The article published by Italian daily La Repubblica, from which the several translations were made available, includes the following declarations by the President of the Pontifical Council of the Family, Abp. Vincenzo Paglia, a bishop closely linked to the Community of Sant'Egidio (original in Italian):
Vatican City - "No to gay marriage, but yes to the recognition of the rights for de facto and homossexual couples, according to the Civil Code ...". In the Catholic Church, revolution is sensed in the air in family and gay rights issues. The spokesman of this has surprisingly been Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, new president of the Pontifical Council for the family, at the presentation of the acts of the International Meeting on the Family, that took place in Milan last May. ... [Rorate note: Paglia's declarations to La Repubblica, and other media sources, were made following this media event held in the Vatican yesterday]The "no" of the Church to gay marriage - Paglia says - is not a religious fact: "The Italian Constitution speaks very clearly, but even before it was Roman law that established what marriage was." ... But this does not mean - the prelate admits - that the rights of de facto couples, even gay ones, should not be recognized. In fact, "it is time that legislators concern themselves with it."Paglia recognizes, moreover, that "non-familial gatherings" are "varied", and he assures the the Church is favorable "that, in this perspective, solutions of private law and patrimonial perspectives within the current Civil Code be found". ... It is also important to keep watch - Paglia warns - on the discrimination of homossexual persons throughout thw world: "Homossexuality is still prosecuted as a crime in over twenty countries"....The president of [Italian advocacy group] Gaynet, Franco Grillini, declares... that "for the first time a high prelate recognizes that the rights of homosexual couples also exist, and that there are many countries in the world where homosexuality is criminalized".
Paglia's words are pretty amazing - and an amazing contradiction of the words of the Pope himself, as recently as his December 2012 Christmas address. Pope Benedict XVI, in continuity with all Catholic Tradition, has always been opposed to granting rights that are proper to married couples to other unions - also because, as it is well-known throughout the West, this is always just a first step in the legal destruction of any meaning of marriage. Quite early in his pontificate he made it as clear as he could:
It is a serious error to obscure the value and roles of the legitimate family founded on marriage by attributing legal recognition to other improper forms of union for which there is really no effective social need. (Address, January 12, 2006)
The division in the very top of the Catholic hierarchy, the clear disobedience in the heart of the Roman Curia, is becoming untenable... And certain bishops have the gall of calling a relatively small group of Traditional priests in irregular canonical situation divisive!