Irondale, Ala., Feb 15, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Deacon R. William Steltemeier, Jr., founding CEO of the Eternal World Television Network, died in Hanceville, Ala. on Feb. 15 at the age of 83 after a lengthy illness.
Michael P. Warsaw, current network president and CEO, called Deacon Steltemeier “a man of incredible faithfulness,” noting that only EWTN founder Mother Angelica was more closely associated with the network.
“As a husband, a father, an attorney and in his vocation as a permanent deacon, Bill always remained focused on serving God and serving others,” Warsaw said.
“He devoted himself totally to Mother Angelica’s mission and sacrificed all he had to help her build EWTN into the tremendous vehicle for evangelization that it has become.”
Warsaw added: “While we mourn his passing, we take comfort from his own example of faith and are confident he has heard those words from the Gospel of Matthew, 'Well done good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your master.'”
Deacon Steltemeier was born in Nashville, Tenn. on June 6, 1929. He married Ramona Schnupp on Aug. 22, 1953. He graduated from Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt Law School before entering the U.S. Army and serving for two years in France.
He co-founded the law firm of Steltemeier & Westbrooke in Nashville in 1960. The firm specializes in bankruptcy and commercial law and continues to operate today.?
Bishop Joseph A. Durick of Nashville ordained Steltemeier to the diaconate on April 26, 1975. He was among the first American men ordained to the permanent diaconate.
Deacon Steltemeier first met Mother Angelica at a legal convention in Chicago in March 1978.
When he heard Mother Angelica speak, he heard an inner voice say “Until the day you die.” He believed this to mean his life would be dedicated to serving Mother Angelica.
When EWTN was founded in 1980, Deacon Steltemeier became its first president and board member. He resigned from his law firm in 1985 to serve EWTN full-time. He commuted from his Nashville home to EWTN headquarters in Irondale, Ala. for 22 years.
In 2000, the deacon succeeded Mother Angelical as EWTN's chairman and CEO. He and his wife moved to Hanceville, Ala. in 2002. He retired as CEO in 2009, but was re-elected chairman of EWTN’s Board of Governors the same year.
Deacon Steltemeier worked in various aspects of prison ministry and prisoner rehabilitation. In 1975, the Governor of Tennessee appointed him to the state’s review board for prison reform. He also served as Catholic chaplain to the Tennessee State Prison for Men.
In October 2009, Pope Benedict XVI awarded Deacon Steltemeier the pontifical medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.
The deacon is survived by his wife of 59 years, his brother Fred Steltemeier of Nashville, and several nieces. His son Rudy Steltemeier III and daughter-in-law Debra Steltemeier preceded him in death.
New York City, N.Y., Feb 15, 2013 (CNA) -
As New York debates Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed bill to strengthen legal abortion, a new survey shows that 75 percent of locals oppose the bill's provision allowing non-doctors to perform abortions.
“Governor Cuomo’s proposed changes in New York's abortion laws are clearly out of the political mainstream,” Greg Pfundstein, president of the New York City-based Chiaroscuro Foundation, said Feb. 13.
“While it is difficult to imagine having even less abortion regulation in New York, Gov. Cuomo's special interest allies in the abortion lobby have come up with a few ideas, and they are all extremely unpopular.”
The Chiaroscuro Foundation commissioned the McLaughlin & Associates survey firm to poll 600 likely general election voters in New York state. The survey claims a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.
Almost 79 percent of respondents said there is already sufficient access to abortion in the state and 80 percent oppose allowing unlimited abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. Almost 80 percent favor a 24-hour waiting period on abortion, while 76 percent favor requiring parental notification for a minor seeking an abortion.
Eighty-six percent of respondents favor regulating abortion clinics as strictly as other medical facilities.
Gov. Cuomo is pushing for the passage of the Reproductive Health Act, which would strengthen the position of legal abortion in state law.
The legislation would create a “fundamental right” for a woman to end a pregnancy.
Opponents of the bill say it would allow almost unrestricted abortion in New York including late-term abortions. The legislation would allow any licensed “health care practitioner,” including non-doctors, to perform abortions.
