What the Pope really said, in part, was
I ask your prayer for all families, that they will live in accordance with their God-given vocation and benefit from just governmental policies that safeguard their fundamental role in societySo far, so good, actually. Certainly, this doesn't rule out the possibility of covenantal marriages between partners of the same sex.
But this is Joseph Ratzinger, so we'd better not jump to conclusions. He also said,
marital union [is] between a man and a woman according to the plans of the creatorand
If we are to encourage the family, help it fulfill its commitments, we must work for social cohesion and, above all, respect its rights which cannot be dissolved by other kinds of unions that seek to replace it.
Oh, just knock it off. The Pope may be reactionary and a pain in the nether regions, but he's not stupid. He sees that that's not an argument that makes any sense. I've read nothing about gay marriage that says that the goal is to replace marriage between two people of different genders. All anyone wants is a broader definition of covenant. Moreover, look at that last sentence. Is he really claiming that my rights as a married person would be somehow diminished or even eliminated (he says "dissolved") by sharing the marital definition with people who do it differently?
So this covenant that no one's arguing that my partner and I have -this covenant that involves God, if one believes the church's understanding of covenant- is so fragile that broadening the definition of who's included would destroy it? That's a very weak God. Or a very uninvolved one, I suppose.
The internally consistent argument that they could -and do- make is that neither the couple nor society is the author of marriage. God is. And we fully understand and comply with what God said about it. I'm with them right up to the last bit. That's not how revelation works. We understand God's revealed intentions for us as we are capable. We gain more understanding with maturity and through grace. Seriously, what precludes the possibility that we didn't get it right when we said that marriage was exclusively between a man and a woman? It seemed reasonable at the time, perhaps, but now we know more. Let's celebrate that and move on.
What am I missing here?