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Pope criticizes
same-sex unions in Christmas address

Pope criticizes
same-sex unions in Christmas address

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Pope Benedict XVI touched on many of the themes close to his heart, including celibacy in the priesthood, dialogue between religions, and his opposition to legal rights for gay and unmarried couples in a year-end speech Friday in Vatican City.

Pope Benedict XVI touched on many of the themes close to his heart, including celibacy in the priesthood, dialogue between religions, and his opposition to legal rights for gay and unmarried couples in a year-end speech Friday in Vatican City. The pontiff recalled his visits to Poland--which included a visit to the Auschwitz death camp--Spain, and Germany, and he reaffirmed the church's position on marriage and same-sex partnerships in his Christmas address. "I cannot silence my worry about the laws on unmarried couples," Benedict said. "Many of these couples have chosen that road because, for the time being, they don't feel up to accepting the judicially ordered and binding cohabitation of marriage." The Italian government has promised legislation for all unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, by the end of January. "And so joining a man and a woman and two people of the same sex becomes the same," Benedict said. "With that, the ominous theories that deny any relevance to the human person's masculinity and femininity are tacitly confirmed." The pope also reiterated the importance of celibacy in the priesthood, noting that priests' lives must be centered around God. Benedict also deplored "the horrors of war near the holy land" and the danger of a clash between religions and cultures. "The problem of finding roads to peace has therefore become a challenge of primary importance for all those who worry about mankind," Benedict said. "We must learn that peace cannot be reached only from the outside with structures and that attempts to obtain it through violence only beget more violence," he added. "We must learn that peace can only exist only if hate and selfishness are overcome from the inside." (AP)

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