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Pope attacks global gay marriages trend


December 29, 2003

VATICAN CITY — Pressing his campaign against gay unions, Pope John Paul II lamented Sunday what he called the "misunderstood" sense of rights that was altering the true sense of marriage and family these days.

In his traditional Sunday greeting, John Paul called for increased support from all those who believe "in the importance of the family based on matrimony," which he said was a "human and divine" gift that should be defended by society.

The Vatican defines matrimony as a divine union between man and woman, and in July it launched a global campaign to stem the tide of widening legal recognition for same-sex marriages.

A document from the Vatican's orthodoxy watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said Catholic politicians had a "moral duty" to oppose laws granting legal rights to gay couples, and that non-Catholics should follow their lead since the issue concerns "natural moral law."

John Paul raised the issue Sunday, noting that Christmas was a time to remember the "holy family" of Mary, Joseph and Jesus, whose birth is celebrated by the church on Dec. 25.

"In our times, a misunderstood sense of rights has sometimes disturbed the nature of the family institution and conjugal bond itself," John Paul said. "It is necessary that at every level, the efforts of those who believe in the importance of the family based on matrimony unite."

Marriage, he added, "concerns a human and divine reality that is defended and promoted as a fundamental good of society."

John Paul has been a staunch promoter of the institution of marriage, as well as of the family. He strongly opposes abortion as well as artificial birth control.

The Vatican's opposition to condoms recently came under renewed fire after a top cardinal, Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, said condoms don't protect against AIDS. The U.N. World Health Organization, among other groups, called his comments "dangerous" and "totally wrong."

The Vatican maintains that chastity is the best method of HIV prevention. –Sapa-AP


Related stories
Boston Archbishop discusses gay marriage, closure of churches
US catholics consider statement condemning same-sex unions
Canada's Catholics call for campaign agaist same-sex marriage

 

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