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Children need heterosexual parents, says pope after gay pride march

A lesbian couple kiss in front of the Colosseum during the annual gay pride parade in downtown Rome on June 15, 2013. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Max Rossi *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-POPE-GAYPRIDE, originally transmitted on June 15, 2015.
A lesbian couple kiss in front of the Colosseum during the annual gay pride parade in downtown Rome on June 15, 2013. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Max Rossi *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-POPE-GAYPRIDE, originally transmitted on June 15, 2015.

A lesbian couple kiss in front of the Colosseum during the annual gay pride parade in downtown Rome on June 15, 2013. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Max Rossi
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-POPE-GAYPRIDE, originally transmitted on June 15, 2015.

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis on Sunday (June 14) stressed the importance of children having heterosexual parents, just a day after Rome’s gay pride march demonstrated the changing attitudes about same-sex couples outside the Vatican walls.

Addressing around 25,000 followers from the Diocese of Rome, the pope said the differences between men and women are fundamental and “an integral part of being human.”

The pontiff likened a long-lasting marriage to a good wine, in which a husband and wife make the most of their gender differences.

“They’re not scared of the differences!” the pope said. “What great richness this diversity is, a diversity which becomes complementary, but also reciprocal. It binds them, one to the other.”

Heterosexual marriages not only ensured couples’ happiness, the pontiff said, but were deemed essential for good parenting.

“Children mature seeing their father and mother like this; their identity matures being confronted with the love their father and mother have, confronted with this difference,” Francis said.

But the priests of Rome may face difficulty in bringing the pontiff’s message to their communities, which are increasingly showing their openness to same-sex unions.

Francis’ address came a day after the city’s mayor, Ignazio Marino, marched alongside tens of thousands of people at the march.

The event’s success marked the shifting attitudes in predominantly Catholic Italy about same-sex couples, who currently have no legal status in the country.

Politicians from the political left and right have however agreed to start debating the legalization of civil partnerships, although marriage and gay adoption remain off the table.


About the author

Rosie Scammell

Rosie Scammell is a British journalist with extensive experience reporting for leading international news organizations. She has been based in Italy since 2012 and covers the Vatican for RNS.


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  • Well, gee, Mr. Pope, maybe you should be delivering that message to the heterosexual parents who produce the children who don’t seem to have any heterosexual parents.

    Naaaah. that would be too easy, and perhaps be a burden to Holy Heterosexuality.

    The issue, Mr. Pope, is not between having two parents of the opposite sex vs. two parents of the same sex. The issue is between having two parents of ANY sex and no parents at all. Unless, of course, all of those Catholic orphanages are jut not full enough to satisfy you.

  • My wife and I recently celebrated our 50th Wedding anniversary and find the pope’s words very apropos in calling a long-lasting heterosexual marriage” a
    good wine.” No matter how much Western culture tries to stand nature on its head in the end Mother Nature won’t be mocked. One example: According to a number of reputable surveys there are record amounts of deadly or destructive venereal disease working its way through the bloodstreams of this promiscuous generation which has made the mistake of believing so many modern lies about love and life.

  • As the Vicar of Christ on Earth, the Pope could never say otherwise. Of all the Religions on Earth, Catholicism will always be immovable on the subject of what constitutes a marriage…for it has no authority to change God’s definition. Bless you, Francis.

  • Congratulations on 50 years of marriage.

    My friends Andy and Paul just celebrated their 46th anniversary. They are both nearly 80. Two friends of a friend, Carlos and Willem, just celebrated their 55th. They are both 85. I have a number of friends who have been together anywhere from 20 to 46 years, and I know of literally hundreds more.

    Their marriages are also a good wine. One does not need to be heterosexual for that.

  • Thanks for the names, Ben. We will be praying for their merciful judgment. You are a good man; that is how God works. We all need to take care of one another.

  • Ben,

    Well said.
    My Atheist wife and I are celebrating our 30th Anniversary this year.
    Our best friends Robert and Henry have been together for 46 years.

    The Pope’s insinuation that only heterosexual believers have great, long marriages is ignorant, bigoted and disgraceful. He should be ashamed of himself to talk like that to the world stage! It is 2015 not 1520.

  • Ben, he was emphasizing the entire economy of the married life of a man and a woman, whose married love produces children, and the continuation of family and family life that spans generations, growing in many directions like the branches of a tree (family tree). Sadly gay love doesn’t produce children, nor does it perpetuate for generations. And most importantly, it is against the Will of God. And that last point is the one I wish people would embrace, as eternity lasts forever, this life is only a passing moment. And I do not want to see anyone end up in torment forever. It’s pretty scary listening to this guy talk about it.

