Monday 2 December 2013

Croatia helps protect the future of humanity by upholding true marriage

Yesterday the people of Croatia voted in a referendum on the question: “Do you support the introduction of a provision into the constitution of the Republic of Croatia that defines marriage as a life-long union of a woman and a man?”

65.8% of those who voted said yes, 33.5% said no. The turnout was 37%.

Croatia's president, government and mainstream media opposed the referendum. However, a petition numbering almost 750,000 signatures, organised by the Catholic group "In the name of the family", enabled the referendum to be held.

The BBC reported that Cardinal Josip Bozanic, the archbishop of Zagreb, said in a letter read out in churches that: 
"Marriage is the only union enabling procreation. This is the key difference between a marriage... and other unions."
What Croatia has achieved helps to protect the future of humanity. Anthony McCarthy, SPUC's education and publications manager, has said:
"Moves which undermine marriage by redefining it out of existence will inevitably impact harmfully on society. [W]here traditional marriage has been weakened and where the sexual revolution has been fostered by those who wish to displace the central role of traditional marriage in society, children suffer, and unborn children suffer most."
Catholic teaching on marriage puts the Catholic Church, of course, in the vanguard of discussions on this topic. It’s therefore important to note what recent Popes have said:

Pope (now emeritus) Benedict said last January in an address to the world's ambassadors to the Holy See:
"In addition to a clear goal, that of leading young people to a full knowledge of reality and thus of truth, education needs settings. Among these, pride of place goes to the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman. This is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself. The family unit is fundamental for the educational process and for the development both of individuals and States; hence there is a need for policies which promote the family and aid social cohesion and dialogue. It is in the family that we become open to the world and to life..."
Pope Francis, in his first encylical Lumen Fidei, wrote (section 52):
"I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage. This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf.Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan."
And in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis says (section 66):
"The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children. Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensible contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple. As the French bishops have taught, it is not born “of loving sentiment, ephemeral by definition, but from the depth of the obligation assumed by the spouses who accept to enter a total communion of life”.[60]

[60] CONFÉRENCE DES ÉVÊQUES DE FRANCE, Conseil Famille et Société, Élargir le mariage aux personnes de même sexe? Ouvrons le débat! (28 September 2012).
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