Pope Benedict XVI used his Monday “State of the World” address to condemn efforts around the world to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples, calling same-sex marriage a threat to “human dignity and the future of humanity itself.”
Initially speaking about economic issues, the “Arab Spring,” and of the importance of education, the pontiff switched gears and took aim at the LGBT community.
“Pride of place goes to the family, based on the marriage of a man and woman,” the leader of the 1.3-billion member Roman Catholic Church said.
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“This is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself,” he told the crowd of 180 diplomats gathered in the Vatican.
Next month, according to New York Daily News, the pope will elevate New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, a leading opponent of marriage equality to cardinal, the elite group that leads critical Roman Catholic institutions. Dolan once attacked the Obama administration for not supporting a federal ban on gay marriage, saying the the choice would drive “conflict” between church and state of “enormous proportions.”
Marriage is now legal for same-sex couples in New York, where Dolan is located.
“The family unit is fundamental for the educational process and for the development both of individuals and states; hence there is a need for policies which promote the family and aid social cohesion and dialogue,” the pope told the diplomats.
According to Reuters, Benedict has been effective in attracting dissatisfied conservatives from other denominations into the Catholic Church, including Anglicans and Episcopalians whose traditions, core beliefs, structure of worship service, and hierarchical leadership structure mirrors that of the Catholic Church.
Anglicans and Episcopalians who abandon their church over LGBT or womens’ rights can connect to a special parallel hierarchy overseen by the Catholic Church called “ordinariates,” which are similar to dioceses.