Santiago de Cuba, 29 August 2018
I address these brief words to you, dear brothers priests, deaco, religious, religious and faithful of our Archdiocese of Santiago de Cuba. Also to all those who have approached us and those interested in knowing the Church’s thinking of marriage:
In Cuba we are immersed in the process of drafting a new Constitution of the Republic. Several of the planned steps have been completed: a working group drafted a Project that was presented, discussed and approved by the National Assembly. At present, we are at the stage of consulting the population on what is proposed so that, on the basis of the views expressed, we can amend the text to be adopted by the National Assembly next December and which will then be re-consulted in a referendum, so that it is approved or rejected by the people.
The Constitution is the fundamental law of a State that establishes the political organization of the same and the rights, duties and guarantees of citizens. Hence it reflects “essential and minimal principles and values, which means not covering and expressing in detail all areas of political, economic and social life”.1 A constitution is reformed when substantial changes need to be made. In the proposed new wording there are amendments in several aspects, including economics, the definition of citizenship, political organization of the State, rights, duties and guarantees of citizens.
It is precisely at this last point that a substantial change in the definition of marriage is introduced. Therefore, the new and unexpected, and the later scope that this topic can have is why I share these ideas with you. Instead of being defined as in the current Constitution: “the voluntary union of a man and a woman”, an expression that captures the feeling and wisdom of the people, a new definition is introduced: “the voluntarily arranged union between two persons with legal aptitude for it”. This change is what concerns many, because since the Constitution is a rule that establishes “Minimum Values and Principles”, complementary laws could subsequently be made that, for example, legalize marriage between two people of the same sex, are allowed to adopt children depriving them from the birth of having a parent, or changing educational content in school , media, cultural areas, to adapt them to this new proposal.
The other contents of the constitutional text have already been illuminated in one way or another in Church documents2 and each person must use, in conscience and responsibility, his or her capacity for judgment and the right to have an opinion to approve or reject the proposed, always seeking what would be best for the future of our people.
What do Christians think about marriage?
We have heard, expressed superficially and partially, that the refusal to define as marriage the union between two people of the same sex comes almost only from Christians, that is, from those of us who believe in God and manifest that Jesus Christ is the Way, truth, and Life. This expression is simplistic and false, for among those who reject this type of union are men and women, believers and non-believers, Christians and non-Christians, scientists and people with less preparation, from the countryside and from the city, civilians and military, adults and young people. It is a fan in which all our people are represented and it is natural that this is the case, because this position is supported by the experience, history and sciences that study the human being and his behavior.
The institution of marriage is as old as humanity, it is at the same origin of man and primitive forms of social organization. In the course of prehistory and the history of humanity and in different cultures there have been different ways of conceiving and performing marriage union but, in all, the two sexes, male and female, are present and related to each other. This is because the nature of marriage is coexistence and mutual help between spouses and the procreation and common education of children. This is how marriage has been conceived and lived in all cultures and peoples.
Human beings are sexed beings, male or female, each sex with their particularities and genetic, physical, biological and psychological differences, in such a way that they complement each other. This complementarity is expressed in a unique and unique way in marriage. Ignoring what has, by nature, been given to us or go against the laws and processes registered, even genetically, in our being always brings regrettable consequences, either immediately or over the years. Human beings are not only reason, feelings, desires, freedom without limits, ability to be excited; it is also matter, biology, genetics, that we have to count on and that conditions us. We cannot try to simplify this problem or want to ridicule, as has been done, those we think of in this way.
The data provided by experience and science are the heritage of believers and non-believers. We Christians add that we believe that in God there is the origin of all things and of mankind and that He created us sexed up. We put this as follows: “male and female created them” (Gen 1:27), neither is superior to the other, the two are equal in dignity and rights and are called to unite in such a way that they are no longer two but “one flesh” (Gen 2:24).
There are many other reasons that lead us to reject the definition of marriage as “the union of two people”. As we have said before, among them are the possible consequences that this would bring with them and that are already present, even if this is not discussed, in the few countries that have adopted such a definition:
1. the possibility of adopting in the future laws admitting marriage between two same-sex persons, as already expressed by some of those promoting this new definition;
2. subsequent authorisation for the adoption of children, since such a union cannot in itself be fruitful.
This would have the unfair consequence of depriving these children, from the very day of their birth, of having a parent; children not only need to be loved, but they also need a mom and dad. If we currently find that the absence of the father or mother in the home can create situations of instability in children, this will be greatly widened by same-sex marriage.
Parents are also concerned that educational content in school, cultural areas and the media will be modified to adapt it to this new proposal.
Do we realize the unnecessary cultural change this would bring about?
One of the reasons for this change is that justice must be done to people who live together and share their property and are not a marriage. If the dilemma is not to leave these people behind, legal means should be sought to protect those in such cases, but this should not be taken as an argument to change the definition of a natural institution such as marriage that has safeguarded the continuity of humanity over the centuries.
What advantage would it have, at the moment, to propose a change of this magnitude that generates at least reserve and when more firm rejection? It is false to claim that it is typical of a revolution to make changes like this, to break with traditions. The way to celebrate a marriage can be considered a tradition, but not the marriage itself. In the case of marriage this concept cannot be applied, since marriage union has always been between people of both sexes, male and female. This is not a tradition, but is a fact inherent in human nature.
We might ask ourselves: Where do these ideas so alien to our culture come from and come from? From countries where there are powerful groups with great economic capacity and influence. They use the growing process of globalization and try to influence to create a uniform culture that accepts and adopts their criteria by disqualifying others. It is what has sometimes been called “cultural imperialism” among us. International agencies have penetrated in such a way that many of these rich-country governments influence less developed countries in need of financial aid, funding groups related to their ideas and pressuring their governments to the point of often conditioning economic aid to implement policies like these. It’s a new ideological colonialism.
We are grateful that the theme of the family is generating so many exchanges, concerns and concerns, it is a sign of civic commitment. This also forces us to become aware of our responsibility in their care, growth and stability.
Wishing God’s blessing for you, your families, and for all our people. Ω
Msgr. Dionisio García Ibáñez
Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba
1 “Final Considerations” of “Introduction to the Analysis of the Draft Constitution of the Republic during the Popular Consultation”, in tabloid Draft Constitution of the Republic of Cuba [Havana], printed in Federico Engels Graphic Arts Company , p. 4.
2 See the compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.