Pfundstein said allowing non-doctors as abortionists seems “bound to make New York less safe for women.”
“It is imperative for Governor Cuomo to listen to what pro-choice and pro-life New Yorkers actually think before he acts in haste on this radical legislative proposal,” he said.
The proposed abortion law would prevent any regulations such as parental notification for a minor considering abortion. If the legislation passes, an abortionist who kills a woman during an abortion would no longer be charged with manslaughter.
The survey of New Yorkers found that 87 percent of respondents favor providing pregnant women information about their options before the women decide whether to have abortions. Another 68 percent of respondents favor providing free medical care to mothers who carry their pregnancy to term.
Chiaroscuro Foundation spokeswoman Meg McDonnell said the survey shows “women want and deserve more choices, not more abortion.”
“New York’s elected officials should take a close look at this data and work on making abortions rarer, not more commonplace and more dangerous,” she said. “Those pushing for this legislation are far out of the mainstream and they need to be called on it.”
Critics say the bill’s conscience protections are so narrow that they could bar continued state funds to hospitals and clinics if they refuse to perform abortions. Some provisions could decertify Catholic hospitals on the grounds they “discriminate” by not performing or referring for abortions.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York City in a Jan. 9 letter to Gov. Cuomo voiced “great disappointment” with the governor’s decision to propose the legislation, saying the move would increase New York’s “scandalous” abortion rate.
“There was a time when abortion supporters claimed they wanted to make abortion 'safe, legal and rare,'” he said.
The bill could face insurmountable opposition in the New York Senate, but advocates on both sides of the bill are working hard to secure allies.
The Chiaroscuro Foundation is one of the many groups working to reduce the abortion rate in New York City, which has one of the highest abortion rates in the country. Over 40 percent of pregnancies in the city end in abortion, almost twice the national average. The abortion rate is especially high among pregnant African-American women in the city, with 60 percent having abortions.
Results for the foundation’s full poll of New Yorkers are available at the website NYC41percent.com.
Huntington, Ind., Feb 15, 2013 (CNA) -
Pope Benedict has used his pontificate to advance the new evangelization and to speak to the modern world, said the president of a leading Catholic publication.
“During his eight-year pontificate, he used the Chair of Peter as a pulpit from which to address the challenges and the hopes of modern society,” Greg Erlandson, president and publisher of Our Sunday Visitor, said Feb. 11.
“His three encyclicals...all spoke to his concerns, and revealed both a solicitude for modern men and women in the midst of immense cultural transformation and an unshakable faith that our hope remained always and essentially in Christ.”
On Monday, Pope Benedict announced his decision to resign from his papal duties, effective Feb. 28.
The Holy Father cited concerns of advancing age and declining strength, saying that for these reasons, he is unable to “adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”
Erlandson said the pontiff has been a “great gift” to the Church. He noted his collaboration with John Paul II, and the continuity between their pontificates.
“He continued and made a centerpiece of his pontificate the New Evangelization first proclaimed by John Paul II. He saw clearly that the Church itself needed to be reinvigorated and renewed, and it was in this spirit that he assembled the recent synod of bishops in October.”
The publisher believes that Pope Benedict's papacy will be remembered both for his travels, including those to the U.S., U.K, Lebanon, and Cuba, as well as for his writings.
“He wrote with great intellectual and stylistic clarity, which made him one of the most accessible and widely read popes of the last century,” said Erlandson.
His efforts to address the clergy sex abuse scandal, both as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and as pope, will also be part of his legacy.
“Ultimately, however, we will miss him as much for his humility as for his wisdom, humility embodied in his decision to resign from the papacy for the good of the Church Universal,” concluded Erlandson.
“A monumental theologian of the 20th century, and the first new pope of the Third Millennium, we believe that Pope Benedict will be remembered for his dedication to the renewal of the Church and its people.”
Denver, Colo., Feb 15, 2013 (CNA) -
A lawyer involved in prominent religious liberty cases says the American Civil Liberties Union's opposition to religious exemptions will ultimately discriminate against believers.
Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said the ACLU supports restrictions that “would relegate many religious citizens into second-class status.”
This is shown by efforts aimed at “disqualifying them from many parts of public life, including providing certain kinds of social services or even running a larger business,” he told CNA Feb. 11.
The attorney's remarks come in reaction to an address by Louise Melling, a deputy legal director of the ACLU. She addressed the Colorado chapter's 2013 annual membership meeting, held Feb. 9 in Denver on the University of Denver campus.
Melling discussed what she saw as “the limits of religious liberty” in current issues like religious objections to the federal mandate requiring contraception coverage in health insurance plans and the legal position of institutions and businesses with moral reservations about treating same-sex couples like married couples.
She also presented the position of the national ACLU, which has strongly opposed religious exemptions.
“If you're an institution and you open your doors to the public, you hire people of different faiths and you serve people of different faiths, at some level, you should play by the public rules,” she said.
“The questions of whether an exemption is appropriate in today’s battles are no different than questions of whether we tolerated exemptions in the civil rights era.”
Melling compared present controversies to lawsuits against businesses in the American South that refused to serve black customers on religious grounds and lawsuits against religious schools that paid women less than men because of religious beliefs that men are the heads of households.
“We’re trying to remedy a second-class status that has been imposed on many of us,” she said. “We’re seeking to foster equality, but also to end the stigma that has been associated with all that discrimination.”
In response, Rassbach said Melling “attempts to tar religious organizations with the broad brush of 'discrimination.'”
“But if her simplistic approach is to be believed, then 'discrimination' is everywhere: people exercise religious preferences in whom they marry, whom they associate with, where they go to school, or whom they choose to be their clergy, among many other areas of life.”
“If this is 'discrimination' then we are all discriminators.”
He said the law only restricts “invidious discrimination” and not “religious preferences that are a natural and in some cases an essential part of what it means to be religious.”
“The Supreme Court recognized as much in the Hosanna-Tabor case decided last year when it rejected arguments very similar to Melling's,” Rassbach said, referencing the Jan. 2012 ruling which upheld the right for religious groups to make employment decisions without government interference.
During her remarks, Melling also expressed surprise at the more than 40 lawsuits challenging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' new requirement that employer health care plans provide coverage for sterilization and contraception, including some drugs that can cause abortion.
Violators face heavy fines, but many organizations and business owners say they cannot provide those drugs and procedures to their employees in good conscience.
Melling, who said the number of lawsuits is “completely unusual,” gave her own defense of the mandate.
“Contraception is essential to women's equality,” she said. “Contraception let us control decisions about education, about family, about how we structure our lives.”
She said that the refusal of contraception, in some sense, means “that the proper role of women is either to be mothers, and accept pregnancies, or not to be sexual beings, except for the purposes of procreation.”
“Those are the kind of antiquated stereotypes that used to permeate this country and in a whole different range of ways we said 'no' to,” she continued, contending that religious exemptions for companies are “reinforcing or at least supporting that kind of view.”
Rassbach, whose legal group has filed many legal challenges to the HHS mandate, was dismissive of this claim.
“Melling's definition of ‘antiquated’ must be different than the normal sense of that word, since before August 2011 the law did not prevent employers to follow religious conscience with respect to their insurance plan coverage,” he told CNA.
“Was there rampant stereotyping going on that no one happened to notice?”
He added that the only federal Court of Appeals to consider the question has rejected the idea that the refusal to provide contraception in health care plans constitutes illegal sex discrimination.
Melling also acknowledged to the ACLU membership meeting that the U.S. bishops are engaged in “a very serious campaign to try to educate people about what they perceive as the dramatic threat to religious liberty.”
She noted the U.S. bishops' Fortnight for Freedom campaign and other initiatives like their letters to the Catholic faithful.
Melling also questioned the Obama administration’s recent changes to the mandate, which the administration has presented as an accommodation that addresses religious and moral objections from organizations like Catholic archdioceses, colleges, health systems and charities.
