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Posted on Jan 17, 2006

By Larry Gross

Pope Benedict XVI has intervened in the upcoming Italian elections, specifically on the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage—no extra credit for guessing what side he’s on.  The topic of same-sex marriage is especially touchy, as Spain, another predominantly Catholic country, recently legalized same-sex marriage despite the Church’s explicit opposition, something the pope seems to have taken as a personal affront.  If the same thing were to happen in Italy it would be truly insulting to the newly installed Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Christ. 

Speaking to local officials, Benedict stressed that marriage between man and woman was the cornerstone of society and not some “casual sociological construction” that could be replaced.  “It’s a serious error to obscure the value and function of the legitimate family founded on matrimony, attributing to other forms of unions improper legal recognition, for which there really is no social need,” he said.


The Roman Catholic bishop of Calgary, Alberta, had a much stronger message for Canadian politicians, as Canada heads into its own election season: They should opt for martyrdom rather than support things that contradict Church doctrine, such as same-sex marriage.  Raising the specter of beheadings or possibly burnings at the stake, Bishop Fred Henry decried spiritual schizophrenia and offered spiritual guidance: “All Catholic politicians would do well to imitate the example of St. Thomas More, who by his life and death taught that man cannot be separated from God, nor politics from morality.”  More, chancellor to King Henry VIII, was executed in 1535 for refusing to acknowledge the king, rather than the pope, as head of the English church.  Previously, Bishop Henry has suggested that then-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrtien, a Catholic, might well go to hell because of his support for gay marriage.  Surely, it seems, martyrdom and possible eventual sainthood would be preferable. 

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