Archive of February 18, 2014

Canada's next cardinal, a missionary against secularism

Quebec City, Canada, Feb 18, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Archbishop Gerald Lacroix of Quebec, who will be made a cardinal at the Feb. 22 consistory, is a missionary for the new evangelization in Canada, after having been for 10 years a missionary in Colombia.

At 56, Archbishop Lacroix will be the third youngest member of the College of Cardinals. He was born in 1957 on a dairy farm 190 miles east of Montreal. When his parents were unable to make ends meet, they moved to New Hampshire when Gerald was eight, which borders Quebec province, in search of a better life.

While a senior at Trinity High School in Manchester, N.H., Archbishop Lacroix became a member of the Pius X Secular Institute, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader. The institute is a form of consecrated life, in which secular members live the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience through their lives in the world.

Archbishop Lacroix returned to Quebec when he was 19, and worked at a print shop and in restaurants. He studied theology at Laval University in Quebec City while pursuing his vocation to consecrated life.

The Union Leader reports that he became a missionary in Colombia in 1981, where he worked in a health clinic for the poor, returning to Quebec to study for the priesthood.

Archbishop Lacroix was ordained a priest in the Pius X Secular Institute in 1998, and then returned to his mission work in Latin America.

He was then consecrated as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Quebec in 2009, a post he held until 2011. The previous year, the Archbishop of Quebec, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, had been appointed prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and Lacroix succeeded him as head of the Quebec archdiocese.

Archbishop Lacroix’ time in Quebec City, the provincial capital, has been marked by an increasing “closed secularism” in which the government actively secularizes society and pushes religion “out of the public square altogether,” according to a Quebecois Catholic school administrator.

While 83 percent of Quebecois are Catholics,  in a “quiet revolution” many have “turned their backs on their Catholic roots, according to the Toronto daily The Globe and Mail.

Archbishop Lacroix has called it a “tsunami of secularization,” and has made it his mission to evangelize the Quebecois.

His efforts at the new evangelization in Quebec have included defending parents’ roles as their children’s first educators, attending a 20,000 person pro-life walk in Ottawa, and opposing the Quebec Charter of Values – a bill that would restrict expressions of faith and religious belief in the public square.

Archbishop Lacroix becomes the fourth cardinal to hail from Canada. In addition to Cardinal Ouellet, 69, who is now based in Rome, he joins Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, who is 67, and Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, 77, Archbishop Emeritus of Montreal.

Archbishop Lacroix is among 19 men who will be given the red hat of a cardinal at the Vatican later this month, and is the sole representative from North America.

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Israelis look forward to Pope's Holy Land visit, rabbi says

Vatican City, Feb 18, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Following a meeting of Jewish leaders with Pope Francis last week, a rabbi involved in interreligious dialogue said the Pope’s upcoming trip to the Holy Land will surely be a success.

“Everybody -- whether Jordanians, Palestinians or Israelis -- is so excited and ready to welcome him that no matter how short his visit is, it's a guaranteed success,” said David Rosen, director of interreligious affairs at the American Jewish Committee, said in a Feb. 13 news conference in Rome.

"Hopefully he will leave behind a sense of greater hope for the future. That's what the Middle East needs.”

Rosen was among the 55-member delegation that met Pope Francis that day, whom he asked to pray for his Holy Land pilgrimage, that it “may bring forth the fruits of communion, hope, and peace.”

Pope Francis’ visit to Holy Land is scheduled for May 24-26.

Speaking of their meeting with the Pope, Rosen said that “we have gone has friends and we have been welcomed as friends; it was a sort of family meeting.”

The Roman Pontiff’s address to the American Jewish Committee highlighted the nearly 50 years of dialogue between Catholics and Jews since “Nostra aetate,” Vatican II’s declaration on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions.

“In addition to dialogue, it is also important to find ways in which Jews and Christians can cooperate in constructing a more just and fraternal world,” he said. “In this regard, I call to mind in a particular way our common efforts to serve the poor, the marginalized and those who suffer.”

“Finally, in order that our efforts may not be fruitless, it is important that we dedicate ourselves to transmitting to new generations the heritage of our mutual knowledge, esteem and friendship which has … grown over these years. It is my hope therefore that the study of relations with Judaism may continue to flourish in seminaries and in centres of formation for lay Catholics, as I am similarly hopeful that a desire for an understanding of Christianity may grow among young Rabbis and the Jewish community.”

