Pope Francis declares union between man and woman ‘at root of marriage’ in blow to gay rights
Last month the Pope warned Catholics not to fear change following an angry synod backlash against a softening of the Church’s stance towards homosexuality.
But in his address at the opening of a three-day conference on traditional marriage hosted at the Vatican yesterday, Francis called family “an anthropological fact… that cannot be qualified based on ideological notions or concepts important only at one time in history”.
The Humanum conference invites people of different religions to come together and celebrate “complementarity between man and woman in marriage” – the idea that men and women have different but complementary roles that they say are essential to building a strong family.
And though he did not refer to gay unions directly, the Pope said: “It is fitting that you have gathered here to explore the complementarity of man and woman. This complementarity is at the root of marriage and family.”
Francis said: “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.
“Today marriage and the family are in crisis,” he continued. “We now live in a culture of the temporary, in which more and more people are simply giving up on marriage as a public commitment.
“The revolution in mores and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.”
Pope Francis’s comments were interpreted by those in the audience as a declaration in support of traditional marriage. Russell Moore of the US’s Southern Baptist Convention said: “Pope Francis made clear that male/female complementarity is essential to marriage and cannot be revised by contemporary ideologies.”
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