Thursday, January 03, 2013

Pope warns David Cameron on gay marriage 'damage to family' in New Year message

The Pope on Monday gave a public warning to David Cameron that his plans for same-sex marriage will undermine the family.

Pope Benedict XVI’s New Year’s Day message warned that the Coalition’s reforms will reduce the status of marriage and harm the families that are built around it. He said that such moves by politicians are ‘an offence against the truth of the human person’.

In a message aimed at the Prime Minister – who is not named – the Pope added that the cause of preserving the institution should be supported by everyone concerned about the family, whether or not they are Christian.

The Pope warned there is ‘a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union’. 

He went further: ‘Such attempts actually harm and help to destabilise marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society. No one should ignore or underestimate the decisive role of the family, which is the basic cell of society.’ 

The Coalition’s plans are intended to permit same-sex couples to stage weddings in churches or at civil ceremonies. 

The tough line from the Vatican adds to strongly-worded objections voiced in recent days by Roman Catholic leaders in Britain, including the Bishop of Shrewsbury the Right Reverend Mark Davies and the Catholic leader in England and Wales Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols.

The Pope’s message is addressed to heads of state world-wide, but its line on same-sex marriage is intended to add to the weight of criticism against Mr Cameron’s plans in Britain.

It said principles behind marriage ‘are common to all humanity’ and ‘the Church’s efforts to promote them are... addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation’. 

It added: ‘Efforts of this kind are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person.’

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