Rosen shared with CNA that “Pope Francis really knows the Jewish world: he went to synagogues, he has Jewish friends, and in our intimacy, we feel understood.”

The American Jewish Committee spent two days in Rome, meeting also with Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State.

Their talks focused on religious freedom, and Rosen emphasized that “the negative experience lived in Jewish history” can be of help and support to Christian who are now facing anti-Christian persecution.

Fr. Norbert Hofmann, secretary of the Vatican’s Commission for the Religious Relations with the Jews, stated that “being friends is the best way to carry on dialogue.”

Fr. Hofmann outlined three paths of dialogue: the first is to develop the “theological dimension of dialogue,” because “Christian roots are Jewish, and because Christ was Jewish.” The second path is “collaboration for justice and charity, with a priority to the poor, the homeless, and sick and marginalized people.” The third path, he said, is a closer and more visible collaboration in education.

Rosen underscored to CNA that “Christians need to understand Judaism more, since their roots are in Judaism,” and added that Jewish-Catholic dialogue has “no news, but the dialogue is always improving.”

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Late Iowa farmer hid generosity throughout life, priest says

Des Moines, Iowa, Feb 18, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Edwin “Bud” Skalla, who died last November, was a bachelor farmer whose magnanimity was made known only after he passed away, according to the man’s pastor.

“I don’t think people realized that he had as generous a heart as he did, because he hid it very well from everyone until after his death,” Fr. John Dorton, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Portsmouth, Iowa, told CNA Feb. 14.

“And then when his will became public, his generosity towards 13 churches sprinkled throughout southwest Iowa became very apparent.”

At his death, Skalla left 282 acres of farmland to St. Mary’s, his home parish, and another 858 acres to 13 parishes located in Iowa’s Harrison and Shelby counties. Those 858 acres were auctioned off Feb. 15 for $7.9 million.

In addition to the bequeathal of land, Skalla’s cash assets of some $2.5 million will be distributed among the parishes.

Skalla was born in 1921 on his family farm outside Portsmouth, where he spent all but the last 13 years of his life. He had moved in 2001 into a retirement community in Harlan, about 10 miles away.

“Bud was a very frugal man, a bachelor farmer … he wasn’t a real outgoing or terrifically generous person to other people during his lifetime,” according to Fr. Dorton, who also said he “wasn’t real communicative” and “was almost a hermit,” but who “had a deep love for the land.”

Skalla’s frugality can be attributed to his having grown up during the Depression, the priest continued. Shrewd investments and saving his money allowed him to accumulate the wealth he did.

“It made him appreciate money and success in a material way; I think he felt the poverty he grew up in had been overcome and defeated and that he was a successful person, and I think he took great pride in that.”

His obituary at Paul Jones Funeral Homes noted that while he never married, Skalla “was extremely dedicated to his family, especially his mother. He always saw to it that she was well taken care of until her death in 1984.”

Of the 13 parishes benefited by Skalla’s will, one, St. Rose of Lima in Denison, is in the Sioux City diocese; the remainder are in the Diocese of Des Moines.

“Bud was engaged in the most noble of professions, farming,” Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines wrote of Skalla. “Through his dedicated work, he provided nourishment for the human body which fortified countless thousands. Now, in death, through his legacy, he will enrich the human spirit through faith and spiritual development.”

He continued, saying that “the Catholic communities of Shelby and Harrison Counties as well as the Diocese of Des Moines are enormously grateful to Edwin ‘Bud’ Skalla for his extraordinarily generous remembrance of the parishes in his will.”

Fr. Dorton, who is pastor of several of the parishes provided for by Skalla, said they “haven’t got to the point yet of (discussing) how we’re going to be using the money that comes to us,” and added that “those decisions will be made by the pastoral and financial councils of the parishes involved, in consultation with the pastor.”

“I myself would hope for a blend of investing to ensure some financial stability, some capital improvements to the parishes, and some kind of program that would benefit the people, improve the quality of their lives – and I mean that in both a material and spiritual way. So I would hope for that kind of a blend, as we move into the future.”

