Pope tells Canada to end gay marriage

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI told Canada to end gay marriage and instructed Roman Catholic politicians not to vote for gay marriage, urging them not to sacrifice their personal beliefs for the sake of opinion polls and social trends. Benedict met with Ontario bishops at the Vatican in Rome.

"In the name of tolerance, your country has had to endure the folly of the redefinition of spouse," the Pope told the bishops. "In the name of freedom of choice, it is confronted with the daily destruction of unborn children." "When the Creator's divine plan is ignored, the truth of human nature is lost."

Neil McCarthy, director of public relations for the Archdiocese of Toronto, said yesterday that Benedict XVI's latest foray into the gay marriage debate came directly in response to issues the visiting Ontario bishops would have raised.

He said Catholic bishops from Quebec and the Atlantic provinces also made a visit to the Vatican this year, asking a response from the Pope on other matters of concern in Canada, such as unemployment and declining church attendance among young people.

Pope John Paul II, before his death last year, denounced Canada for its drive to legalize same-sex marriage.

Parliament passed legislation in June 2005 that made Canada the fourth country in the world to allow gay marriage.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he will revisit the issue and that members of Parliament will be asked this fall whether they wish to reopen the debate.