Christians have a duty to protect marriage, warns Pope

Christians have a duty to protect marriage as a covenant between man and woman, according to Pope Francis.

Continuing his series of Wednesday audiences on creation and the family, the Pontiff said sin can generate distrust and division between men and women, whose relationship can be “undermined by a thousand forms of abuse and subjugation”.

Saying that history bears the scar of this, he cited as “negative excesses of patriarchal cultures” the many ways in which women have been thought of as second-class and the current media tendency to exploit and commercialise the female body.

He warned against the “recent epidemic of distrust, scepticism, and even hostility” that was spreading in our culture towards marriage, which he described as “a covenant between man and woman that is capable, at the same time, of refining the intimacy of communion and of guarding the dignity of difference”.

Lamenting how “the social devaluation for the stable and generative alliance between man and woman is certainly a loss for everyone”, the Holy Father appealed: “We must return marriage and the family to the place of honour!”

Citing the constant teaching of Genesis 2:24, as repeated by Jesus and St Paul, the Holy Father said of marriage: “The Bible says something beautiful: man finds woman, they meet and man must leave something in order to find her fully. That is why man will leave his father and mother to go to her. It’s beautiful! This means setting out on a new path. Man is everything for woman and woman is everything for man.

“The responsibility of guarding this covenant between man and woman is ours, although we are sinners and are wounded, confused and humiliated, discouraged and uncertain; it is nevertheless for us believers a demanding and gripping vocation in today’s situation,” he said.

Three days after Pope Francis’ comments, 5,000 people gathered at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. for the third annual March for Marriage, at which Louisville, Kentucky’s Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, described attempts to redefine marriage as “the greatest social experiment of our time”.