Skalla died Nov. 26, 2013, and his funeral Mass was said at St. Mary’s Nov. 30, by Fr. Dorton and Fr. Michael Berner. He was buried at the parish cemetery.

He is survived by his sisters Sylvia Kepford and Roseann Brummer, and his sister-in-law Vi Skalla.

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Bishop affirms that traditional Mass unites Church in worship

Vatican City, Feb 18, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - During a recent interview, Archbishop Arthur Roche spoke on the significance of the Traditional Latin Mass, explaining that the Mass nourishes us, and that the special rite brings us together in a unique way.

“It’s a common language, as it were, that brings us together, that holds us together,” the archbishop noted during a Feb. 13 interview with CNA, adding that “the Latin Mass…is a beautiful expression of the worship of God.”

Archbishop Arthur Roche is the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, and is helping to organize a special conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s apostolic constitution “Sacrosanctum Concilium.”

“Sacrosanctum Concilium” is the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, which was promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1963 in order to foster a greater participation of lay people in the Mass by allowing them to hear the Gospel proclaimed in their own language. It also promoted a greater use of Gregorian chant.

During the conference, running from Feb. 18 – Feb. 20 and which has been organized by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, experts will discuss the impact the constitution has had in reforming the order of Mass and how Mass is said.

Archbishop Roche observed that the most important thing is to keep the Eucharist at the center, because “the Eucharist itself creates community because it is Christ who shares himself abundantly.”

“The act of worship is something that we do together for God. It is not something that is simply expressive of ourselves” he emphasized, stating that “It is expressive of our love for God; our response to his greatness, to his goodness for us, to the wonderful mercy that he gives to us.”

If we maintain this view, the archbishop noted, it creates community, “because first of all, we attend Mass because we are in need. We are there because we need to be fed.”

Recalling how Jesus in the Gospel stated that “unless you eat of this bread, and drink of this blood, you shall not have life within you,” Archbishop Roche reiterated that “we go to be fed,” and “we go to become more like Christ, and that itself creates a wonderful communion.”

Speaking of the Mass celebrated in Latin, the archbishop highlighted that it “will always be a part of the Roman rite” because it maintains “the language in which the Roman rite is written - whether it be the ordinary or indeed the extraordinary form.”

“It is the way in which the Church expresses itself,” he explained, observing how there has been an increase in use of Gregorian chant during Mass, “especially at international events.”

Drawing attention to the special international reach of the city of Rome, Archbishop Roche went on to say that “people from throughout the world, from every continent and from the different hemispheres, come together to share Mass and are joined together in that common expression of the singing of the Latin part of the Mass.”

Turning his attention to Pope Francis take on the rite, the archbishop explained that “the Pope hasn’t expressed anything about the extraordinary form nor in fact about the ordinary form either.”

However, he “is a very open man, as you know, and a very fair minded man,” the archbishop noted, and is someone who “when he celebrates Mass, as is visibly seen, is taken up in what he is doing, is very attentive, and very recollected in the celebration of the Mass.”

“And that’s the important thing,” Archbishop Roche stated, “it’s the function of Peter to hold the Church in unity and he will be more aware of that than I am.”

Participants of the conference will have the opportunity to meet with Pope Francis on Wed. Feb. 19 during his weekly General Audience.

Estefania Augirre contributed to this piece.

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New Catholic college seeks to reshape education in UK

Vatican City, Feb 18, 2014 (CNA) - A co-founder of Benedictus College has expressed her hope that their education style, inspired by the writings of Bl. John Henry Newman, will help to change the face of higher education in Europe.

“No one’s tried to do anything like this in the UK before,” Dr. Clare Hornsby told CNA in a Feb. 17 interview, emphasizing that “our offer will be a unique one.”

Benedictus is a university-college that Dr. Hornsby co-founded in 2010, and is modeled off of the Catholic University structure in the US, giving special emphasis to the learning of philosophy and theology with the aid of the fine arts.

The integrated courses, Hornsby observed, will “bring together the text approach” as well as firsthand experience, so that rather than just reading a book about art, the students will be able to “go out and look at art,” which brings together an “intellectual and cultural heritage.”

