A Spanish archbishop has stated that the Gospel “never condemns” families with same-gender couples as members.
Commemorating the Feast of the Holy Family on December 29, 2020, Archbishop Joan Planellas of Tarragona, Spain, published an article in prominent publication La Vanguardia that calls attention to the goodness of families with same-gender couples. Planellas notes that “the Gospel never condemns”these families, part of his larger message about diversity and strength in family life.
As reported in translation by Mada Jurato of Novena News, Planellas focused on providing respect for same-gender families as one type of family that deserves pastoral care and attention. He writes:
“Today the family structure has ceased to be limited to what we understood as a nuclear family, composed of parents and children, to give way to a diversity of forms that range from living together between men and women without marriage certificates (de facto couples), the single parent family, couples with different homes for husband and wife or families between people of the same sex with legal recognition.”
While the inclusion of same-gender couples in this list indicates a recognition of the changing definition of ‘family’ in the Catholic Church, the reporter feels that the archbishop does not believe “that the family as such is in danger of disappearing, but simply that a certain family model is no longer accepted by a significant number of members of our society.”
Rather than sharing an alarmist, traditionalist viewpoint regarding the loss of a solely heterosexual family structure, Planellas seems secure that ‘the future of the family seems assured.’ He writes:
“The family is and will be the framework where the human being carries out [their] first and fundamental experiences, the laboratory where humans live the creative and humanizing possibilities of our species.”
From this, it is clear in Jurato’s interpretation that the church’s role in supporting families can only be successful if the institution remembers a “call to live, love, and give oneself with all the magnanimity, delicacy and stringency that implies.” Above all, every family structure requires a grounding in love and giving for all members.
Planellas closes his message with the acknowledgement that “there is no perfect family…the Gospel never condemns, but assumes, encourages and corrects, in order to grow in the one Spirit. This is how the Gospel saves not only people, but also human groups, and especially the family.”
With a circulation of nearly 200,000 and a broad online presence, La Vanguardia is the leading daily periodical in Spain’s Catalonia province. With Planellas’ prominent position in the church, his words will surely have a significant impact on many families in his archdiocese and possibly throughout Spain. We hope that LGBTQ+ families will find affirmation in his words and that parishes throughout the majority-Catholic country will adopt practices of welcome and inclusion on a regular basis.
—Catherine Buck, New Ways Ministry, January 15, 2020