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Pope Against Sanctioning Nontraditional Families

Mon., Dec. 29, 1997

Pope John Paul II lashed out Sunday against society’s sanctioning of nontraditional families, saying it “disfigures” the traditional family structure.

“The family is the foundation and safeguard of a truly free and compact society,” the pope told pilgrims gathered in the courtyard of his summer palace for his traditional Sunday noon blessing.

Against myriad threats, it is urgent to safeguard and promote the family’s “authentic rights,” the pontiff said.

Among the dangers John Paul named were “poverty, unemployment, the shortage of housing, the mentality contrary to the gift of life, and even favorable to the very elimination of life with abortion and euthanasia.”

He also expressed concern for the many elderly forced to live outside their homes and without the attention of loved ones.

During his blessing, John Paul also appeared to be attacking society for condoning new forms of families: “Alongside these very worrisome phenomena, even more grave are the threats that directly attack the structure of the family and disfigure its aspect and role in society.”

Italian media recently devoted extensive coverage to a U.S. court decision opening the way for gays and other unmarried couples to adopt children. And the Vatican repeatedly has condemned use of reproductive methods such as implanting embryos from one woman to another and surrogate mothers.

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