At a time in history when it seems that people are becoming more and more accepting of the idea of homosexuals enjoying the benefits of marriage, Pope Benedict XVI is quick to quash any hopes that the Vatican or Catholicism in general will alter their views. In the wake of the states Washington and Maryland changing laws to make gay marriage legal, the Pope took the opportunity to speak on the subject to visiting United States bishops in Vatican City. Surprisingly, most of his comments were not religious in nature. He warned that changing the definition of marriage could have many cultural and political effects as well. The reiteration of the Catholic doctrine on marriage comes just as five more United States’ states have arranged to have the issue put before the people in the form of a ballot vote.
Gay marriage wasn’t the only thing targeted by the Pope’s comments. He also lashed out against premarital sex, going as far as to refer to cohabitation of couples that are unmarried as “gravely sinful” and “damaging to the stability of society.” He stayed away from the issue of contraception and health insurance plans that has been a major source of contention of late. He did concede in his comments that he understands that young people especially might find his opinions hard to understand, using the term “coutnercultural.” However, he implored the bishops to do their best to preserve the traditional definition of marriage in any way they can.