Pope criticizes Canadians over gays and abortion

Troy Espera | September 11, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI
ROME — Pope Benedict XVI singled out Canadian Catholic politicians visiting The Vatican on Friday, urging them not to be swayed by opinion polls and social trends into supporting practices such as abortion and the "folly" of gay marriage.

"In the name of �tolerance' your country has had to endure the folly of the redefinition of spouse, and in the name of �freedom of choice' it is confronted with the daily destruction of unborn children," the Pope said, reports Reuters. "When the Creator's divine plan is ignored the truth of human nature is lost."

Canada legalized gay marriage last year but its parliament will hold a vote later this year on whether to start the process of scrapping the law, which is opposed by conservatives.

Since his election last year, the Pope has often condemned gay marriage and last June a Vatican document called it one sign of "the eclipse of God" in modern times.

Gilles Marchildon, executive director of EGALE Canada, a same-sex rights group that pushed hard for the marriage law, told Canada�s National Post Fridayday he was not overly surprised by the Pope's latest comment, since he has expressed his opposition before.

Marchildon told The Post that it is hard to tell how his remarks might influence the next round of the parliamentary debate.

"Most politicians are able to be objective and while being informed by their faith, are not shackled by it," he said.

According to Reuters, the Pope also touched on the highly sensitive issue of whether Catholic politicians can back legislation allowing practices such as gay marriage and abortion even if they are personally opposed to them.

The Pope condemned such behavior by politicians as "false dichotomies".

"They are particularly damaging when Christian civic leaders sacrifice the unity of faith and sanction the disintegration of reason and the principles of natural ethics, by yielding to ephemeral social trends and the spurious demands of opinion polls," said the Pope, Reuters reports. "Democracy succeeds only to the extent that it is based on truth and a correct understanding of the human person. Catholic involvement in political life cannot compromise on this principle...�

Neil McCarthy, director of public relations for the Archdiocese of Toronto, explained to The Post that Benedict XVI's latest foray into the gay marriage debate came directly in response to issues the visiting Ontario bishops would have raised.

He told The Post that Catholic bishops from Quebec and the Atlantic provinces also made visited to the Vatican this year, eliciting a response from the Pope on other matters of concern in Canada, such as unemployment and declining church attendance among young people. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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