By Hilary White

  ROME, May 28, 2007 ( – Pope Benedict XVI has praised the massive gathering of supporters of natural marriage and the family held May 12th at the threshold of St. John Lateran Basilica, his own Cathedral church as Bishop of Rome.

  In a speech to the Italian bishops, the Pope called the gathering a “great and extraordinary popular festival that showed how the family is profoundly rooted in the heart and life of Italians.”

  He said, “While fully and cordially respecting the distinction between Church and politics… we cannot but concern ourselves with what is good for mankind.”

  The demonstration was organized in response to a bill that proposes to grant similar rights to unmarried couples and homosexual partners as those of natural marriages. Organizers were surprised at the enormous turnout: having expected about 100,000, by the end of the day conservative estimates put the crowd at 1.5 million.

“It certainly contributed to making everyone more aware of the significance and role of the family in society, in the face of a culture that deludes itself that it favours happiness by a unilateral insistence on individual freedom.”

  The speech also praised the Italian bishops for their “clear witness” of the truth concerning marriage and family. “Every initiative of the state in favour of the family must be appreciated and encouraged,” Pope Benedict said.

  In the meantime, two Italian legislators who are pushing for legal recognition of cohabiting partners, including homosexuals, have organized a conference in Florence to help introduce family policies that are “more European and more modern”.

  Read related coverage:
  1.5 Million Italians Turn Out in Massive Rome Protest Against Homosexual Civil Unions

  Pope and Italian President Give Public Backing to Bishop Threatened over Opposition to Homosexuality


Commenting Guidelines
LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.