(QCOSTARICA) “We have to be tolerant, we live in an open society. We live our faith, we deepen our faith; But we are glad that there are different types of human relationships, different family paths and I think that there, where there is a manifestation of affection and family in some way, there God manifests himself, and we have to favor Him.”
These words are part of a brief comment that the Bishop of Alajuela, Monsignor Bartolomé Buigues Oller, made while celebrating Mass on Monday, few hours before the first equality marriage took place in Costa Rica.
However, a day later, the bishop took another moment during the celebration of the Eucharist to “clarify his thoughts” on this issue and express his “total adherence” to the Catholic Church’s doctrine on marriage and family.
In his first comment, the prelate spoke for almost two minutes about “two important event” that would take place on Tuesday, May 26: the second anniversary of his ordination as bishop and equality marriage.
“It is two years since the Lord gave me this grace to consecrate myself to Him in this episcopal ministry, a very great mission and responsibility,” began the prelate.
Later, with a conciliatory tone, the Monsignor added: “And as everyone knows, tomorrow (May 26) equal marriage will come into force, which is a relevant event in our country. There will be demonstrations of all kinds. For us (the Catholic Church), marriage is the union between man and woman, but we are glad that other couples also have civil rights. How can we be angry that other people who also have some kind of life in common have civil rights?”
On Monday, the Bishop advocated tolerance and respect and made a request to the Catholic faithful. “Do not stop announcing or witnessing our faith and, ultimately, what we believe: of the human condition according to God and of marriage and the family according to God.”
Adherence to church doctrine
A day later, on Tuesday, after the public ceremony of the two women tying the knot minutes after same-sex marriage became legal, and reports of many more same-sex couples doing the same, during the Eucharist, Monsignor Buigues made a second comment on the subject, to clarify his thoughts
“I reaffirm the beauty of marriage that springs from our faith as the union between men and women, according to the design of God from creation, who shaped us in his image and likeness for the encounter in complementarity and reciprocity, open to life, forever as eternal is love.
“The marriage that gives rise to the family, a beautiful image of the love of the Trinitarian God, an area of growth for all its members immersed in bonds of love, is the lifestyle that has forged our identity and culture as a people, and that we must promote and always care as a basis for a harmonious and prosperous social experience.
“Today more than ever as believers, we have to bear witness to that beauty of sacramental marriage and its force of good in us. My total adherence, therefore, to the Church’s doctrine on marriage and the family,” he said.
On the other hand, he argued that the civil recognition of other unions such as egalitarian marriage, “creates confusion and questions the pillars on which our experience on marriage and the family that feeds on faith has been based on so far.”
In this sense, he pointed out that it must be clearly stated that sacramental marriage and equal marriage are two different realities.
“As, in fact, these other unions have been recognized by our legislation, I have an inclusive view of them, far from any discrimination. And I hope that with their experience they will also provide ties of affection, care and protection to our society.
“From my closeness as a pastor in the diocese of Alajuela, I understand his joy at this step and I promise to accompany, at least believers, in this situation so that they seek to respond to the Lord from their personal reality,” the Bishop concluded.
In a press release released hours after the ruling of the Inter‑American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in 2018, the Catholic Church reaffirmed is position on equal marriage: “The Church cannot renounce her mission to continue presenting the Word of God as it has been revealed; and urges all Christians to continue living according to God’s Plan for the Family and the human being: male and female; all of this within the framework of the Law and absolute respect for every person,” he said at that time
“It is clear that, in the natural order of things, that basic cell family of society is founded on monogamous and heterosexual marriage, from whose conjugal love children are generated and for this, it deserves the protection of the State.”
The Church also stated: “We recognize that in a democratic and pluralistic society, such as ours, legal recognition can be given to people of the same sex who live together, but it would be unfair if such recognition were to equalize the union of people of the same sex with that of marriage ”