Hornsby explained that the idea to begin the college came about through conversations she had with her colleague Franz Forrester, who graduated from Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., recalling how they wanted to link the study of the philosophical traditions of Plato and Aristotle to the study of culture and history.

Recalling the visit of Benedict XVI to England in 2010 for the beatification of the now-blessed John Henry Newman, Dr. Hornsby revealed that the occasion was a key inspiration for starting the initiative.

In his work “The Idea of a University,” Newman envisioned exactly this style of an “education that educates the whole person,” Hornsby observed, adding that “Newman,” as a Catholic, “was hoping to create this type of university.”

During the courses, Hornsby noted that philosophy will be used “as a way to learn how to think,” as well as to “create a complete picture” of education so that the students will be turned “into whole inquiring minds.”

Offering their first course over the summer, entitled “Foundational Aspects of European Culture,” Dr. Hornsby emphasized that this will “give people an opportunity to sample the Catholic liberal arts education.”

Particularly, it will be an opportunity to “introduce the Catholic liberal arts education to young people” in Britain, as well as those studying abroad, because this style “is relatively unknown in the UK.”

Taking place in London at the Heythrop College campus, the course will last for two weeks, and will give students the opportunity to discuss classic works of philosophy and theology, as well as history and art, with the aim of highlighting the “important thematic connections” between all of the subjects.

Class sizes are limited to 15 students so that they will have the opportunity to discuss the topics in depth with a tutor, Hornsby noted, emphasizing that “tutor courses don’t exist in any other places” outside of Oxford and Cambridge.

Expressing her excitement for the college’s first course, Dr. Hornsby explained that they are still in the process of receiving their accreditation, and that this will provide them with an opportunity to prove their academic status.

Referring to the current environment of higher education in UK, Hornsby stated that it is “in a state of flux,” but that it is “much more open” than it was in the past.

“This is the time for small institutions to move ahead,” she observed, adding that “a lot of people want a broad approach, and we can be part of it.”

Drawing attention to the “secular atmosphere in higher education in the UK,” the college founder expressed that “we have a big debt to pay to the US” for the “accessibility” of this type of education, because “if it weren’t for that model Benedictus” wouldn’t exist.

Benedictus is also offering a research forum in Florence on July 4, hosted by the British Institute in Florence, during which professor John Haldane will be the keynote speaker.

“Our offer will be a unique one,” Dr. Hornsby explained, emphasizing that “it’s the right time.”

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article had incorrectly identified Thomas Aquinas College as the University of St. Thomas.

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Pope Francis renews Argentinean passport

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Feb 18, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Francis has renewed his Argentinean passport, according to Argentina's Ministry of the Interior and Transportation, and his new documents will be sent to St. Martha's Residence at the Vatican.

“His Holiness communicated with Juan Pablo Cafiero, our ambassador to the Vatican, and told him he wished to continue traveling around the world with his Argentinean passport,” said Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo.

Therefore, the minister continued, “his application was filed on Friday through the digital center we operate in Rome.”

According to La Nacion newspaper, Randazzo said that Pope Francis did not want any special privileges, and so the normal procedure for filing for a new passport was followed.

The process for obtaining the Pope’s documents is the same as that “followed by all Argentineans,” Randazzo explained, “in which a photo, his fingerprints and his signature were taken in around 15 minutes. In the next few days he will be receiving it at St. Martha's Residence at the Vatican, which he declared as his residency.”

Randazzo said the Pope's gesture and his choice to travel the world as the highest representative of the Catholic Church using the same document as any other Argentinean “fills us with pride.”

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Pope: Word of God strengthens us in moments of temptation

Vatican City, Feb 18, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Francis on Feb. 18 stressed that the Word of God “opens the horizon” and saves Christians from the temptation that “closes us in.”

“When we are tempted, only the Word of God, the Word of Jesus saves us,” he said in his homily at the morning Mass at his Casa Santa Marta residence.

The Pope said that Jesus Christ is “always willing to teach us how to escape from temptation.”

“Jesus is great because he not only brings us out of temptation, but gives us more confidence,” he said, according to Vatican Radio.

This confidence is “a great strength” for those being tempted. “The Lord waits for us... trusts us who are so tempted, who are sinners... He always opens horizons.”

