1. This document is located in the Edgard Leuenroth Archive, University of
Campinas, henceforth referred to as ael/uniCamp.
2. Pontifical Council for the Family, “Family, Marriage, and ‘De Facto Unions,’”
26 July 2000, www.cin.org.
3. John Norton, “Vatican Says Sex Reassignment Service Does Not Change a
Person’s Gender,” Catholic News Service, 14 January 2003; Currah 2006.
4. Oﬃces of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Considerations
Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual
Persons,” 31 July 2003, www.vatican.va.
5. Rocio Sánchez, “Fox apuesta por la defensa de la ‘familia natural,’” No-
tiese, 22 March 2004, www.notiese.org; Mario Reyes, “El Congreso Mundial de
Familias discrimina y viola derechos humanos: onGs,” Notiese (Mexico City), 31
6. The notion of traditions as constructed implies a process of selection
and generalization of certain symbolic practices that are reified and linked to
totalizing accounts of nation or community in response to very present needs
(Hobsbawm 2003). Chatterjee (1993, 1998) justifiably warns against falling into
the problematic modern vs. traditional dichotomy that characterized postwar
modernization theory, suggesting that what is really at stake in these disputes
are competing modernities. In this respect, appeals to community and tradition
do not always represent a rejection of liberalism tout court but rather constitute
a mechanism of selection for actors, variably filtering its political and economic
prescriptions. Against the backdrop of the evolving global culture posited by
world polity theorists, moreover, religious activists in many countries are in-
creasingly relying on what the sociologist Juan Marco Vaggione (2005) has called
“strategic secularism.” This move implies a turn away from appeals to particular-
ist constructions of religious or even national tradition and toward universalist
frames such as human rights or scientific discourses, for instance, purporting to
prove that life begins at conception scientifically. For reasons I explore in this