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In his annual “State of the World” address given Monday to the 180 diplomatic corps associated with the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI touched on a number of problems he felt were plaguing the world: wars and violence, and the fiscal crisis.However, many have noted that the pope seemed to have also alluded to gay marriage in his speech.
The pope, 84, said that marriage was a union between a man and a woman, and a family as being based on that.
“Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself,” he said in one of his strongest tirades against gay marriage.
“This [family] is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society,” he said, adding that such a family was the necessary setting for the proper education of children and the development of countries.
The Roman Catholic Church, which has some 1.3 billion members worldwide (according to Reuters) generally teaches that while homosexual tendencies are not sinful, homosexual acts are, and that children should grow up in a traditional family with a mother and a father. The Vatican and various Catholic officials have protested moves to legalise gay marriage in various parts of the world, including Spain, the Netherlands, and certain states in the U.S.
It may even be a winning strategy for the church. Some churches that have allowed gay marriage, women priests, gay clergy and gay bishops have been losing members to Catholicism, and the Vatican has taken steps to facilitate their conversion, Reuters reports.