- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 7, 2005

ROME — Pope Benedict XVI, in his first clear pronouncement on homosexual “marriages” since his election, yesterday condemned same-sex unions as fake and “expressions of anarchic freedom” that threatened the future of the family.

The pope, who was elected in April, also condemned divorce, artificial birth control, trial marriages and free-style unions, saying all of those practices were dangerous for the family.

“Today’s various forms of dissolution of marriage, free unions, trial marriages as well as the pseudo-matrimonies between people of the same sex, are instead expressions of anarchic freedom which falsely tries to pass itself off as the true liberation of man,” he said.

Benedict spoke to families at Rome’s Basilica of St. John Lateran on an issue that has become highly contentious around the world, particularly in Europe and the United States.

In April, parliament in traditionally Catholic Spain gave initial approval to a law legalizing homosexual “marriage.” It is widely expected to be approved by the Senate and become law.

Homosexual “marriages” are already legal in several European countries.

However, just last week, California’s Assembly killed off a bill that would have allowed homosexual “marriage” in the most populous U.S. state.

The pope, who headed the Vatican’s doctrinal department for more than two decades before his elevation to the papacy, said “pseudo freedoms” such as homosexual “marriages” were based on what he called the “banalization of the human body” and of man himself.

Benedict also spoke of the family’s vital role for the future of society, reading his 14-page speech in a steady, professorial manner while seated at a writing table.

“Matrimony and the family are not, in reality, a casual sociological construction or the fruit of specific historic and economic situations,” he said.

Aurelio Mancuso, president of Arcigay, Italy’s largest homosexual rights group, said the pope was incorrect because “gay unions are no threat to heterosexual marriages.”

The 78-year-old pope’s wide-ranging speech, interrupted by applause several times, touched on themes such as human sexuality and freedom. It showed his background as one of the Roman Catholic Church’s leading theologians.

“The greatest expression of freedom is not the search for pleasure,” he said, adding that society seemed to want to tear down the moral goal posts he said were needed for its future.

“Today, a particularly insidious obstacle to [moral] education is the overwhelming presence in our society and culture of a type of relativism that recognizes nothing as definitive,” he said.

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