The president of the Pontifical Council for the Family said his defense of the dignity of homosexual persons and their individual rights was misinterpreted, perhaps intentionally, reports the Catholic News Service.
"It is one thing to verify whether in existing laws one can find norms that would safeguard individual rights. It's another thing to approve certain expectations," Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, council president (pictured), told Vatican Radio on February 6.
At a Vatican news conference on February 4, Archbishop Paglia had insisted that only a lifelong union of a man and a woman could be termed a marriage.
The archbishop also said the church's affirmation of the full dignity of all human beings led him to oppose laws that outlaw homosexuality. In addition, he said that "to promote justice and to protect the weak," greater efforts were needed to ensure legal protection and inheritance rights for people living together, though not married. "But do not call it marriage," he said.
His remarks from the news conference were reported around the world under headlines such as "Vatican recognises the rights of gay couples."
"Obviously, I was very surprised by how some media reported" those comments, he told Vatican Radio. "Not only were my words not understood," he said, "they were derailed, perhaps even knowingly."
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