Pope Benedict has signalled his firm opposition to same-sex marriage
Pope Benedict has signalled his firm opposition to same-sex marriage

Pope Benedict revealed he believes that gay marriage is one of several threats to the traditional family unit which undermines "the future of humanity itself."

In his annual 'State of the World' speech given to diplomats from nearly 180 countries, Pope Benedict XVI, 84, unleashed what some may consider his biggest denouncement of gay marriage yet.

The Pope made his comments during a new year address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Vatican, suggesting that gay marriage is among several conventions that undermine the family" and "threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself," Reuters reported.

"This is not a simple convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society," said the Pontiff. "Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself."

The Catholic Church, which has over 1.2 billion followers worldwide, teaches that homosexual acts are a sin and officials around the word have protested against move to legalize gay marriage across Europe and other developing countries worldwide.

Next month, the Pope plans to elevate New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, a leading opponent of gay marriage in the U.S, to the position of cardinal.

Gay marriage is legal in some European countries, including Spain and the Netherlands.

Pope Benedict also spoke about other issues around the world during his new address, including the global financial crisis and events which occurred during this the Arab Spring.

"Here I cannot fail to address before all else the grave and disturbing developments of the global economic and financial crisis.

"The crisis has not only affected families and businesses in the more economically advanced countries where it originated, creating a situation in which many people, especially the young, have felt disoriented and frustrated in their aspirations for a serene future, but it has also had a profound impact on the life of developing countries," Benedict said.

"I am deeply concerned for the people of those countries where hostilities and acts of violence continue, particularly Syria, where I pray for a rapid end to the bloodshed and the beginning of a fruitful dialogue between the political forces, encouraged by the presence of independent observers

"I am also following closely the developments in Iraq, and I deplore the attacks that have recently caused so much loss of life; I encourage the nation's leaders to advance firmly on the path to full national reconciliation," he added.

Pope Benedict revealed he believes that gay marriage is one of several threats to the traditional family unit which undermines "the future of humanity itself."

In his annual 'State of the World' speech given to diplomats from nearly 180 countries, Pope Benedict XVI, 84, unleashed what some may consider his biggest denouncement of gay marriage yet.

The Pope made his comments during a new year address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Vatican, suggesting that gay marriage is among conventions that undermine the family" and "threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself," Reuters reported.

"This is not a simple convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society," said the Pontiff. "Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself."

The Catholic Church, which has over 1.2 billion followers worldwide, teaches that homosexual acts are a sin and officials around the word have protested against move to legalize gay marriage across Europe and other developing countries worldwide.

Next month, the Pope plans to elevate New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, a leading opponent of gay marriage in the U.S, to the position of cardinal.

Gay marriage is legal in some European countries, including Spain and the Netherlands.

Pope Benedict also spoke about other issues around the world during his new address, including the global financial crisis and events which occurred during this the Arab Spring.

"Here I cannot fail to address before all else the grave and disturbing developments of the global economic and financial crisis.

"The crisis has not only affected families and businesses in the more economically advanced countries where it originated, creating a situation in which many people, especially the young, have felt disoriented and frustrated in their aspirations for a serene future, but it has also had a profound impact on the life of developing countries," Benedict said.

"I am deeply concerned for the people of those countries where hostilities and acts of violence continue, particularly Syria, where I pray for a rapid end to the bloodshed and the beginning of a fruitful dialogue between the political forces, encouraged by the presence of independent observers

"I am also following closely the developments in Iraq, and I deplore the attacks that have recently caused so much loss of life; I encourage the nation's leaders to advance firmly on the path to full national reconciliation," he added.