[Updated w/ Video] In Croatia, Pope Benedict Fights For Marriage, Condemns Cohabitation

During Pope Benedict’s visit to Croatia last weekend, he reserved the end of his homily at Sunday Mass to proclaim the urgent truth that Catholics are called to form loving families. I consider this required reading:

By the grace of God, many Christian families today are acquiring an ever deeper awareness of their missionary vocation, and are devoting themselves seriously to bearing witness to Christ the Lord.

Blessed John Paul II once said: “An authentic family, founded on marriage, is in itself ‘good news’ for the world.” And he added: “In our time the families that collaborate actively in evangelization are ever more numerous […] the hour of the family has arrived in the Church, which is also the hour of the missionary family” (Angelus, 21 October 2001).

In today’s society the presence of exemplary Christian families is more necessary and urgent than ever. Unfortunately, we are forced to acknowledge the spread of a secularization which leads to the exclusion of God from life and the increasing disintegration of the family, especially in Europe.

Freedom without commitment to the truth is made into an absolute, and individual well-being through the consumption of material goods and transient experiences is cultivated as an ideal, obscuring the quality of interpersonal relations and deeper human values; love is reduced to sentimental emotion and to the gratification of instinctive impulses, without a commitment to build lasting bonds of reciprocal belonging and without openness to life.

We are called to oppose such a mentality! Alongside what the Church says, the testimony and commitment of the Christian family – your concrete testimony – is very important, especially when you affirm the inviolability of human life from conception until natural death, the singular and irreplaceable value of the family founded upon matrimony and the need for legislation which supports families in the task of giving birth to children and educating them.

Dear families, be courageous! Do not give in to that secularized mentality which proposes living together as a preparation, or even a substitute for marriage! Show by the witness of your lives that it is possible, like Christ, to love without reserve, and do not be afraid to make a commitment to another person! Dear families, rejoice in fatherhood and motherhood! Openness to life is a sign of openness to the future, confidence in the future, just as respect for the natural moral law frees people, rather than demeaning them!

The good of the family is also the good of the Church. I would like to repeat something I have said in the past: “the edification of each individual Christian family fits into the context of the larger family of the Church which supports it and carries it with her … And the Church is reciprocally built up by the family, a ‘small domestic church’” (Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Participants in the Ecclesial Diocesan Convention of Rome, 6 June 2005). Let us pray to the Lord, that families may come more and more to be small churches and that ecclesial communities may take on more and more the quality of a family!

Read the fully homily here and the CNS report of his Croatia visit here.

UPDATE: RomeReports provides video of the event — and notes in their accompanying article that 400,000 Croatians showed up for the papal Mass!!



  • Peter

    I am from Croatia and am very proud to have participated in these events.
    At Saturday, something like 30 000 young people came to Eucharistic adoration with the Pope in the capitol’s main square. During the silence you could hear birds singing…


    And after the adoration.. well – pure joy..


  • Christopher Bezzina

    I am going to print all these comments and use them for my next discussion with Catholic Theologians at our University. It will be great to analyse all your wonderful comments. Of course, apart making a bit of promo for this site, it will be great to reflect on how our Catholic faith is viewed in some parts of the world. :)

  • Christopher Bezzina

    This youtube link show how ex-gay doesn’t really happen. Leaders, themselves, who tried convert many,have uttered the truth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDiYeJ_bsQo&feature=player_embedded

    • Bruce

      There are many ex-homosexuals, and their stories are as easy to find as a simple Google search. The disorder of homosexuality is correctable in some cases, and in others it is not. Either way, it is a disorder and has to be managed, similar to alcoholism and bipolar disorder. http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2008/may/08050719 Anyway, no one is more upset that former disorder-devotees, such as myself, not only exist, but are vocal about the fact that homosexuality and other sexual disorders are not in-born nor unchangeable. In fact, homosexual activists, such as Chris here, tend to react with violence, intimidation, and lies to fight the fact that they really are uncomfortable with their lifestyle choice. Because what they do violates the Natural Law, they can never be happy, despite all attempts to do so. It is a tired little charade.

      • Christopher Bezzina

        “In fact, homosexual activists, such as Chris here, tend to react with violence, intimidation, and lies to fight the fact that they really are uncomfortable with their lifestyle choice.” Excuse me? Show me where I am being violent? Is entering into dialogue violent? Ow my god… Continue to judge me… Very Christian of you. According to you I am sad, depressing and need of attention… Ok no problem… incredible…

  • Bruce

    Lots of feelings and misinformation in these comments, which is typical of anything that speaks the truth regarding sexuality and marriage. The fact is that marriage requires two persons of complementary and opposite sex, who then join spiritually, mentally, and bodily in conjugal union. It is unique, since two or more men, two or more women, and persons alone cannot do the same thing. Homosexuals can only unite spiritually and mentally – also known as a close and personal friendship. They cannot unite organically (bodily) because they lack the necessary hardware. They simply cannot become one flesh in an act that finds its fulfillment in the conception of children. As for a married couple who find themselves infertile, their marriage is still perfectly valid, as they can still unite spiritually, mentally, and bodily. They still become one flesh – one system whose purpose is reproduction. Like the digestive system, which uses multiple organs to accomplish one task (provide nutrition to the body), the organs of male and female work together to accomplish one task as well (reproduction). However, just as one’s digestive system does not cease to exist if it does not always work properly (i.e. such as during a bout of illness or cancer), the conjugal union of male and female still exists if it does not result in procreation. A baseball team is still a baseball team if it does not win. So, in summary, only one man and one woman can become one flesh and be considered married. The unitive and procreative nature of authentic sex is always present in a married couple, regardless of extenuating circumstances that may not allow them to conceive. The nature of the sexual act is undisturbed: It is still unitive and ordered toward procreation. The same cannot be said of any physical activities which take place between two male friends or two female friends. Those activities are of a different kind or nature, and are neither unitive nor ordered toward procreation. They can never be considered “sex” nor can their relationships ever be considered “marriage.” God Bless!

