Pontiff reiterates church’s
opposition to abortion, euthanasia
VATICAN CITY Pope Benedict XVI told the new Spanish ambassador to the Holy See on May 20 that family based on marriage should not be “replaced or confused” by other institutions, a likely reference to gay marriage, which is legal in Spain.
Benedict has been leading a church campaign in defense of “traditional families,” including marriage between man and woman. He also reiterated church opposition to abortion and euthanasia.
“The church proclaims without reserve the primordial right to life, from conception to natural death, the right to birth, to create and live in a family, without it being substituted or confused by other forms or different institutions,” Benedict said, speaking in Spanish.
Ambassador Francisco Vazquez Vazquez later described the audience as “cordial and affectionate,” and added that it marked the beginning “of a new phase for dialogue” between the Holy See and Spain.
Ties between the Holy See and Spain have been strained since Spain’s Socialists took office in 2004 with an agenda that has included legalizing gay marriage and making it easier for Spaniards to obtain divorce in the traditionally Roman Catholic country.
Vazquez told a news conference after the audience that the law legalizing gay marriage was not specifically mentioned. He said themes discussed during the 20-minute meeting with the pope included “teaching religion in schools, Christian values, family,” Italian news agencies reported.
Benedict also mentioned his planned visit to Valencia, Spain, in early July to attend a church gathering dedicated to families, saying he hoped it would “give me an opportunity to celebrate the beauty and fecundity of the family based on marriage, its very high calling and its essential social value.”
Vazquez, who presented his credentials to the pontiff, was accompanied by his children and grandchildren. He gave the pontiff a small statue of the Holy Virgin of the Rosary, patron of La Coruna, Spain, where Vazquez was mayor for 23 years.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 26, 2006.