Pope Urges Argentina to Reject Proposals to Legalize Abortion and Gay “Marriage”

Fri Dec 5, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

  ROME, December 5, 2008 ( - In his first meeting with Argentina’s new ambassador to the Vatican, Juan Pablo Cafiero , Pope Benedict XVI urged the Latin American nation to resist attempts to further decriminalize abortion and gay "marriage".

  In a written statement, which is customarily issued to new ambassadors, the Pope urged Argentina to maintain "the defense of human life from its conception until its natural death".

  He also noted the importance of "the defense of the family based on marriage between a man and a woman" and said that such concepts were "inalienable values" that should not be "at the mercy of political agreements",

  In addition to his comments about the values of human life and family, which have been under attack in Argentina during the last decade, the pope also urged "the adoption of measures that assist parents in their inalienable right to educate their children in their own ethical and religious convictions, as well as the promotion of young people, so that they may be men and women of peace and reconciliation."

  The pontiff also alluded to the Church’s stance in relationship to politics, which is to avoid excessive involvement in the process while continuing to point out the relevance of its teachings for government policy.

"The Church, without intending to convert itself into a political actor, aspires, with the independence of its moral authority, to cooperate loyally and openly with all of those responsible for the temporal order to achieve a civilization of justice, peace, reconciliation, and solidarity," said the Holy Father.

  Although pro-abortion and anti-family forces appeared to be making headway in Argentina under the regime of Nestor Kirchner, who was president from 2000-2007, under the presidency of his wife, Kristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the government has taken a position more favorable to life and family.

  The appointment of Cafiero follows on the heels of a long standoff between the Vatican and the Argentine government over the appointment of Alberto Iribarne, a divorced man, as ambassador to the Holy See.  After a nine-month impasse in which the Vatican refused to confirm the appointment, Iribarne withdrew his candidacy and was replaced by Cafiero.

  The rejection of Kuhn-Delforge and Tillinac follow a nine month impasse with Argentina’s President Kristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who also attempted to appoint a divorcee, Alberto Iribarne, as ambassador for the Holy See, without success.  Iribarne reportedly withdrew his candidacy and was replaced by Juan Pablo Cafiero, who was quickly approved by the Vatican.

  Although Argentinean society has a reputation for indifference to religion, Catholicism is still recognized as the official religion of the state in the nation’s constitution.

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