“We really have to continue to define marriage as we’ve defined marriage for thousands of years - as a union between a man and a woman,” said the cardinal, insisting that the U.S. law maintain the current definition of marriage.
“Now, I think the legislation as it is proposed would not throw out the possibility of a civil union. And I think…we can live with that if this is what…the Constitution will provide for,” he continued.
“But to say that you can take this concept of marriage, this word marriage, and use it in ways that it has never been used before, as far as I know, in the history of the world, I think that makes no sense,” he said.
“I think basically the ideal would be that everybody was able to enter a union with a man and a woman and bring children into the world and have the wonderful relationship of man and wife that is so mutually supportive and is really so much part of our society and what keeps our society together. That’s the ideal,” he clarified.
“If you can’t meet that ideal, if there are people who for on reason or another just cannot do that or feel they cannot do that, then in order to protect their right to take care of each other, in order to take care of their right to have visitation in a hospital or something like that, I think that you could allow, not the ideal, but you could allow for that for a civil union," he stated.
“But if you begin to fool around with the whole nature of marriage, then you’re doing something which affects the whole culture and denigrates what is so important for us,” he continued. “Marriage is the basic foundation of our family structure. And if we lose that, then I think we become a society that’s in real trouble.”
The cardinal also commented briefly on pending immigration reform and supported his brother-archbishop in Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, in his message to priests and other pastoral workers not to refuse people who approach them for help, regardless of their legal status in the country.
Cardinal McCarrick will be retiring this summer. He had submitted his resignation last July, when he turned 75, according to canon law. The Pope only approved his resignation this year and appointed Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh to succeed him.
“I think he’s a great teacher. He’s a man of the center. He’s articulate. He’s courageous. The people are going to love him, and he’s going to love the people,” the cardinal said of Bishop Wuerl. “This is going to be the golden age of the archdiocese.”
.- In a Wednesday night interview with Wolf Blitzer, on CNN’s The Situation Room, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick said he is opposed to same-sex marriage but not opposed to same-sex civil unions if they can “protect [people’s] right to take care of each other.”