By John-Henry Westen

VATICAN, January 12, 2006 ( – Pope Benedict XVI addressed Italian politicians today noting the importance of laws protecting life and family. In Italy, homosexual ‘marriage’ has already surfaced in political debate. The Pope told the assembled politicians, “It is a grave error to obscure the value and the functions of the legitimate family based on marriage, attributing to other forms of union inappropriate forms of legal recognition, for which there is no real social need.”

Benedict also informed his listeners that it was not a Catholic or even religious matter, but one of protecting society from harm.“What we are talking about here are not norms particular to Catholic morals, but elementary truths that concern our shared humanity. To respect them is essential for the good of the individual and of society. These truths, then, appeal both to your responsibility as public administrators and to your normative duties,” he said.

The Holy Father also asked that attention be given to “the protection of nascent human life,” that there be no lack of “concrete assistance” to pregnant women experiencing difficulties, and that there be no introduction of drugs “that hide in one way or another the severity of abortion as a choice against life. In an aging society,” he added, “help for the elderly and all the complex problems concerning the health care of citizens become ever more important.”

(with files from the Vatican Information Service)