14 March 2007

The Pope tells it like it is

Pope Benedict XVI told Catholic politicians on Tuesday that they must not vote for laws which go against Church teaching on issues such as gay marriage or abortion.

In a document summing up discussions at a meeting of bishops held in the Vatican in 2005, the pope said that Catholic legislators must be “aware of their social responsibility” and so cannot vote for laws that go against “human nature”.

They must strenuously defend the Church’s “non-negotiable values”, which are “respect for human life” and “family based on marriage between man and woman”, he added.

Benedict’s statement was seen as a clear reference to moves in several Catholic countries to introduce gay marriages, or at least to give legal recognition to gay couples.

Spain has already introduced gay marriage and Italy, home to the Vatican, is currently debating whether to give certain rights to unmarried couples, including gay ones.

The pope’s reference to “defence of human life” appeared to be a swipe at politicians in countries such as the United States, where some Catholic lawmakers have argued they must support measures allowing abortion because their voters want them.

Politicians must give “public testimony to their faith”, the pontiff said.

On other points, Benedict called for Sunday to remain a day of rest and for trainee priests to prepare to celebrate mass in Latin and to use ancient Gregorian chants in church.

Speaking to bishops, he reminded them of their duty to “constantly recall” the Church’s non-negotiable values, saying “this is part of their responsibility towards the flock entrusted to them”.

Touching on a point which has created tensions in the US Catholic Church, he stated unambiguously that bishops should not allow remarried divorcees to receive communion.

It's not always easy being a Christian. Sometimes you have to accept that what you want to do is wrong. Whilst you always retain the right to excercise freewill and choose, if it goes against the teachings of the Church you shouldn't claim that you follow that religion. Don't say you are a Catholic, if you practice homosexuality, or stand up for pro choice. You can't be a practicing Catholic, taking full communion, etc, and be pro abortion.

I'm happy we have a strong man like Pope Benedict in place, willing to tell it the way it is.

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