Benedict XVI denounces trends opposed to marriage

Source: FSSPX News

On March 9, Benedict XVI granted an audience to a dozen bishops from the United States who were concluding their ad limina visit.  He spoke to them about the contemporary crisis of marriage and the family, “and, more generally, of the Christian vision of human sexuality. It is in fact increasingly evident that a weakened appreciation of the indissolubility of the marriage covenant, and the widespread rejection of a responsible, mature sexual ethic grounded in the practice of chastity, have led to grave societal problems bearing an immense human and economic cost.”  The pope had in mind “the powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage”.

“Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage…. The Church’s conscientious effort to resist this pressure calls for a reasoned defense of marriage as a natural institution consisting of a specific communion of persons, essentially rooted in the complementarity of the sexes and oriented to procreation,” Benedict XVI declared.

On March 1, 2012, Maryland became the eighth state in the U.S.A. to legalize homosexual marriage.  Furthermore, within the context of the presidential campaign of November 6, 2012, the incumbent candidate, Barack Obama, has made it known that he considered unconstitutional the text of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act signed by former President Bill Clinton, which defines marriage as being “the legal union between a man and a woman”.

During this meeting with the American bishops, Benedict XVI mentioned the “serious pastoral problem” of the practice of cohabitation by “couples who seem unaware that it is gravely sinful”.  He called for the adoption of “clear pastoral and liturgical norms” for the worthy celebration of marriage, which is an unambiguous witness to the objective requirements of Christian morality.  In a strongly worded speech, the pope emphasized “an urgent need … to recover an appreciation of the virtue of chastity.  A source of authentic freedom and happiness, the richness of this virtue is “more sound and appealing” than the views exalted by permissive ideologies, which “constitute a powerful and destructive form of counter-catechesis for the young”.

Benedict XVI did not fail to speak about the “threats to freedom of conscience, religion and worship”.  For the pope, this urgent problem must be deal with promptly, “so that all men and women of faith, and the institutions they inspire, can act in accordance with their deepest moral convictions.”

The American bishops, and more particularly Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, reacted energetically to the new rules published in January by the Department of Health and Human Services.  All institutions, including Catholic ones, are obliged to provide their employees with a health insurance policy that would also include abortifacient drugs, sterilization and contraception.  As the bishops see it, such a measure threatens the religious liberty of Americans as a nation.