and allowed overly broad religious exemptions.
Bishop Tobin said he was “deeply disappointed” at the decision to permit civil unions.
“The concept of civil unions is a social experiment that promotes an immoral lifestyle, is a mockery of the institution of marriage as designed by God, undermines the well-being of our families, and poses a threat to religious liberty,” he said.
He said the church members should “have respect and love for persons with same-sex attraction” but must remember that “homosexual activity is contrary to the natural law and the will of God and, therefore, is objectively sinful.”