Pope to French bishops: fight gay marriage

The pope on Friday urged French bishops to fight for the traditional family based on marriage between a man and a woman, saying the battle "is not reactionary."

Pope to French bishops: fight gay marriage
Photo: Sergey Gabdurakhmanov

While the French government prepares to legalise homosexual marriage, Pope Benedict XVI spoke to around 30 bishops from western France, without mentioning the draft law but clearly referring to the debate around it.

During the feast of the Assumption on August 15th, France's Roman Catholic bishops invited their followers to say a prayer that was interpreted as a stand against homosexual marriage, sparking a row in France.

"Defending life and the family in society is not at all reactionary but rather prophetic because it comes back to promoting values which allow for the full blossoming of the human person, created in the image and resemblance of God," the pope said.

"We have there a true challenge to take on," he told the bishops at his summer home of Castel Gandolfo.

The family, "the foundation of social life," is threatened in many places, following a concept of human nature that has "proven defective," he said.

For the pope, "marriage and family are institutions which must be promoted and guaranteed …."

The working visits "ad limina" by the French bishops that will continue until December are the first to be made under the pontificate of Benedict XVI.

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French student beaten for defending gay couple given private audience with Pope

Pope Francis held a private audience Wednesday with a French student critically injured in 2016 defending a gay couple who were kissing in the street in the French city of Lyon.

French student beaten for defending gay couple given private audience with Pope
Photo: AFP

“An incredible encounter with an exceptional man… I am thinking of you all on this special day for me. I leave full of strength, courage and hope,” the 20-year-old wrote on the Facebook page of the association “Je soutiens Marin” (I support Marin), created by his parents and followed by nearly 200,000 people.

On 11 November 2016, Marin, then a third-year university student studying law and political science, came to the defence of a gay couple who were being attacked by a gang of youths after kissing at a bus stop.

Marin's alleged aggressor, a minor at the time of the incident, attacked him from behind, repeatedly clubbing him over the head with a crutch.

The young student spent weeks in a coma and had to undergo surgery to remove quarter of his skull to make room for the huge hematoma that had formed.

The attack left him with severe neurological damage and after several operations Marin now resides in a rehabilitation centre in Switzerland.

In the aftermath of the incident, messages and gestures of support flooded in for Marin with charity and sports events being organised in Lyon in his

Over social media Marin documents his long rehabilitation process and his relatives have created an association, “Head Held High” to support victims of head trauma.