The Vatican chose the last day of July to release a major statement on the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching about homosexual marriage [See the document]. Guess what? The Church is against it. The document, entitled “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons,” was released by the Congregation for the Defense of the Faith, and carries the full authority of the Roman magisterium and the approval of Pope John Paul II.

“There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family,” the document states, leaving no room for doubt about the Church’s position. “Homosexual unions are totally lacking in the biological and anthropological elements of marriage and family which would be the basis, on the level of reason, for granting them legal recognition.”

This conviction is deeply rooted in Catholic moral tradition and anyone surprised by this must be totally ignorant of Catholic theology and moral reasoning. Count me as one evangelical Christian who is embarrassed that the Roman Catholic Church is so much bolder in this issue than many conservative Protestant denominations.

The real controversy in this case is not that the Catholic magisterium has released a statement against homosexual unions. The outrage is over the section addressed specifically to Catholic lawmakers. “If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a special way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians,” the Vatican declared. Pay special attention to the following language: “When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.”

Gravely immoral! Hats off to the Vatican for the courage to call Catholic politicians to account for their Catholicism. But not all are pleased, of course. Marianne Duddy, who leads “Dignity USA,” a group of liberal Catholics advocating for the homosexual agenda, found the Vatican’s document “infuriating.” “It is very inappropriate for the Vatican to impose its own moral viewpoint on legislators, who operate in a democracy founded on a separation of church and state,” she fumed–no doubt on her way to lobby legislators and impose her own moral viewpoint.

Of course, the Vatican addressed its teaching to Catholic politicians, not to national governments. It spoke of the responsibility of Catholics, who run for office seeking Catholic votes, to actually vote as Catholics on the great moral issues of the day That’s just too much for the Catholic left. Liberal Catholic and Protestant politicians shout “separation of church and state” when their votes don’t match the convictions of their churches. It’s time for churches to call their wayward lawmakers to task, and remind politician/church members that the church has a responsibility to remove from its own membership those who reject church doctrine and betray the Gospel. Now, that would be real news.