Pope: Europe Won't Be Europe Without Marriage

Notes Hungary’s Efforts to Affirm Christian Legacy

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is underlining the importance of defending marriage, asserting that without this basic cell of society, Europe has much to lose.

The Pope stated this today upon receiving in audience Gabor Gyorivanyi, the new Hungarian ambassador to the Holy See.

“Marriage and the family constitute the decisive foundation for a healthy development of the civil society of countries and peoples,” the Pontiff affirmed.

He noted that “marriage as a basic form of ordering the relationship between man and woman and, at the same time, as basic cell of the state community, has also been molded by biblical faith.”

“Thus marriage has given Europe its particular aspect and its humanism, also and precisely because it has had to learn to acquire continually the characteristic of fidelity and of renunciation traced by it,” the Holy Father said.

He asserted, “Europe will no longer be Europe if this basic cell of the social construction disappears or is substantially transformed.”

“We all know how much risk marriage and the family run today,” Benedict XVI acknowledged.

He explained that on one hand, these are at risk “because of the erosion of its most profound values of stability and indissolubility, because of a growing liberalization of the right of divorce and of the custom, increasingly widespread, of man and woman living together without the juridical form and protection of marriage.”

No foundation

On the other hand, the Pope added, it is “because of the different types of union which have no foundation in the history of the culture and of law in Europe.”

“The Church cannot approve legislative initiatives that imply a valuation of alternative models of the life of the couple and the family,” he stated.

“These contribute to the weakening of the principles of the natural law and, hence, to the relativization of the whole of legislation, in addition to the awareness of values in society,” the Pontiff said.

Thus he affirmed that “the Holy See notes with interest of the efforts of the political authorities to elaborate a change in the constitution,” which would “make reference in the preamble to the legacy of Christianity.”

The Holy Father added, “Also desirable is that the new constitution be inspired by Christian values, particularly in what concerns the position of marriage and the family in society and the protection of life.”

He affirmed that Hungary “has had an important place in the community of nations.”

As a member of the European Union, Benedict XVI continued, the country “makes an important contribution to the chorus of more voices of the states of Europe.”

He noted in particular that next year, “for the first time, it will be Hungary’s turn to assume the presidency of the Council of the European Union.”

The Pope also mentioned that “after the renewal if diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Hungary in 1990, it has been possible to develop new trust for an active and constructive dialogue with the Catholic Church.”

He expressed the hope “that the profound wounds of that materialistic vision of man, which took hold of the hearts and of the community of citizens of your country for almost 45 years, can continue to be healed in a climate of peace, liberty and respect for the dignity of man.”

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: www.zenit.org/article-31138?l=english

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