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Pope Goes Off Script to Underscore Man-Woman Marriage

In his weekly audience Wednesday, Pope Francis momentarily left his prepared notes to drive home the message that the family “is born of the union of man and woman.”

Next week the man who once called same-sex marriage a demonic “attempt to destroy God’s plan” will travel to the United States after having been invited by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput to attend the World Meeting of Families. The Pope has repeatedly insisted on the complementarity of man and woman as the true foundation of the family.

In his address before thousands gathered in Saint Peter’s Square, Francis said that God’s plan for the world “is born of the family, of the union of man and woman. May God bless the families of every corner of the earth.”

In this his final reflection on the theme of marriage and the family, the Pope made reference to two important events for the family: the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia and the Synod of Bishops in Rome. “Both have a worldwide importance,” Francis said, “for the universal scope of this fundamental and irreplaceable human community that is the family.”

Following the Irish same-sex marriage referendum last June, Pope Francis insisted that the “complementarity of man and woman” is essential to marriage, but is under attack from “so-called gender ideology, in the name of a freer and fairer society.”

The Pope has repeatedly warned his audiences of the dangers of an LGBT culture, an “ideology of gender,” that seeks to undermine the proper understanding of marriage as well as human sexuality.

According to Pope Francis, in our time “marriage and the family are in crisis. We live in a short-term culture, as more and more people renounce marriage as a public commitment.”

Both the man and the woman in a marriage are essential for a marriage, the Pope said last fall, noting that “each man and each woman brings their own personal contribution to the marriage and education of children,” and that this “complementarity is the basis of marriage and the family.”

This understanding of marriage spills over to the whole family, the Pope said, because “children have the right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother, able to create a suitable environment for their development and their emotional maturity.”

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome

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