“I don’t really know what Obama was thinking when he made those accommodations, as if he thought this was going to satisfy these adversaries,” Melling said.
Vatican City, Feb 15, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
After meeting with Pope Benedict on Thursday, priests from the Rome diocese said they are sad he is retiring and that he was a great gift to the Church.
““We’re sad because a Pope is not only a theoretical leader, he’s the man to whom you give your allegiance and your vows, so there’s a direct link and a sadness in that,” said Father Robert, after the Pope met Feb. 14 with the clergy of his diocese at Paul VI Hall.
“It’s very sad because we’re losing a wonderful shepherd and a wonderful theologian, but he is also being realistic about the other acts of governance that he has to do,” Fr. Robert told CNA.
The priest, who is originally from South Africa, also praised the Pope’s intellectual contributions, calling him “a giant in the Church.”
In keeping with his academic gifts, Pope Benedict spent his final meeting with the priests of his diocese sharing his thoughts about participating in Vatican II and how he understands it.
“He’s been a man who has had a wonderful influence in terms of the need to understand our faith,” he said.
Another priest, Paulist Father Francesco Cupello, said he has supported Pope Benedict for 35 years.
“I love this Pope very much, because I was his supporter since 1978, during the conclave when John Paul I and John Paul II were elected,” said Fr. Francesco of Rome’s Society of St. Paul.
“I was his supporter, so I was so happy when he was elected and very, very sad now,” he added.
The priest, who forms part of the order in charge of one of the world’s biggest Catholic publishing houses, said the Pope influenced him a lot in how he interprets the Second Vatican Council.
“I was very happy with his ‘Summorum Pontificum’ and when he restored the ancient liturgy, because he had a lot of courage to do this.”
Fr. Francesco said that this “meant very much” and that it was “a great gift to the whole Church.”
“It changed my life because I love ancient liturgy and now I celebrate it whenever I’ve the possibility,” he said.
A Tanzanian priest studying in Rome also said Pope Benedict has greatly influenced his priesthood and his life.
“His spiritual life has influenced me as a priest because he was a real father and indicated that you celebrate Mass with full attention, allowing people to participate fully in the liturgy and for them to recognize the coming of God in the consecration,” said Father Patrick Tibangayuka, who is studying for his PhD in philosophy.
“He has also influenced me in his spirit of listening,” said the African priest, who is originally from the Diocese of Bukoba.
“He would listen to everybody with an eye of respect and of reasoning and he would give clear answers, basing himself on the Church’s teachings, building himself on the Scripture and on tradition,” he added.
Fr. Tibangayuka said he was shocked when he heard about Pope Benedict’s resignation, but he thinks it was a “courageous decision” and “has shown great humility.”
“Yesterday at the (general) audience he said don’t be afraid because Jesus is there, so we are confident, and the other Pope who is coming will carry on the mission – he will be a hard worker, a holy man and courageous as the Pope has been,” he said.
The Tanzanian priest called Pope Benedict’s lecture on the Second Vatican Council that took place yesterday “interesting.”
“We have had a lecture of a real soul and I’m grateful we were able to participate,” said Fr. Tibangayuka.
Vatican City, Feb 15, 2013 (CNA) -
The drama surrounding the Pope's resignation did not prevent the Vatican from moving ahead with filling the top post at its main financial institution.
The Institute for the Works of Religion, frequently called the Vatican Bank, announced Feb. 15 that Ernst von Freyberg will be the new president of the institute’s supervisory board.
“This decision is the result of extensive evaluation and a series of interviews that the Commission of Cardinals has conducted, with the constant support of the Supervisory Board,” a Feb. 15 communique said.
The process to select the best candidate took six months and involved 40 potential candidates that were presented by an independent hiring agency, according to Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.
The Commission of Cardinals presented their preferred candidate to the board of the institute on Feb. 14 and von Freyberg was agreed upon.
Fr. Lombardi said that von Freyberg will live in Germany but will be present at the Vatican three times a week.
The incoming president will inherit a financial situation that is better than it was a few years ago but still has room to improve.