“Where does temptation come from? How does it work in us?” Pope Francis asked. “The apostle tells us that it is not from God, but from our passions, our inner weaknesses, from the wounds left in us by original sin: that’s where temptations come from, from these passions.”

He warned that temptation “begins with a tranquil air, and grows.”

“It grows, it grows...and if one does not stop it, it fills everything,” he continued.

Temptation is “contagious” and “closes us in an environment where you can’t get out easily.”

At times of temptation, he said, “we do not hear the Word of God, we don’t hear. We don’t understand.”

Temptation, he explained, “closes us in,” takes away the ability to see ahead, “closes every horizon” and in this way “leads us to sin.”

Only “listening to the Word of Jesus” keeps us from being “imprisoned” in temptations.

Pope Francis said that the Lord tells those who are tempted: “Lift up your eyes, look at the horizon, do not be closed, do not close in on yourself, go forward.”

“And this Word will save us from falling into sin in the moment of temptation,” the Pope stressed.

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Australian bishops emphasize St Valentine on his feast

Sydney, Australia, Feb 18, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Australian bishops’ marriage and family council produced a resource kit for strengthening marriages for St. Valentine’s Day this year, noting the Christian basis of the feast.

“We aim to evangelize and ‘re-Christianize’ the feast of St. Valentine,” Ron Pirola, co-chair of the Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council, told CNA Feb. 15.

“We seek to bring back into focus the Christian origins of what has become a very commercialized, secularized, and materialist celebration, and to promote love very strongly.”

Since 2010, the group has produced a collection of resources which parishes can use to rediscover the sacramental dimension of St. Valentine’s Day, revivifying the feast’s celebration in a Christian spirit.

“In a culture increasingly intolerant of Christian values and beliefs, feasts that have captured the imagination of the secular community, like St Valentine’s Day, represent a unique opportunity for the Church,” wrote Bishop Daniel Eugene Hurley of Darwin in a note prefacing the materials.

“It is an opportunity for us to proclaim our beliefs in a way that is affirming and life-giving to deeply held values that are shared by many in the wider community. In doing so, we highlight the positive good such values have and reinforce the need to protect them for the benefit of the whole community.”

This year’s edition focuses on “Honouring marriage as life-long romantic love,” affirming marriage as an indelible bond through life and encouraging couples to pray together regularly.

Pirola emphasized the importance of “couple prayer” – when a husband and wife “speak to God about their needs, concerns and hopes while allowing the other person to hear,” and urged couples to find time to grow in prayer that would further enable them to understand the significance of the sacramental value of marriage.

The resource acknowledges couples as a tremendous resource in proclaiming the Gospel and in evangelization.

While St. Valentine’s Day has been displaced from the universal calendar of the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, the saint remains on the Roman Martyrology on his traditional day, Feb. 14.

In addition, his feast continues to be observed as a commemoration each Feb. 14 in the extraordinary form.

St. Valentine was a bishop and martyr in the third century who helped Christian couples marry in secret during persecution from the Roman empire.

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Mission of Vatican bank a key point in cardinal meetings

Vatican City, Feb 18, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi says that the council of eight cardinals spent their second day of meetings discussing the so-called “Vatican Bank,” however no decisions have yet been made.

The council was chosen by Pope Francis to advise him on matters of church governance and curia reform, and are meeting with the pontiff for the third time following an initial meeting in October, and a second in December. This week's meetings began on Feb. 17, and will conclude on Feb. 19.

During the Feb. 18 press briefing, Fr. Lombardi revealed that after meeting with the Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See yesterday, the cardinals continued today by hearing reports from the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), commonly referred to as the Vatican Bank.

Noting that Vatican Secretary of State and soon-to-be cardinal Pietro Parolin was present and will be for the remainder of the meetings, Vatican Radio reports that the cardinals began the day as usual by celebrating Mass with the Holy Father in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse.

Following the Mass, the council of eight met at 9:30 a.m. in the same room as yesterday, where they listened to reports from representatives of the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the IOR.

This commission was initially called as the result of the Pope's desire to learn in more detail both the legal position, and the activities of the institute in order to create a greater harmony between the latter with the mission of the universal Church and the Apostolic See.

It was also done within the wider context of reforms involving some of the institutions that offer support to the Apostolic See, Vatican Radio reports, noting that the task of the commission is to gather information on the functioning of the institute and to report the results to the Pope.

