LISBON, Portugal (Zenit.org).- The bishops of Portugal are lamenting the intention of the nation’s president, Aníbal Cavaco Silva, to ratify a law that will legalize same-sex marriages.
The president made his announcement in a televised addressed where he said that even if he did veto the law, which was approved by the Parliament on Feb. 11, the legislative body would overturn it.
“I feel I should not contribute to a pointless extension of this debate, which would only serve to deepen the divisions,” he said.
For Portugal’s bishops, this is a “step backward” that “undermines the building of social cohesion,” stated a communiqué of a spokesman of the episcopal conference, Father Manuel Morujao.
Recalling Benedict XVI’s words at Fatima just last week, the note said the Pope urged Catholics to “safeguard the essential and first values of life, from its conception, and of the family, based on indissoluble marriage between one man and one woman,” because it is “one of the key factors for building the common good.”
“Given the grave crisis that the country is going through and the complex challenges that we must face, unity, not division, should be promoted among the Portuguese,” the text adds.
Finally, the communiqué also advocates “a strategy of commitment, and not of rupture.”
When signed into law, Portugal will be the sixth European country to allow same-sex “marriage,” after Belgium, Spain, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden.