By Chris Kramer
September 12, 2007 — Earlier this month, Pope Benedict XVI decried divorce and the deterioration of family values in today's society, and then urged 300,000 pilgrims to Loreto, Italy to restore their faith in the institution of marriage.
Speaking at a weekend festival intended to refuel Italian Catholic youth, Benedict expressed his worries that the current crisis in traditional family values would become irreversible. After hearing stories from the young pilgrims about their broken home lives, Benedict told the crowd that he and the whole Roman Catholic Church were praying for them.
Benedict acknowledged that failed love and family values were all around today's youth. The pope posed various rhetorical questions to reinforce his message about the need to return to family values. Specifically, Benedict asked the crowd:
Benedict has frequently called for the need to bolster family values. He has also been a staunch supporter of the need to support "traditional marriage" between a man and a woman.
Of futher interest, this rally was organized by the Italian bishops conference, which is opposing legislation in the country that would give same-sex couples some new rights.
The Italian bishops conference has also launched a massive campaign in favor of traditional families.
In addition to serving as a means to call for the restoration of traditional marriage, the Loreto meeting was also a forum to promote Benedict's vision of an eco-friendly and greener planet. The young pilgrims were given a variety of environmentally-friendly products, including thermal packs made out of recycled nylon, biodegradable plates for their food, and hand-cranked battery chargers.
Of further note, the Loreto meeting was the first of three meetings to be sponsored by the Italian bishops conference this year.
Ultimately, the Loreto meeting reveals that questions surrounding "non-traditional" marriages, same-sex rights and divorce are not just limited to the United States and landmark cases like the one below.
Just this past May, the Rhode Island Supreme Court agreed to rule on the divorce rights of a gay couple married in Massachusetts, the only state in the United States in which gay marriage is legal. This decision was applauded by some and chastised by conservative groups. You can read more about this landmark divorce case in the following article: