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Pope Francis defends traditional marriage as a matter of ‘human ecology’

November 17th, 2014 Posted in Featured, Vatican News Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis called for preserving the family as an institution based on marriage between a man and a woman, which he said is not a political cause but a matter of “human ecology.”

Newly married couples Marco Purcaro and Laura Capurso, center, and Fiorenzo Genito and Lidia Tortora, right, react after exchanging vows as Pope Francis celebrates the marriage rite for 20 couples during a Mass last September in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Sept. 14. At left is Flaviano Picchi and Giulia Capozi, who are preparing to exchange vows. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Newly married couples Marco Purcaro and Laura Capurso, center, and Fiorenzo Genito and Lidia Tortora, right, react after exchanging vows as Pope Francis celebrates the marriage rite for 20 couples during a Mass last September in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Sept. 14. At left is Flaviano Picchi and Giulia Capozi, who are preparing to exchange vows. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“The complementarity of man and woman … is at the root of marriage and the family,” the pope said Nov. 17, opening a three-day interreligious conference on traditional marriage. “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.”

Pope Francis said that “marriage and the family are in crisis. 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.”

According to the pope, the “crisis in the family has produced an ecological crisis, for social environments, like natural environments, need protection. And although the human race has come to understand the need to address conditions that menace our natural environments, we have been slower — we have been slower in our culture, and also in our Catholic culture — to recognize that our fragile social environments are also at risk. It is therefore essential that we foster a new human ecology.”

Pope Francis voiced hope that young people would be “revolutionaries with the courage to seek true and lasting love, going against the current.” But he also warned against falling into the “trap of being swayed by ideological concepts.”

“We cannot speak today of the conservative family or the progressive family,” he said. “The family is the family.”

The pope also stressed that the complementarity between male and female does not necessarily entail stereotypical gender roles.

“Let us not confuse (complementarity) with the simplistic idea that all the roles and relations of the two sexes are fixed in a single, static pattern,” he said. “Complementarity will take many forms as each man and woman brings his or her distinctive contributions to their marriage and to the education of their children.”

Pope Francis said Christians find the meaning of complementarity in St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, “where the apostle tells us that the Spirit has endowed each of us with different gifts so that — just as the human body’s members work together for the good of the whole — everyone’s gifts can work together for the benefit of each.”

“To reflect upon complementarity is nothing less than to ponder the dynamic harmonies at the heart of all creation,” the pope said.

 

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U.S. bishops urged not to ‘shy away’ from supporting traditional marriage

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Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE — The U.S. bishops gathered in Baltimore for their annual fall general assembly were urged not to “shy away” from the Catholic Church’s support of traditional marriage even as laws across the country are legalizing same-sex marriage.

“The challenges to religious liberty with regard to the redefinition of marriage grow daily,” said Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, in a Nov. 10 report to the bishops.

He said that for several years, the bishops’ subcommittee has “sought to defend marriage’s unique meaning, while also calling attention to the real negative consequences and anticipated threats that marriage redefinition poses to religious liberty and freedom of conscience.”

The archbishop urged his fellow bishops to continue their work on the issue, taking to heart the words and example of Pope Francis to advance a “culture of encounter, accompaniment and witness.”

He said the recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upholding traditional marriage laws in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee was a “significant win for marriage” and will likely bring the issue to the Supreme Court.

He also noted that two federal court rulings, now on appeal, in Louisiana and Puerto Rico, upheld traditional marriage laws.

But Archbishop Cordileone said the Supreme Court’s failure in October to review appeals of rulings striking down same-sex marriage bans and other recent circuit court decisions allowing for same-sex marriages brings “the number of states where marriage has effectively been redefined in the law” to 32.

He warned that society’s redefinition of marriage “brings complex challenges — pastoral, sacramental and legal” — and he also emphasized that the church’s “accompaniment of those who experience same-sex attraction is particularly important.”

The Catholic Church upholds marriage as between one man and one woman and teaches that any sexual activity outside of marriage is sinful. The church also teaches that homosexual attraction itself is not sinful and that homosexual people “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.”

The archbishop encouraged his fellow bishops to continue their support of traditional married couples and families and emphasized the importance of upcoming gatherings such as the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next September and the world Synod of Bishops on the family next October.