  • Greg,

    “against the Will of God.”

    The Will of God: Death by Smallpox, Polio & Measles
    The Will of Man: Life by Vaccination

    The will of God is overrated nonsense. If he truly exists, he ruins everything.

  • Against the will of God? How can that be if he is omnipotent? How can little old me can stand against his will, and thrive and be happy? In fact, if I believed in your particular, peculiar version of God, I would have to believe that he has blessed my life profusely, as it has been a good, happy, and healthy one.

    If that is the extent of his power, then I sneer in his general direction.

    Oh, wait! You’re going to tell me that he’s going to get me after I die. Presumably then I will be powerless against him. I have to say that if this is how he plays the game, I can’t say much for his morals. But then, I’ve never thought much of a God who murders the entire population of the world for their sins, including the little babies who couldn’t sin even if they wanted to, but somehow forgot that the people that remained had the stain of Original Sin, and thus were still doomed by his own rule book.

    It seems neither very moral nor very smart. But that’ skits me.

  • As for gay love not producing babies, well, I suppose that’s true. But then, the vast amount of heterosexual sex that occurs doesn’t produce babies, either. I also think it’s basically quite silly to say, “if you’re not here to reproduce, then what on earth are you here for?”

    Of course, I also know a number of gay people that have produced, either from previous heterosexual relationships, or deliberately, outside of their primary relationship. I haven’t seen one set of gay parents yet in my personal life that weren’t superb at, producing rather superb children.

    But you know what I have seen? Gay people stepping in, adopting the cast off, unwanted products of irresponsible heterosexual reproduction, and often, the kids that Holy Heterosexuals refuse to adopt because the kids are defective.

    Perhaps that’s what your omnipotent, omniscient God had in mind for gay people, but you are just too blinded and Dulled by prejudice masquerading as righteousness to see it…

  • Ben you are only emphasizing a point I made on another blog, and that is man has become vain. He seeks to center his life on himself, rather than others. As to why God has not intervened into your life to end your relationship, well, that is not how He does things. He lets us live our lives to their determined length, and calls each of us every day to Himself. Those who respond, will enjoy being in His Presence for all eternity. Those who do not, will be cast from His Presence for all eternity. The human soul–apart from the body–is like a magnet that is drawn to God, and if that soul is eternally isolated from God, then it enters into a state of total torment for ever. Watch that video I linked up a few. That guy in his simple way of speaking, is actually communicating some excellent theology.

  • Nice !! I will stand with God, the Bible, creation, biology, common sense and the Pope on this one.

  • Well, Greg, I guess if you don’t really have an answer, the best thing to do is to change the subject to something vague and unprovable, and then to answer THAT.

    Man is becoming vain? Wow! sounds ominous.

    What about the vanity of declaring that you– a generic you– speak for the god who created the entire, infinite universe, down to the last Higgs Boson?

    What about the vanity of trying to contain that same infinite god within the covers of an ancient, much edited, and badly translated book from 2000 years ago, a book which you have yourself admitted comes from many different authors, and which frequently contradicts itself?

    What about the vanity of YOU claiming that God has confided in you all of his purposes, and the status of his relationship with any other person on the planet? What about the vanity of claiming “That’s not how God works.”, your certainty that God WILL get me after death, the knowledge of his purpose for ALL others.

    VANITY– thy name is CHRISTIAN.

  • Feel free. The rest of us will use our heads and human decency, and reject the pope’s ignorant advice.

  • Ben, believe me when I tell you I do not want you to end up in the eternal abyss. That is a horrible place, where there are endless screams and sufferings. I am not changing the subject, but only shifting to its logical conclusion. As for the Bible, well that is certainly part of my Faith, but also the constant teaching of the Catholic Church for the last 2000 years, which we call Tradition, is all part of it. It all says the same thing, from every part of the world, and from every sense of revelation. Neither I, nor the Church, simply rely upon one narrow interpretation of the Bible. No, we look at the whole economy of Revelation, the full perspective: Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church (its teaching office).

  • Obviously the Pope has his scientific facts perfect.

    You don’t have to be married or even sexually active to know that homosexuality cannot produce offspring.

    And his theology is honest and perfect as well. Marriage is man and woman/husband an wife.

    Yup, the Pope, an honest man on this one.

  • What orphanages? There haven’t been any for years. Huge lineups for adoption, though.

  • Greg
    Thanks for hanging in with atheist ben. Of course the god they don’t believe in is an uncaring god.