Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 13, 2004
'No' to same-sex marriage
Pope challenges new Canadian ambassador
By Catholic News Service
Castel Gandolfo, Italy
Pope John Paul made the Catholic Church's opposition to same-marriage unmistakably clear in his first meeting with Canada's new ambassador to the Holy See.
Conceding marital status to gay couples distorts the true meaning of marriage, the pope said Sept. 4. He made the remarks after accepting the credentials of the ambassador, Donald Smith.
Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Yukon allow same-sex marriage. The federal government has proposed draft legislation that would allow for same-sex unions.
The pope's speech was a largely positive review of Canada's international peacekeeping efforts, its openness to migration and its social values based on human dignity.
But he zeroed in on legislative attempts to treat same-sex unions the same as marriage between a man and a woman.
The Creator established marriage with its own purpose, he said. "The institution of marriage necessarily entails the complementarity of husbands and wives who participate in God's creative activity through the raising of children."
"Spouses thereby ensure the survival of society and culture and rightly deserve specific and categorical legal recognition by the state," he said.
"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."