    • Chris Bezzina

      Read ‘A framework for Christian Sexual Ethics’ by Margaret A. Farley. Then please reappraise what you just said.

      • Laura

        Read the Bible, the Cathecism, Theology of the body, Humanae Vitae…

  • Christopher Bezzina

    Is this not also worrying for families? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-13668627 I know I will get dislikes but honestly open your mind and think wider. I am proud of most Catholics in US who are in favor of LGBT rights and it is clear sign that people do not simply swallow moral theology they chew it and grow mature. – This is my last post. History will teach us what is truly right or wrong, the important thing is not to adopt a violent attitude towards those who disagree with our conventions.

    • davide

      @ Christpher: poppycock. The Catholic faith is always on the right side of history. Only those ignorant of history would think other wise. You have a bone to pick with the Church cause more than likely sexually active gay man. You blame the church to justify your own behavior. That is foolishness. Take responsibility for your actions and behavior than you can point fingers until the fields are crowded with the goats. At the end of the rainbow there is hope-and that hope is Jesus Christ.

      • Chris Bezzina

        “The Catholic faith is always on the right side of history.” – Agreed and what is this faith believing: in a set of rules? I doubt it… the Law doesn’t bring us to the Truth… The history of the Church is not always perfect. She is not the perfect bride (perfect meaning without sin)… perfect means she still needs to mature (Hebrew word). So please don’t portrait a perfect Church it doesn’t do justice to what the Saints teach us. The Church provides ideal rules, reality is not ideal though so we need to have options for those who do not fit in the ‘ideal’ boxes that the Church provides. If we don’t we are not doing what Christ did with the prostitute, with the Eunuch, with the non-jews, with the disabled, with the mentally ill, with the lepers…

        • Curios

          Chris, You choose to pick apart the words and actions of Jesus. First, the Church is perfect because God has told us Jesus is the Church, and Jesus is perfect as is God’s Word is perfect. Second, you forget to include that Jesus told the prostitute and ALL sinners to LISTEN to His Father’s Word and SIN NO MORE. You on the other hand, like the pharisees, take God’s Word and try to make it “fit” your own beliefs and thoughts. You try to make sin okay because it “fits” your lifestyle and makes you feel better about your actions that God has labeled as sin. Remember, it is not man that has condemned homosexual acts as sin, it is God that has condemned homosexual acts as grave sin. The Church will not change the message when the message is Truth, God’s Word and the Truth, Jesus. God bless.

    • Curiuos

      God has taught us right from wrong. History is history. The Trinity will NEVER be history, and the Trinity is TRUTH. I beg of you to turn to God instead of yourself. He is the only Truth with His Words and Laws, and neither is violent. Sin, on the other is VIOLENT. After all it is our sin against God that is the Passion of Jesus. Could get any more violent than sin against God. God Bless

      • Chris Bezzina

        Honestly you have no idea of what revelation of God in history is. I am not questioning Dogma here, not moral theology. Use different tools to reach a conclusion. I expect Catholics to employ their mind and heart too, not just follow a set of rules like the Jews in Christ times.

        • Curious

          Chris, I use the same tools that Jesus used when he walked this earth and the tools He uses today. I use His Father’s Words. Jesus tells us again and again to adhere to His Father’s Word. Jesus himself spoke only His Father’s Word. Depend on the Lord and not on your own understanding. God bless.

    • Bruce

      It is sad how woefully ignorant of Christ and His Church you are. Seek the help of a good catechist.

      • Christopher Bezzina

        I tolerated comments which do not agree with my comments. And I tolerate even if I can really unbroken all the comments theologically. But this comment which is patronizing I will never tolerate. You don’t know of my past, you don’t know of my Catechism history, my MA degrees in Theology in Malta which is fervent in Catholic Teaching. This attitude will only bring arrogant answers. Do you wish to tell me that my Jesuits and Carmalite teachers and spiritual directors do not provided me with the right Catechism? How arrogant of you. I am not ignorant I studied and still will continue to do so always with a critical mind and an open heart for God.

        • Bruce

          Now it is even more impressive how ignorant you are of the most basic tenants of Catholicism, despite your alleged education. Sorry, but your own posts display an incredible ignorance of the very faith you claim to have. Your protests against obvious and easy refutes to your claims are laughable, at best.

    • Laura

      So you’re proud of the people who disobey the Church Jesus stablished to get us to heaven because you know better than She? I’ve got news for you, that’s called being a protestant. The best you can do is own up to that fact and do not call yourself a catholic unless you decide to place The Church above your own opinions



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