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Rocca writes: "Appealing to the traditional values of Filipino Catholic families, Pope Francis made one of his strongest calls as pope against movements to recognize same-sex unions as marriage."

Pope Francis in Manila, Philippines. (photo: AFP)
Pope Francis in Manila, Philippines. (photo: AFP)

Pope Makes Anti-Gay Marriage Comments in Philippines

By Francis X. Rocca, Catholic News

17 January 15


ppealing to the traditional values of Filipino Catholic families, Pope Francis made one of his strongest calls as pope against movements to recognize same-sex unions as marriage.

"The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage," the pope said Jan. 16, hours after warning that Philippine society was "tempted by confusing presentations of sexuality, marriage and the family."

"As you know, these realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God's plan for creation and betray the very values which have inspired and shaped all that is best in your culture," he said.

Pope Francis made his remarks at a Mass in Manila's cathedral and then at a meeting with families in the city's Mall of Asia Arena.

At the latter event, the pope called on his listeners to resist "ideological colonization that threatens the family." The Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said later that the pope was referring to same-sex marriage, among other practices.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, who was present at the reporters' briefing, cited claims by African bishops that foreign aid to their countries is sometimes offered on the condition that they accept "alien" views of sexuality and marriage.

Civil law in the Philippines does not recognize marriages or unions between people of the same sex.

The pope's comments came less than a week after a speech to Vatican diplomats in which he criticized "legislation which benefits various forms of cohabitation rather than adequately supporting the family for the welfare of society as a whole," saying that such legislation had contributed to a widespread sense of the family as "disposable."

In November, Pope Francis told an interreligious conference on traditional marriage that preserving the family as an institution based on marriage between a man and a woman is not a political cause but a matter of "human ecology," since "children have the right to grow up in a family with a father and mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child's development and emotional maturity."

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, then-Cardinal Jose Maria Bergoglio opposed same-sex marriage in Argentina, calling it an "anti-value and an anthropological regression" and "destructive of the plan of God," and writing that it expressed the "envy of the devil." But he did not repeat such statements following his election as pope.

When asked why he had not spoken about Brazil's legalization of abortion and same-sex marriage during his July 2013 trip to the country, the pope said the "church has already spoken quite clearly on this. It was unnecessary to return to it."

In an interview published in September 2013, Pope Francis told Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro: "We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time."

The pope's latest statements come during a year of preparation for the October 2015 world Synod of Bishops on the family, following an October 2014 extraordinary synod on the same topic.

At the earlier gathering, a midterm report stirred controversy with remarkably conciliatory language toward people with ways of life contrary to Catholic teaching, including those in same-sex unions. While such unions present unspecified "moral problems," the document stated, they can exemplify "mutual aid to the point of sacrifice (that) constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners."

That language was absent from the final report, which quoted a 2003 document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: "There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family."

In a December interview with Argentine journalist Elisabetta Pique, Pope Francis described the midterm report as "merely a first draft," and said it had mentioned "positive factors" of same-sex unions in an effort to help families support their gay members.

"Nobody mentioned homosexual marriage at the synod; it did not cross our minds," the pope said. your social media marketing partner


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+11 # Thomas Martin 2015-01-17 23:44
As inspirational and realistic as the Pope has been in many of his actions and statements, this is regrettable and sad to hear.
+6 # chomper2 2015-01-18 00:26
I wanted to puke about the third time this article mentioned "God's plan". When will these old (mostly) white men of the church ever admit that their predecessors invented God, so that they could have someone to blame for their own distorted views about the likes of family, sex (other than perversion) and community, subjects as unfamiliar to them as a bicycle to a salamander.
+12 # futhark 2015-01-18 00:28
People need to be conscious of the distinction between marriage as a legal contract of mutual support between two persons and the "sacrament" of marriage, a recognition of special ties between two persons within the context of a religious community. If a particular religious community wants to restrict their sacramental marriage, I suppose that is their business. However, such a community should have no special regulatory power over what the community decides to sanction in a legal sense as marriage within the context of society as a whole.
+3 # Kootenay Coyote 2015-01-18 09:32
Marriage is a rite, it is not a sacrament.
+2 # j2hess 2015-01-18 22:03
In the Catholic Church, it is a sacrament.
+10 # Rockster 2015-01-18 03:02
Futhark has it essentially right. It's important to get the state out of " religious morals" and to keep the churches out governing. That's what Jefferson, Franklin. Adams, etc meant in separating church and state. No National State Religion-- no Church of England!!
+3 # RCW 2015-01-18 06:37
Futhark: That is the distinction between civil union and marriage.
+1 # Bruce-Man-Do 2015-01-18 07:09
Quoting RCW:
Futhark: That is the distinction between civil union and marriage.

I don't think it's that simple, RCW. At least in the US, deciding and defining what is a "marriage" is also a state function. "Civil union" does not equate to "marriage" for lots of benefits that have nothing to do with religious belief systems, or at least ought not!
+2 # vt143 2015-01-18 07:07
Don't let Scalia see this!!
0 # davidh7426 2015-01-18 11:32
Is it just me, or is the Pope-mobile looking a little Pinkish in that photo.

An odd coincidence perhaps, coming at the time of these comments !!!
+2 # chomper2 2015-01-18 12:28
Naw, that's light purple, like in Jerry Falwell's purple Teletubby, which he made into a symbol of the gay rights community..
+2 # jwb110 2015-01-18 12:26
The majority of same sex unions are civil ceremonies. No GLBT people that I know, I have spent a lifetime in the theater and know a great many of that community, look to other churches should they decide that is the sort of ceremony that want. Some Episcopalian churches will perform these ceremonies.
GLBT people know that the Catholic church is a party to which they have not been invited. They know they are not wanted in the Catholic Church in context of civil unions that recognize them as married and accorded the same right and privileges as other married couples.
Any marriage is really a property contract. This allows a spouse to share in that property and have access to their partner. I wish people would understand this but the Rad-Right whips up hate calling same sex marriage a God given right. This is a issue that happens outside that purview.
As for the Pope's position on this issue, he is allowed to dictate to his flock the official Church position. What he should not be allowed to do is to make this an issue outside of Catholic Doctrine. Clarity in addressing this should be made clear that this only a Catholic Church position.
I wonder is willing to physically adopt the sizable number of children with AIDS that member of the Gay Community do adopt and house them in the Vatican. Taking care of ones own makes families.
0 # j2hess 2015-01-18 22:07
People sometimes hear what they want to hear. This is Francis' consistent position. He wants a more balanced focus that supports ministering to all us sinners, not dividing us into accepatable and unacceptable; he is not proposing to change the boundaries of sin.

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