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VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday (May 13) singled out abortion, divorce and same-sex marriage as “some of today’s most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good.”
The pope made his remarks in an address to social workers at the Portuguese shrine of Fatima, on the third of a four-day visit to Portugal.
“Initiatives aimed at protecting the essential and primary values of life, beginning at conception, and of the family based on the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, help to respond to some of today’s most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good,” Benedict said.
Portugal’s parliament voted in February to give same-sex couples many of the rights of marriage, a policy that Benedict has in the past called “gravely unjust” and the “legalization of evil.” Portugal’s President Anibal Cavaco Silva, a practicing Catholic, has yet to sign the bill into law.
Portugal is 84.5 percent Catholic, according to the 2001 census, but a 2005 survey found that only 27 percent of Catholics there regularly attend Mass.
During his visit to Portugal, Benedict has reiterated the need for an increasingly secular Europe to rediscover its Christian heritage, one of the major themes of his pontificate.
Speaking to Portuguese bishops later on Thursday, the pope specifically criticized “politicians, intellectuals, (and) communications professionals” who promote “disdain” for religion, and called upon Christians in those fields to bear witness to their faith.
“In such circles,” Benedict said, “are found some believers who are ashamed of their beliefs and who even give a helping hand to this type of secularism, which builds barriers before Christian inspiration.”
By Francis X. Rocca
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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