Pope restates marriage non-negotiables

Marriage and the family are inextricably rooted in human nature and Christians must not accept the "private conception of love" that is so popular today, Benedict XVI yesterday told a private audience.

"Only the bedrock of complete and life-long love between a man and a woman" can form the basis for a stable society, the Pope told participants in a conference organised by the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.

Pope Benedict said that the message of Humanae Vitae, the 1968 encyclical by Pope Paul VI, is particularly relevant to today's world. He paid tribute to the powerful influence that John Paul II had in reviving Catholic teaching on human sexuality, marriage, and the family.

He recalled that from his earliest days in the priesthood, Karol Wojtyla had felt a need to teach about the importance of human love. The message that the Polish Pope conveyed, he said, was founded on two principles: that marriage and the family are inextricably rooted in human nature, and that Jesus reveals the fullest truth about love, which is perfected in the "gift of self."

That Church teaching, the Pope said, is a strong antidote to the current popular understanding, which sees human love as a matter of purely private choice.

In a lengthy statement, delivered in Italian, Pope Benedict said that love is the means by which mankind "is called to communion with the life of the Trinity." That fundamental understanding of love, outlined in his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est, enables Christians to go beyond the popular view, he said.

"Authentic love transforms itself into a light that guides all life toward fulfilment, producing a liveable society of mankind," he said. "Thus the communion of life and love that is marriage is also designed for the authentic welfare of society."

Pope Benedict voiced his delight at noticing that many large families were included in the audience, which drew well over 1,000 people to the Hall of Benedictions in the apostolic palace.

Support marriage, reject other unions, Pope urges (Catholic World News 11/5/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
John Paul II Institute for Marriage & Family

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12 May 2006