In 2010, the director and the president of the bank were both investigated by the Italian financial authorities for failing to follow anti-money-laundering protocol. Although no charges were filed, the
Vatican still had $30 million in assets tied up during the course of the investigation.
Pope Benedict reacted to the situation in Dec. 2010 by creating the Financial Information Authority. It is tasked with policing the financial and commercial dealings of all Vatican agencies, including the Vatican Bank.
The last president of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was fired by the board in May 2012 for poor job performance and erratic behavior.
In July 2012, Europe’s anti-money-laundering agency Moneyval found the Vatican “compliant” or “largely compliant” on nine of the 16 “key and core” areas for combating terrorist financing and money-laundering.
“The Holy See has come a long way in a very short period of time and many of the building blocks of anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism regimes are now formally in place,” the report said.
Fr. Lombardi said that von Freyberg “has been chosen to deal with all the problems the IOR has. It’s believed he is a competent person to deal with this.”
“I’m absolutely calm about this decision because he is a very qualified man,” he said.
The new bank president brings a wide range of experience with him. He began his career as a lawyer, but in 1991 he founded and led Daiwa Corporate Advisory GmbH. In 2012 he became chairman of the Blohm+Voss Group, which builds and services mechanical components for ships.
He currently sits on the boards of Flossbach von Storch AG – an asset management firm with 8 billion euro in assets– and Manpower GmbH – a temporary work service firm with 600 million euro in revenue.
According to the Feb. 15 Vatican communiqué, Pope Benedict “has closely followed the entire selection process leading to the choice of the new President of the Supervisory Board of the I.O.R., and he has expressed his full consent to the choice made by the Commission of Cardinals.”
Terni, Italy, Feb 15, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Nearly 120 soon-to-be-married couples promised to be faithful to one another in a special Feb. 10 ceremony at the tomb of St. Valentine in the Italian city of Terni.
Engaged couples from across Italy endured freezing temperatures to participate in the ceremony at St. Valentine Basilica, led by the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia.
St. Valentine, the third century bishop and martyr, helped Christian couples marry in secret during the time of the Roman persecution.
Archbishop Paglia told the couples gathered for the ceremony, “You are here because before getting married, you want the blessing of St. Valentine, and you want your love to never end, to be authentic, to be forever.”
“You are living in a world that does not understand the importance of marriage and the family,” the archbishop explained.
Nor does society see the “beauty” and “courage” of the choice to commit oneself to married life, he added.
However, he continued, the world needs the sacrificial love of strong, committed marriages.
“If you only think of yourselves, you will end up in loneliness,” he said. “For this reason, pray to St. Valentine for the help to be more united that ever in times of difficulty.”
Archbishop Paglia praised the couples for their belief that love is eternal and reminded them “above all that love requires attention, fidelity and stability.”
The ceremony each year at the Basilica of St. Valentine coincides with activities at local parishes for couples seeking to contract marriage.
The parish of St. Anthony of Terni will host an event on Feb. 16 entitled “Following St. Valentine, Putting our Hearts in the Right Place,” for young couples seeking more information about Christian love.
New Orleans, La., Feb 15, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Alligator is permissible to eat on Fridays of Lent, the archbishop of New Orleans assured a conscientious parishioner, and his approval has been backed by the national bishops' conference.
“Concerning the question if alligator is acceptable to eat during the Lenten season...yes, the alligator is considered in the fish family,” Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond wrote in a 2010 letter provided to CNA by the New Orleans archdiocese Feb. 15.
The archbishop said he agreed with the parishioner that the alligator is a “magnificent creature that is important to the state of Louisiana” and which is also “considered seafood.”
The Code of Canon Law says, “Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday.”
“The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year,” canon law continues.
This rule of abstinence from meat raises questions of what precisely constitutes meat, which explains Archbishop Aymond's answer about alligators.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website on “Lent and Lenten Practices” shows the rationale behind Archbishop Aymond's declaration.
“Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs – all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat...Fish are a different category of animal. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted.”
