all assets of a person, a corporation, or, for instance, a married couple.
For some reason, some have tried to minimize the extremely grave declarations of the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Abp. Vincenzo Paglia, in favor of the "diritti patrimoniali" of individual members of a same-sex "couple" to matters of inheritance. Even the president of Human Life International Fr. Shehan Boquet, has tried to downplay the revolutionary nature of Paglia's semi-stealth support of civil unions by saying that Paglia "simply affirmed the Church's long held defense of basic human dignity (which is a gift from God the Father as every person is made in His image), her defense of the unchangeable nature of marriage, and her desire that no one suffer unjust discrimination." No, Fr. Boquet, there was no "clarification", he has defended that homosexual partnership generates individual property rights and that is precisely the reasoning that has founded "civil partnerships" throughout the West.
First, of course, even if it were limited to inheritance, it would still be a grave matter: the highest official of the Church in family matters recognizes that homosexual activists are right, that is, that a "relationship" founded primarily on acts against nature generates individual property rights of any sort. Second, the notion of patrimonial rights in Civil Law is wide: what Paglia meant, in his first declaration, and in his worse "clarification", is that the Church, through him, sees a need for the protection of the individual rights of each "partner" in a counternatural relationship to all matters relating to the estate held by the "couple" - which is, after all, as we said earlier, the whole reasoning behind the various forms of "civil unions", "civil partnerships", or "PACS" created by law in several nations in the past few decades.
They may have evolved into more family-inspired units, for legal purposes, with rights of adoption, and even into "same-sex marriages", but the first step has always been to recognize mutual individual rights to what the law starts to view as a commonly-held estate, and other contribution-based rights - for instance, the right to "widow's pensions", which are after all also related to the proposition that the financial contributions to the public or private pension fund come from the common financial assets of the family unit. Once it is recognized that each individual in the "partnership" has individual rights to the estate and finances of the other, and their legal consequences, then obviously what is recognized is the very right of the "couple" to exist in Law. From this to a civil "homosexual marriage", it is merely a matter of degree, not of a founding jurisprudential basis - as it can be clearly seen in the ongoing legislative debates in Britain and France, in which "Civil Partnerships" or "PACS" have become the basis of wide parliamentary acceptance of the new definition of civil marriage and even of parenthood.
Unsurprisingly, the current Italian prime minister, Mario Monti - who also is running his campaign for reelection, and who has in his cabinet none other than Andrea Riccardi, the leader and founder of Sant'Egidio, the liberal and ecumenical movement of which Abp. Paglia is the closest clergy associate -, has chosen the past few days to make clear that he is in favor of homosexual civil unions. And why? Pay attention:
The matter of rights of gay couples continues to agitate the electoral campaign. Mario Monti has spoken in favor of the "strengthening of the civil rights of homosexual couples" and adds that there are "some [rights], but I would like more".
Finally, he goes on to take into consideration even "marriage and adoptions", even though "somewhat beyond now", both in time and "in the degree of sensitivity". (Avvenire, Feb. 7)
Coincidence? It seems that certain Vatican officials in fact know all too well how to engage with "the man of today": with sound bites perfect for media organizations and that simply cannot be taken back.