Q. I have heard many pundits from the MSM (mainstream media) declare that Pope Francis wants to redefine marriage. Is this true?
A. No, this is simply not the case. People who say these things are clearly not reading the Pope’s actual writings on this issue, or paying any attention to his homilies. That Pope Francis wishes to uphold Catholic teaching on sexual morality and marriage (which cannot be changed, at any rate) should have been abundantly clear when the Pontiff beatified his predecessor, Paul VI, at the conclusion of the recent Synod on the family. Pope Paul VI himself suffered greatly because of his defense of marriage, and is a personal hero to Pope Francis.
Q. What did Pope Francis say in his opening remarks at the Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman this past week at the Vatican?
A. This is a very important conference indeed. What stood out to me in particular was the brilliant connection the Pontiff drew between marriage and ecology. In a world where so many people are (quite rightly) concerned about the environment, it is so often forgotten that the “environment” of human society is the family. As the Holy Father said, “we must foster a new human ecology” by strengthening marriage. Here is a great quote from his speech (translated from the original Italian):
“We know that today marriage and the family are in crisis. We now live in a culture of the temporary, in which more and more people are simply giving up on marriage as a public commitment. This revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.
“Evidence is mounting that the decline of the marriage culture is associated with increased poverty and a host of other social ills, disproportionately affecting women, children and the elderly. It is always they who suffer the most in this crisis.
“The crisis in the family has produced an ecological crisis, for social environments, like natural environments, need protection. And although the human race has come to understand the need to address conditions that menace our natural environments, we have been slower to recognize that our fragile social environments are under threat as well, slower in our culture, and also in our Catholic Church. It is therefore essential that we foster a new human ecology.”