Since alligators are reptiles and therefore cold-blooded, their flesh does not count as “meat” from which U.S. Catholics must abstain on Fridays in Lent.
Other reptiles that could presumably be consumed on Lenten Fridays include turtles, snakes, and tortoises. The bishops indicate that foods such as chicken broth, meat gravies or sauces, “as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are technically not forbidden.”
In the U.S., abstinence from meat applies on the Fridays of Lent, but during the rest of the year the faithful are free to choose some other Friday penance.
However, the possibility of extending Friday abstinence throughout the year has been recently raised. During the U.S. bishops' 2012 General Assembly, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York suggested it.
“The work of our Conference during the coming year includes reflections on re-embracing Friday as a particular day of penance, including the possible re-institution of abstinence on all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent,” he said Nov. 12.
Although they did not make the practice mandatory, the bishops subsequently released a statement in December encouraging Americans to voluntarily give up meat on Fridays for the intentions of life, marriage and religious liberty in the U.S.
The move to re-institute Friday abstinence all year long has already been made by the bishops of England and Wales. Since Sept. 16, 2011, English and Welsh Catholics have been obliged to abstain from meat every Friday.
“The Bishops wish to re-establish the practice of Friday penance in the lives of the faithful as a clear and distinctive mark of their own Catholic identity,” read a statement from the English bishops explaining their decision.
“They recognize that the best habits are those which are acquired as part of a common resolve and common witness. It is important that all the faithful be united in a common celebration of Friday penance.”
Friday penance is a way for Catholics to commemorate the death of Christ and identify with his suffering.
Cardinal Dolan commended the English bishops, writing on his blog that “many welcomed the initiative of the bishops of England as a step in the right direction: restoring a sense of belonging, an exterior sign of membership, to a Church at times adrift.”
Washington D.C., Feb 15, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Two U.S. archbishops involved in defense of marriage efforts and the military spoke out against a new Pentagon policy giving gay couples many of the benefits of military spouses.
“This new policy under the guise of 'equal benefits' undermines marriage as the union of one man and one woman because it treats two persons of the same sex as spouses,” said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services.
In a statement released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Feb. 15, Archbishop Broglio voiced concern over a new military policy treating same-sex partners as if they were married.
He was joined by Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, who is the chairman of the bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
The archbishops responded to a Feb. 11 announcement by the Department of Defense on a policy change that will soon allow gay domestic partners of armed service members on active duty to receive many of the same benefits as military spouses, including legal assistance and counseling, ID cards and recreational privileges.
Some benefits, such as health care and housing allowances, are banned under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for federal purposes.
However, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said these benefits will also be expanded to include same-sex couples if the Supreme Court rules against the Defense of Marriage Act in an upcoming case this summer.
In his State of the Union address on Feb. 12, President Barack Obama referenced the policy change, saying that he plans to “ensure equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families – gay and straight.”
However, Archbishop Broglio argued that the policy undermines the Defense of Marriage Act, which is still the law of the land, despite Obama’s 2011 announcement that his administration would no longer defend it in courts.
Furthermore, the archbishop warned, the policy change threatens the freedom of conscience and religious liberty of members of the armed services.
“Could a JAG officer choose, out of religious or moral convictions, not to give legal advice on marital and family issues to same-sex 'partners' without being subject to discipline?” he asked. “Forcing the officer to violate his conscience would not be fair.”
Archbishop Cordileone echoed these concerns and stressed the institutions of marriage and family.
“There is no question that all service members should be treated equally,” he said, “but it is not discrimination to treat different things differently.”
The archbishop explained that because only “a man and a woman can bring children into the world,” marriage “as the foundation of the family” is unique from other adult relationships and must be reserved for opposite-sex partners.
The new policy, he added, actually discriminates because it designates only “two people of the same sex in a sexual relationship for special consideration,” treating other types of adult relationships differently.
“More importantly,” Archbishop Cordileone added, “children, who are our future, have a right to be raised by their mother and father together.”
“For the sake of our nation, and especially for the sake of our children, marriage should be promoted and protected at every opportunity, never undermined,” he said.