In his global message for World Day of Peace, which takes place on Jan. 1, Pope Benedict XVI will use the opportunity to condemn same-sex marriage, which he calls a “serious harm to justice and peace.”
The pontiff warns that any efforts to allow gays and lesbians to wed will “actually harm and help to destabilize marriage,” according to the text of the speech, which has been released by the Vatican.
“There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union; such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society.
“These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity. The Church’s efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation. Efforts of this kind are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace.”
Earlier this year, Benedict called same-sex marriage a threat to “human dignity and the future of humanity itself,” and said that a weakened appreciation for “traditional marriage” has led to “grave social problems bearing an immense human and economic cost.”
Activists, angered by the Pope’s remarks, held a small protest in St. Peter’s Square during the pontiff’s weekly address on Sunday.
The Roman Catholic Church, which has approximately 1.3 billion members worldwide, teaches that homosexual acts are sinful, and that children should grow up in a “traditional” family with a mother and a father.