Continuing a theme he's been sharing since January, Pope Francis alluded to same-sex marriage during a speech at the Vatican today.
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Back in January, while speaking to a conservative audience, Pope Francis warned that the "family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life."
"These realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces, which threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation," the Roman Pontiff added.
Today, Pope Francis used that same language, albeit in a more subtle manner, to continue his attack on same-sex marriage.
Extolling the virtues of "the beauty of Christian marriage," Francis called it "an act of selfless love" and "that sacrament which builds up the community of the Church and society."
"Marriage has been inscribed in creation’s design by God, and, by his grace, countless Christian men and women have lived married life fully."
"When a man and a woman marry in the Lord, they participate in the missionary life of the Church, by living not only for themselves or their own family, but for all people," the 78-year old Buenos Aires born Bishop of Rome told the faithful during his General Audience in St. Peter's Square.
"Therefore the life of the Church is enriched through every marriage which shows forth this beauty, and is impoverished when marriage is disfigured in any way."
Francis now repeatedly has positioned same-sex marriage as an act of violence, a force that "disfigures" the very institution of marriage – as if it were blunt force trauma or a disease – and "impoverishes" – forces into poverty, bankrupts, diminishes the inherent value of – the Church itself.
Few marriage supporters would take issue with the Church's view of marriage being "an act of selfless love," but to use the institution to wage an attack on the unions of countless millions of LGBT people is beyond the pale.
The Pope is known for controversial and volatile remarks when speaking causally in public, as when on a plane he told reporters Catholics should stop breeding "like rabbits," or even his very famous comment about gay people, "Who am I to judge?," but such a vicious attack in a scripted speech is untenable.
The Pontiff will visit Washington D.C. and speak on September 24. He will also tour Philadelphia and New York City.