The Pope received the Hungarian ambassador during the week, he had some very important things to say on marriage.
"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.
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 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.John Smeaton contrasts his words with the EngCath presentation:
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."
•Archbishop Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster, who said on BBC TV that he did not know "whether the Catholic church should one day accept the reality of gay partnerships"Ummm....
•Archbishop Nichols who said on BBC TV, the day after Pope Benedict left Britain for Rome, that the Catholic Bishops of Conference of England and Wales "did NOT oppose gay civil partnerships, we recognised that in English law there might be a case for those. We persistently said that these are not the same as marriage"
•Bishop McMahon, the bishop of Nottingham, who is open to headteachers of Catholic schools being in same sex unions and who says the Church is not opposed to civil partnerships (Bishop McMahon is chairman of the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales)
•Archbishop Nichols who, questioned about his support for the provision of Masses for homosexuals who openly dissent from Catholic teaching, told those who oppose what's going on to "hold their tongue".