The head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, has
sparked new controversy this week after saying gay marriage will
risk the future of humanity.
The papal made the damning comments in a new year address to a
division of the Vatican on Monday.
According to Reuters, he told diplomats from nearly 180
countries that "pride of place goes to the family, based on the
marriage of a man and a woman."
"This is not a simple social convention, but rather the
fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which
undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of
humanity itself," he said.
Adding: "The family unit is fundamental for the educational
process and for the development both of individuals and states;
hence there is a need for policies which promote the family and aid
social cohesion and dialogue."
This is only the latest in a series of homophobic comments made
by the religious leader.
In 2010 he condemned gay marriage in a public address to half a
million people. During the annual mass at Fatima's Sanctuary in
Portugal, the then-83-year-old described gay marriage as the "most
insidious and dangerous challenges that today confront the common
In a separate incident, he previously claimed behaviour beyond
traditional heterosexual relations was a "destruction of God's