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Austin Cline

Pope Condemns Gay Marriage in Canada

By September 8, 2004

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Gay marriage is proceeding forward in Canada now that the national government will stop challenging local efforts or court decisions that legitimate such unions. The pope is not pleased about this and berated the Canadian ambassador for extending freedom to gays.

My Way News reports:

The pope spoke Saturday to the new Canadian Ambassador to the Holy See, Donald Smith. "The institution of marriage necessarily entails the complementarity of husbands and wives who participate in God's creative activity through the raising of children," said the pontiff, according to the text of the speech released by the Vatican.

If the pope were right, that would require banning contraception and invalidating the marriages of sterile couples, both of which prevent people from participating in "God's creative activity." I don't see that happening any time soon, though I can think of many on the Christian Right who would endorse such authoritarian moves.

"Any attempts to change the meaning of the word 'spouse' contradict right reason: legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, cannot be applied to unions between persons of the same sex without creating a false understanding of the nature of marriage."

This assumes, of course, that the Catholic Church is in any position to tell civil society how it must define "marriage." I'm sure that the pope thinks that he and his church have exactly that authority, but in reality the church has no such authority over the rest of us. I'm not Catholic and the pope is not in any position to tell me what my marriage is or how it should be defined.

The failure of many Catholic leaders to understand this is precisely why they keep advocating policies that cross the line separating church from state. They have authority over Catholics because those people have granted them that authority voluntarily. They do not have authority over others and, therefore, are in no position to insist that civil law reflect their religious dogmas.

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