An activist from women's rights protest group Femen is
restrained as Pope Benedict XVI leads his Angelus prayer
from his private apartment in Saint Peter's Square at the
Vatican. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito
The Vatican underlined its opposition to gay adoption as
same-sex marriage supporters staged a topless protest in front
of the pope in St. Peter's Square.
The Vatican paper L'Osservatore Romano published a response
to an Italian court's rejection of an appeal by a father who
feared his son would not have a balanced upbringing if he
lived with his mother and her female partner.
The Court of Cassation ruled it was "mere prejudice" to
assume that living with a homosexual couple could be
detrimental for a child's development.
While gay rights group Arcigay called it a "historic ruling"
for Italy, where it is illegal for gay couples to adopt,
Catholic leaders were quick to defend the traditional family
L'Osservatore Romano, the 151-year-old mouthpiece of the Holy
See, ran an editorial that sought to play down the court
ruling, saying that children often grow up in difficult
circumstances without a mother or father.
"But no one believes that these situations should be created
just because in some cases they don't cause damage," wrote
Adriano Pessina, director of bioethics at the Catholic
University of the Sacred Heart.
"The human is the masculine and the feminine ... the
monogamous family is the ideal place to learn the meaning of
human relations and is the environment where the best form of
growth is possible," he wrote.
He reaffirmed the Vatican's view that no one has the "right"
to children that he said gay couples who want to adopt are
In Paris, hundreds of thousands of people protested against
President Francois Hollande's planned legalisation of
The Vatican has become increasingly vocal against homosexual
marriage in recent months. Pope Benedict strongly reaffirmed
the Church's opposition to it in December, saying
heterosexual marriage had an indispensable role in society.
While the pope was giving his weekly address on Sunday, four
women from the Ukrainian Femen group who were in the crowd,
pulled off their T-shirts to reveal the slogan "In Gay we
Trust" painted over their bodies.
Screaming "Homophobes shut up" as the pope started his
Angelus blessing, they provoked angry reactions from pilgrims
in St. Peter's Square. One woman in the crowd started hitting
the activists with an umbrella, calling them "diabolical".
Italian police grabbed the protesters and pulled them away
from the crowd.