In response to a Lifesite News exposé, which was reprinted in the May 2003 issue of The Interim, the Catholic Women’s League has reaffirmed its previously articulated endorsement of “the bond of matrimony between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.” While this acknowledgement of Catholic church teaching on the subject of marriage is both timely and commendable, the CWL did not rescind the recommendation which Lifesite News found most troubling: its call for legal homosexual civil unions.

In the carefully worded response, the CWL in no way distanced itself from a statement it submitted to the House of Commons justice committee. Within its original proposal suggesting how “Parliament (can) best act to support marriage” was the outrageous recommendation that a statute be enacted that “allows for civil unions to be registered between … same-sex couples, with all legal implications and responsibilities including separation, divorce (and) maintenance.”

A subsequent “clarification statement” offered no modification or retraction of the proposed policy on homosexual civil unions whatsoever; in fact, the only mention of homosexual civil unions was in a quotation from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishop’s statement on the matter – which, in the context in which it was presented, seemed to lend the idea support. The CCCB, however, does not endorse such civil unions.

The creation of such civil unions – which would enjoy generous legal privileges – would only lend authenticity and tacit acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle, and increasingly jeopardize the place of the traditional family in Canadian law. In fact, with recognition of the type of civil union endorsed by the CWL, it is foreseeable that religious freedoms could be further eroded by the same activist judiciary that is now rewriting marriage laws of Canada.

The CWL should not advocate legal recognition of unions that the Catholic church teaches are unacceptable. Furthermore, the CWL has an obligation to the teachings of the Catholic church and the members who have served it so faithfully and ardently over the years. By opposing homosexual civil unions, the CWL would fulfill many of its laudable objectives, among which are to unite Catholic women to “promote the teachings of the Catholic church … to exemplify the Christian ideal … (and) to uphold and defend Christian education and values in the modern world.”

With the recent Ontario Court of Appeals decision (and governments’ acquiescence on the matter), the proposal of the CWL may seem tame in comparison. The objection, however, is extant: a Catholic group cannot advocate homosexual civil unions, homosexual divorce rights or any other proposal that is in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Catholic church.

Prime Minister Jean Chretien identifies himself as a Catholic, however, like many Canadian politicians before him, he actively pursues policies that are radically opposed to the teachings of the church. While the obscene dualism between so-called personal belief and public service has long blighted

Canadian politics, ambivalent recommendations, and (calculated) responses like those issued from the CWL only undermine the clear voice of the Magesterium, the teaching authority of the church.

The CWL has been a clear proponent of the traditional definition of marriage, and in requesting that its members make this known to their members of Parliament, they are to be applauded. But the CWL must also make its opposition to civil unions as “unequivocally clear” as its support of the traditional definition of marriage.