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Catholic Church moves against gay marriage proposals

The Pope has denounced the “powerful” US gay marriage lobby, while Catholics in Britain have been urged to defend heterosexual unions.

Pope Benedict at the Vatican this week
Pope Benedict at the Vatican this week
Image: Alessandra Tarantino/AP/Press Association Images

POPE BENEDICT XVI has urged Catholic bishops to defend traditional ideas of marriage, denouncing the “powerful” gay marriage lobby in the US and insisting that couples living together out of wedlock are a threat to society.

Benedict told a group of US bishops at the Vatican that there was an urgent need for Catholics in America to discover the value of chastity – an essential element of Christian teaching that he said had been subject to unjust “ridicule.”

Eight US states have legalised gay marriage so far.

His comments came as Catholics in England and Wales were urged to defend the institution of heterosexual marriage against planned UK legislation creating greater equality for same-sex partnerships.

In comments apparently referring to advocates of gay marriage rights, Benedict told bishops to not back down in the face of “powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage.”

“Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage,” he said.

Benedict also said that couples living together outside of marriage was “gravely sinful, not to mention damaging to the stability of society.”

‘No unjust discrimination’

At services tomorrow, Catholics across England and Wales will hear a letter from Archbishop Vincent Nichols, defending current laws which allow gay couples only to enter civil partnerships rather than full marriages.

“Our present law does not discriminate unjustly when it requires both a man and a woman for marriage. It simply recognises and protects the distinctive nature of marriage,” the letter says.

It adds that allowing same-sex couples to get married would mean there was “no recognition of the complementarity of male and female or that marriage is intended for the procreation and education of children”, adding that Catholics have a duty to “do all we can to ensure that the true meaning of marriage is not lost for future generations.”

A video of the Archbishop reading the letter has also been released (Sorry – this clip is not available on TheJournal.ie mobile app):

Vimeo/Catholic Westminster

- Additional reporting from AP

More: Eighth US State legalises same-sex marriage>

Read: Full text of the letter addressed to British Catholics>

About the author:

Michael Freeman

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