Catholics are called to serve the common good of society, including by protecting traditional marriage and defending human life, Pope Benedict XVI told bishops from France.
Being Catholic means being faithful “to the moral teaching of the Church” and having “the courage to demonstrate their Christian convictions – without arrogance, but with respect – in the various spheres in which they work,” the Pope said on November 17 as he welcomed a group of bishops making their periodic “ad limina” visits to the Vatican.
“With the bishops, they must pay attention to proposals for civil laws that can undermine: the safeguarding of marriage between a man and a woman, the protection of human life from conception to death, and the correct orientation of bioethics in faithfulness to the documents of the Magisterium,” the Pope said.
In several French cities over the November 17-18 weekend, thousands of Catholics took to the streets to protest against government plans to legalise same-sex marriage.
President Francois Hollande said he wanted to legalise same-sex unions by mid-2013.
Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris told the Vatican newspaper on November 17 that the Church has been expressing its opposition to the proposed law and “we have warned about the dangers” such a change can bring.
In the interview with L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican paper, he said the law, which would include allowing same-sex couples to adopt, “risks producing devastating effects,” particularly for children who would grow up not having both a male and female parent.
In an editorial comment for Vatican Radio early in November, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said it is “clear that in Western countries there is a widespread tendency to modify the classic vision of marriage between a man and woman, or rather to try to give it up, erasing its specific and privileged legal recognition compared to other forms of union.”- CNS