Church says NZ voters will heed Pope

Voters will take into account Pope Benedict's comments to New Zealand about the sanctity of marriage in the upcoming general election, the Catholic Church says.

According to One News NZ, the new Pope warned against secular distortions of marriage and urged civil leaders to publicly debate questions of morality during a speech to ambassadors to the Vatican, including New Zealand's new ambassador Geoffrey Ward.

In his speech the Pope said: "New Zealanders traditionally have recognised and celebrated the place of marriage and stable domestic life at the heart of their society.

"They appreciate that secular distortions of marriage can never overshadow the splendour of a life-long covenant based on generous self-giving and unconditional love. Correct reason tells them that the future of humanity passes by way of the family."

Catholic Church spokesperson Lyndsay Freer says the message is a call to people to consider whether things like the civil union bill reflect how they want to live.

But the comments have drawn criticism from Labour MP Tim Barnett, who says civil unions do not undermine marriage and he is disappointed the Pope does not recognise that.

Barnett says he does not think the Pope's comments are likely to change anyone's vote.
Prime Minister Helen Clark has released a statement saying that while she has great respect for the Pope, she does not agree with him on this matter.

Church says voters will heed Pope (OneNews NZ 20/6/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorced by Church Resources)
The Catholic Church in New Zealand

NZ Bishops' last-ditch bid to block gay union Bill (CathNews 6/12/04)
NZ Catholics threaten Labour over Civil Unions Bill (CathNews 30/9/04)
NZ gay law 'to make moral wasteland' (CathNews 29/6/04)
NZ Bishops lobby MPs on gay marriage threat (CathNews 5/4/04)
NZ bishop says Govt rights legislation will sanction gay marriage (CathNews 21/7/03)

21 Jun 2005