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Pope Stresses Family Values as Gay Marriage Gains

by Nicole Winfield
Friday Dec 21, 2012

The pope pressed his opposition to gay marriage Friday, denouncing what he described as people manipulating their God-given identities to suit their sexual choices - and destroying the very "essence of the human creature" in the process.

Benedict XVI made the comments in his annual Christmas address to the Vatican bureaucracy, one of his most important speeches of the year. He dedicated it this year to promoting traditional family values in the face of vocal campaigns in France, the United States, Britain and elsewhere to legalize same-sex marriage.

In his remarks, Benedict quoted the chief rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, in saying the campaign for granting gays the right to marry and adopt children was an "attack" on the traditional family made up of a father, mother and children.

"People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given to them by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being," he said. "They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves."

"The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man's fundamental choice where he himself is concerned," he said.

It was the second time in a week that Benedict has taken on the question of gay marriage, which is dividing France, and which scored big electoral wins in the United States last month. In his recently released annual peace message, Benedict said gay marriage, like abortion and euthanasia, was a threat to world peace.

After the peace message was released last week, gay activists staged a small protest in St. Peter's Square.

Church teaching holds that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered," though it stresses that gays should be treated with compassion and dignity. As pope and as head of the Vatican's orthodoxy watchdog before that, Benedict has been a strong enforcer of that teaching: One of the first major documents released during his pontificate said men with "deep-seated" homosexual tendencies shouldn't be ordained priests.

For the Vatican, though, the gay marriage issue goes beyond questions of homosexuality, threatening what the church considers to be the bedrock of society: a family based on a man, woman and their children.

In his speech, the pope cited Bernheim as lamenting how a new "philosophy of sexuality" has taken hold, whereby sex and gender are "no longer a given element of nature that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society."

He said God had created man and woman as a specific "duality" - "an essential aspect of what being human is all about."

Now, though, "Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his own nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will."

The Vatican's opposition to gay marriage has been falling largely on deaf ears. Under then-Socialist leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the largely Roman Catholic Spain legalized gay marriage. Three U.S. states approved same-sex marriage by popular vote in November elections. Earlier this month, the British government announced it will introduce a bill next year legalizing gay marriage, though it would ban the Church of England from conducting same-sex ceremonies.

In France, President Francois Hollande has said he would enact his "marriage for everyone" plan within a year of taking office last May. The text will go to parliament next month. But the country has been divided by vocal opposition from religious leaders, prime among them Bernheim, as well as some politicians and parts of rural France.

The Socialist government's plan also envisions legalizing same-sex adoptions. Benedict quoted Bernheim as denouncing the plan, saying that it would mean a child would essentially be considered an object people have a right to obtain.

"When freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God," Benedict said.

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


  • , 2012-12-21 10:20:30

    How sad it is to hear the pope speak those words. Many faithful Catholics will continue to leave flock.

  • sjenner, 2012-12-21 10:25:22

    To cut through all the verbiage, Rome has devolved to the opinion that homosexuality is a choice, in defiance of God and the order of Creation. So much for the grand experiment of Vatican II and the Body of Christ as something more than the rows of the perfectly conforming.

  • Unbreakable1, 2012-12-21 18:00:09

    The Pope in his arrogance is trying to force his religious beliefs on world. Not everyone believes in his God or a god at all. Marriage is a legal contract between consenting adults. No where is it written that the parties involved have to be believers in God (Jesus Christ). If that were the case people would not be able to get married by the Justice of the Peace.

  • BlondieSL, 2012-12-21 20:32:45

    Pope & religion in general = tired; outdated; manipulative; HYPOCRITICAL godless idiots clinging to lies that were written many years ago by other hypothetical zionists. SERIOUSLY, they just make me want to vomit. You want to talk vile? It’s religion that is the most vile collection of control freaks in existence.

  • cc, 2012-12-21 22:00:52

    This little Nazi is so full of BS. He has never been married but can tell het couples how to live. He has never been gay (I think) but he thinks he knows how we feel. What an ass wipe.

  • Bob K, 2012-12-22 01:36:59

    Can I finally convinced all clear people and their relatives were still going to this church giving money and not shouting at the priest that they are just plain traitors

  • , 2012-12-22 11:23:26

    Read the book "Sex at Dawn" - we are not "naturally" exclusive monotheistic creatures. Many bible characters are bigamous. The Pope should have someone read him some bible bed time stories. He obviously has forgotten many of them.

  • , 2012-12-22 11:46:25

    Ever since free thinking became a novel concept in the Renaissance the Catholic Church has used whatever scare tactics in can use to exert any useless powers it still has.

  • WayGay, 2012-12-22 20:24:08

    Remind me which catholic family value allows their priests to molest altarboys and then cover it up?

  • Caleb Burgess, 2012-12-23 16:01:35

    Can someone explain to me when rome the ancient home of idelology feel so low? There use be anything u wanted in rome... gay lez straight even mass orgies.... an it was a better city then rome is now

  • BlondieSL, 2012-12-23 18:36:52

    It isn’t Gay marriage that is the threat to world peace. It’s these homophobic religions that are the threat! And some have said that Gay men will ruin the fabric of our society. SERIOUSLY, no Gay man ruins fabric. GEEZE! Hehehe :)

  • wizbang_fl, 2012-12-23 21:49:05

    Most organized religion is many times designed to divide not to include. I’ve heard the "Well if your a blah blah blah your gonna burn" as an enticement to join their congregation. Any religion that has to say that were right and they aren’t is under the believe that they are perfect in their beliefs and those who came up with them were also perfect. Really!? Wish they would all have a meeting with their maker and get a clue.

  • , 2012-12-23 22:44:52

    Who better to preach about traditional marriage than an old dude who has never been with a woman let alone married to one.

  • BlondieSL, 2012-12-24 07:03:40

    I just realized. It just had to be a Gay man that made the pope’s lovely gown. Some men like to be bound and gagged. Others like to be gowned and bagged. :) Just say’n.

  • Wayne M., 2012-12-26 22:58:29

    I do not deny the Pope believes in family values and the traditional family. However, I have news for him. So do Lesbians and Gay men who are campaigning for marriage equality. What the Pope needs to learn is that you cannot protect traditional heterosexual families and marriage by denying marriage and family rights to same-sex couples. In fact, a great deal of harm is caused by Lesbians and Gay men who enter heterosexual marriage just to be "respectable" or to follow arbitrary church laws set by men (and not by God as they pretend). Given that the Pope and most Roman Catholic hierarchy and priests have never been married and have no children they will admit to having, they are hardly to be considered as experts on true family values.

  • frankie, 2012-12-28 18:10:37

    This man is rediculouse in a dress and all I’m sorry but we get agravated with middle east traditions why not this fool in a dress omg

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