Pope signals inter-faith alliance against gay marriage

Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:07am EST
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict on Friday signaled the Vatican was ready to forge alliances with other religions against gay marriage, saying the family was threatened "to its foundations" by attempts to change its "true structure".

The pope's latest denunciation of gay marriage came in a Christmas address to Vatican officials in which he blended religion, philosophy, anthropology and sociology to illustrate the position of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican has gone on the offensive in response to gains for gay marriage in the United States and Europe, using every possible opportunity to denounce it through papal speeches or editorials in its newspaper or on its radio station.

Throwing the full weight of his office behind a study by France's chief rabbi on the effects the legalization of gay marriage would have on children and society, he said:

"There is no denying the crisis that threatens it (the family) to its foundations - especially in the Western world."

The family had to be protected because it was "the authentic setting in which to hand on the blueprint of human existence", he added.

Speaking in the frescoed Clementine Hall of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, the 85-year-old pope said the family was being threatened by "a false understanding of freedom" and a repudiation of life-long commitment in heterosexual marriage.

"When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child - essential elements of the experience of being human are lost," the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics said.   Continued...

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he leaves after leading his Wednesday general audience in Paul VI's Hall at the Vatican December 19, 2012. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito