Pope tells Canadians marriage is only between a man and a woman
Speaking on Saturday to Canada's new ambassador to the Holy See, Pope John Paul II insisted on the "necessary complementarity" of men and women in the institution of marriage for the survival of culture and society.
The Holy Father's comments were prompted by recent developments in Canadian marriage law favouring the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
The Pope began his speech by recalling his visits to Canada, "especially the joyous occasion of World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto," and noted "Canada's generous and practical contributions to the building of a world of peace, justice and prosperity" such as "involvement in peace-keeping missions and the production of low-cost medicines for poorer nations" which are "widely recognised by the international community."
He praised "Canada's openness to migration" which brings "increasing diversity and a great richness to your culture, fostering mutual accommodation and respect between ethnic groups," as an illustration for other nations "that the respect due to every person is rooted in the common origin of all men and women, rather than in the fact of differences between peoples."
But he then turned to the marriage question, saying that "for generations Canadians have recognized and celebrated the place of marriage at the heart of your society. ... The institution of marriage necessarily entails the complementarity of husbands and wives who participate in God's creative activity through the raising of children."
The Pope closed by expressing confidence that "the splendid vision of supportive and stable family life, so dear to the people of Canada, will continue to offer to society the foundation upon which the aspirations of your nation can be built." He highlighted the Catholic Church's role in assisting "in upholding the essential social foundations of civic life" and in forming youth, "especially through her schools, and her social apostolate."
Marriage is only between a man and a woman, Pope says to Canadians (Catholic News Agency 6/9/04)
Pope John Paul's words to the new Canadian Ambassador to the Holy See, Mr Donald Smith
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Pope gives three "assignments" to laity: contemplation, communion, mission (Catholic News Agency 6/9/04)
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Pope warns Canada against same-sex unions (Catholic World News 6/9/04)
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7 Sep 2004