According to the news agency, the presentations provided were received “with great interest by the cardinals,” and centered on giving information on the current situation of the Institute and the problems that it must face.

One of the main areas of discussion was the mission of the IOR as it relates to the actions of the Church in the world, both within and outside of an economic perspective. Although suggestions were offered by the cardinals for future changes, no decisions were made.

Attending the session this morning was the commission’s president, Cardinal Raffaele Farina, its coordinator Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, its secretary Msgr. Peter Bryan Wells, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who is a member.

Fr. Lombardi, states Vatican Radio, commented on the importance of understanding, given the work of the two commissions, that their aims are different, but that both fit within the “contextual reality of the Holy See.”

It is for this reason, Fr. Lombardi noted, that Pope Francis desires to have an overall view regarding the re-organization of the Vatican Bank’s governance and structures.

The council of eight cardinals will continue to meet in the afternoon, and will conduct their final day of meetings tomorrow with the council of fifteen, who are currently preparing for the upcoming Synod of Bishops dedicated to the family.

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Court urged to not impose marriage redefinition in Italy

Strasbourg, France, Feb 18, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - The legal group Alliance Defending Freedom is asking the European Court of Human Rights not to impose a redefinition of marriage on Italy, which recognizes the unique roles of mothers and fathers for children.

“The people of Italy recognize that men and women bring distinct, irreplaceable gifts to family life, especially for children who deserve both a mom and a dad,” Roger Kiska, senior legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, said Feb. 17.

He said that the European Convention of Human Rights obliges the Strasbourg, France-based court to allow Italy to “define marriage in a manner consistent with this truth.”

According to Kiska, the lawsuit Orlandi v. Italy is “asking the court to step outside of its bounds and impose a redefinition of marriage upon a Council of Europe member state that has exclusive authority over marriage within its own borders.”

The lawsuit followed the Italian government’s denial of a marriage license to a same-sex couple. The couple filed suit with the European human rights court after all of Italy’s courts upheld the law.

Last week, the European Court of Human Rights’ Second Section agreed to allow Alliance Defending Freedom to intervene in the lawsuit as a third party.

The legal group’s brief in defense of Italy’s marriage law considers the European court’s previous positions on the issue and how marriage is treated in other nations’ laws.

The brief responds to claims of an “emerging consensus” recognizing same-sex relationships by noting “an equally strong counter-trend towards recognizing marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman.”

Hungary has recognized traditional marriage in its constitution, two-thirds of Croatian voters opted to recognize marriage in a December 2013 national referendum, and Slovenian voters defeated a proposed 2012 family law revision that would have redefined marriage, the brief notes.

It also cites sociological studies showing that children who do not grow up with both biological parents are “worse-off,” while same-sex couples are more likely to separate than heterosexual couples.

In addition, the legal brief discusses the harms that could result if marriage is redefined under the European Convention on Human Rights, including “serious social and legal consequences for freedom of expression and freedom of religion.”

The document points to examples of those perceived to be enemies of equality being “disenfranchised and often vilified” in law and culture.

Even in countries that have not created same-sex union rights, opposition to solemnizing such relationships can lead to “fines, imprisonment or loss of one’s employment,” the Alliance Defending Freedom brief observes, noting that street preachers who criticized homosexual behavior have been arrested and convicted, while business owners who refuse to condone same-sex relationships have been sued and forced to close. Supporters of traditional marriage have also been denied government facilities because of their views.

In the United States, where Alliance Defending Freedom is based, fines have been levied against a New Mexico wedding photographer who declined to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, and lawsuits have been filed against bakeries, camping associations, bed-and-breakfast facilities and a church that declined to participate in same-sex ceremonies.

“No intergovernmental court has ever recognized same-sex ‘marriage’ as a right,” the brief points out. “It therefore stands that this Court should continue to follow its previous holdings that the Convention does not confer a right to same-sex ‘marriage’.”

The European Court of Human Rights has “found it appropriate” to cede authority “exclusively” to its member states over “sensitive moral and cultural questions” such as the definition of marriage, the brief adds. “The Court has held that it could not impose a single moral code over Europe regarding issues of ethical controversy where the opinions among Member States are so diverse.”

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