“The church is being called to embrace a renewed catechesis on marriage and family” in preparation for these meetings, he said.

 

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Pope Francis to open Vatican interfaith conference on traditional marriage Nov. 17

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Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY — A month after closing a Synod of Bishops on the family stirred by controversy over divorce, same-sex unions and other nonmarital relationships, Pope Francis will open an interreligious conference dedicated to traditional marriage.

A month after closing a Synod of Bishops on the family stirred by controversy over divorce, same-sex unions and other nonmarital relationships, Pope Francis will open an interreligious conference dedicated to traditional marriage. (CNS/Jon L. Hendricks)

A month after closing a Synod of Bishops on the family stirred by controversy over divorce, same-sex unions and other nonmarital relationships, Pope Francis will open an interreligious conference dedicated to traditional marriage. (CNS/Jon L. Hendricks)

The Vatican-sponsored gathering, on the “Complementarity of Man and Woman,” will take place Nov. 17-19 and feature more than 30 speakers representing 23 countries and various Christian churches, as well as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Taoism and Sikhism. The conference will aim to “examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between the man and the woman, in order to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life for the flourishing of human society,” according to organizers. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and the Rev. Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church in California, will be among the participants. Other Americans at the conference will include Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Henry B. Eyring,f irst counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and Mercy Sister Prudence Allen, former chair of the philosophy department at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, whom Pope Francis named to the International Theological Commission in September. Other notable speakers will include Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of Great Britain, and Anglican Bishops N.T. Wright and Michael Nazir-Ali. Pope Francis will address the conference and preside over its first morning session Nov. 17, following remarks by Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The conference was an initiative of Cardinal Muller, who proposed it to Pope Francis in November 2013, according to Helen Alvare, a professor at George Mason University School of Law in Virginia, who is handling press relations for the event. The conference is officially sponsored by the doctrinal congregation, and co-sponsored by the pontifical councils for Promoting Christian Unity, for Interreligious Dialogue and for the Family. The heads of all four curia offices are scheduled to address the assembly. Topics of lectures and videos will include “The Cradle of Life and Love: A Mother and Father for the World’s Children” and “The Sacramentality of Human Love According to St. John Paul II.” Given its timing and subject matter, the conference is likely to invite comparisons with the Oct. 5-19 synod on the family. Several conference participants have already commented publicly on the earlier event. One of the synod’s most discussed topics was a proposal by German Cardinal Walter Kasper to make it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion. Cardinal Muller was a leading opponent of that proposal. Archbishop Chaput told an audience in New York Oct. 20 that he had been “very disturbed” by press reports of last month’s synod, saying, “I think confusion is of the devil, and I think the public image that came across was of confusion,” though he added: “I don’t think that was the real thing there.” The archbishop will be host to the September 2015 World Meeting of Families, which Pope Francis is widely expected to attend. Rev. Warren was one of 48 Christian ministers and scholars who signed an open letter to Pope Francis and the synod fathers in September, urging the assembly to defend traditional marriage, among other ways, by supporting efforts to “restore legal provisions that protect marriage as a conjugal union of one man and one woman.” Moore, of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote a blog post in response to the synod’s controversial midterm report, which used remarkably conciliatory language toward people with ways of life contrary to Catholic teaching, including those in same-sex unions and other non-marital relationships. Moore praised the document for suggesting that “we should not drive sinners away, but that we should receive them and nurture them toward Christ,” but said that the “church is not itself, though, to be made up of unrepentant people.”

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Speakers urge Americans to promote love and truth at March for Marriage

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Political and religious leaders encouraged Americans to promote traditional marriage with truth and love at the second annual March for Marriage.

Referencing the passage from the Gospel of Matthew, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, encouraged march participants June 19 to spread the message of the Gospel with love. Read more »

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Maryland interfaith leaders defend traditional marriage

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Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE  — Leaders of a newly formed pro-marriage coalition came out swinging against efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland, pledging in a Nov. 30 news conference to rally citizens across the state to defeat legislation that would alter the traditional definition of marriage.

Gathered at First Apostolic Faith Church International in Baltimore, representatives of the interfaith, nonpartisan Maryland Marriage Alliance said they will not be intimidated by those who would call their position “bigoted.”

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