The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pope cautions against modern morality shelter

Vatican City, Jan. 16 (Reuters): The Vatican said today Catholic politicians and voters had a duty to oppose laws on abortion, euthanasia and gay marriages, warning them not to hide behind the modern morality of Democratic societies.

In an apparent reference to cloning, a new Vatican document also said Catholics had to be on guard about laws on “unsettling advances” in science that violated the dignity of human life.

It turned the screws on Catholic publications, saying they had to be more forceful and precise in promoting Catholic views on the defence of human life and not put forward different opinions in the name of pluralism.

The position was outlined in a new document called Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life.

The document, which reaffirms traditional Church teaching, was addressed to Catholic politicians and all Church lay members who participate in political life. The 17-page document said Catholics could not claim complete autonomy from Church teachings in their moral choices and could not support certain laws in the name of tolerance, pluralism or freedom of choice.

“Democracy must be based on the true and solid foundation of non-negotiable ethical principles, which are the underpinning of life in society,” said the document by the Vatican’s doctrinal department, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“Those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them,” it said.

The document, specifically approved by Pope John Paul, called for laws protecting the family, which it said had to be “based on monogamous marriage between a man and a woman, and protected in its unity and stability...

“In no way can other forms of cohabitation be placed on the same level as marriage, nor can they receive legal recognition as such,” it added.

The Vatican is firmly opposed to recent moves aimed at legally recognising same-sex marriages in several European countries and in North America.

The Netherlands has recognised registered gay partnerships since 1998 and it passed laws allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children in December 2000.

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