Pope denounces abortion, gay marriage

With all due respect to the Catholic faith, and to the legions of good people, clergy and laity alike,who are among its believers, this space takes serious issue with the Vatican.

Pope Benedict XVI used a famous Portuguese shrine to the Virgin Mary on Thursday as a stage to denounce abortion and gay marriage, just days before Portugal is expected to join five European countries that have legalized same-sex weddings.

In a speech (in Fatima, Portugal) to Catholic social service groups, Benedict called for initiatives aimed at protecting “the family based on the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, help to respond to some of today’s most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good.”

He also said he expressed his “deep appreciation for all those social and pastoral initiatives aimed at combating the socioeconomic and cultural mechanisms which lead to abortion, and are openly concerned to defend life and to promote the reconciliation and healing of those harmed by the tragedy of abortion.”

The common good, according to the pope, would suffer from individuals being allowed to marry those whom they love. And tragedy? What he and his allies are invoking — in this drive to dictate what women may or may not do with their own bodies — is a return to the brutal reality of back-alley abortion. That will be the tragedy beyond healing.

The pope’s remarks came on the third day of a four-day visit (to Portugal) aimed at shoring up Christian belief in increasingly secular Europe, although it has been somewhat eclipsed by the sexual-abuse scandal confronting the Vatican in recent weeks. Benedict also has used the visit to signal a more forceful tone in confronting the abuse, which he has called a “sin inside the church.”

Although it is 90 percent Catholic, Portugal has seen a notable shift away from Catholic teaching in recent years. The country legalized abortion in 2008 and its Parliament recently approved a bill permitting same-sex marriage. President Aníbal Cavaco Silva is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days.

The church has opposed the measure, but Portuguese society appears to be largely supportive.

Portugal would be the sixth country in Europe to legalize same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Norway and Sweden. France and Denmark recognize same-sex unions, which convey many but not all of the rights enjoyed by married couples.

Individual rights, women’s rights and gay rights are slowly going forward in a few places around the globe.  Pope Benedict XVI would like us all to go backward.

Pope Decries Gay Marriage in Portugal Visit – NYTimes.com.

5 responses

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  2. …deep appreciation for all those social and pastoral initiatives aimed at combating the socioeconomic and cultural mechanisms which lead to abortion…

    I wonder what that consists of? Might not be a bad thing, depending.

    Individual rights, women’s rights and gay rights are slowly going forward in a few places around the globe. Pope Benedict XVI would like us all to go backward.

    Well, that’s not exactly news.

    • Thanks for weighing in, Marissaao. I’m not sure about the intricate language but I get its message. And no, it’s not news. But we ARE going backward, small step (and punitive state law) by small step, and I’m not sure everyone who supports individual rights & individual choice is noticing. Going backward is easy; regaining forward movement could be pretty hard.

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  4. Thanks for bringing me up to date on how Portugal is dealing with these two social issues. California voters should look at and learn from the progress being made there. Good thing the majority of Catholics seems to make a separate peace with their notion of God, having the good sense to set aside the pronouncements of the Vatican on these personal and intimate decisions about the here and now. Like the “Pope-mobile” that separates the pontiff from the rest of us, I’m afraid many of the opinions of the Vatican strike me as glaring reflections from a closed and limited system of thought. RL

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