Pope Francis: Traditional Marriage an ’Icon of God’s Love’
Though Pope Francis made international headlines last year for saying "who am I to judge," regarding gay Catholics, the pontiff praised traditional marriage at his general audience sppech at the Vatican Wednesday, saying a man and woman married were united in "one flesh" as "icons of God's love," the Religion News Service reports.
"When a man and a woman celebrate the sacrament of marriage, God is reflected in them," Pope Francis told about 45,000 pilgrims who traveled to St. Peter's Square to hear him speak. "As 'one flesh', they become living icons of God's love in our world, building up the Church in unity and fidelity. The image of God is the married couple -- not just the man, not just the woman, but both."
Francis' "gay friendly" remarks came last year, soon after he was elected as pope. The comments surprised both conservative Catholics, along with the LGBT community. As RNS notes, he later said the church may look into recognizing civil unions of same-sex couples. His comments earned him Advocate's "Person of the Year" award as well as Time magazine's "Person of the Year."
Nevertheless, Francis on Wednesday stressed the importance of marriage between a man and a woman.
"We know the many trials and difficulties that the lives of a married couple encounter," Francis told the crowd. "You don't need to call the United Nations to your home to make peace: A small gesture is enough, a caress, and tomorrow is a new day."