A strong statement from the pope's spokesman Fr. Lombardi, SJ in response to recent international efforts to redefined marriage. Here is what he said about the context in the United States:
In the United States, some of the referendums held on the same day as the presidential elections in various States have, for the first time, delivered an outcome favourable to same-sex marriages. It is therefore clear that in western countries there is a widespread tendency to modify the classic vision of marriage between a man and woman, or rather to try to give it up, erasing its specific and privileged legal recognition compared to other forms of union.
It is nothing new. This we had already realised. Nevertheless, the matter does not cease to amaze: Because we should be asking if this really corresponds to the feelings of the people, and because the logic of it cannot have a far-sighted outlook for the common good. Not only the Catholic Church is saying this; it was pointed out clearly by the Chief Rabbi of France in a well-reasoned statement. It is not, in fact, a question of avoiding unfair discrimination for homosexuals, since this must and can be guaranteed in other ways. It is a question of admitting that a husband and a wife are publicly recognised as such; and that children who come into the world can know, and say they have, a father and a mother.
In short, preserving a vision of the human person and of human relationships where there is a public acknowledgement of monogamous marriage between a man and woman is an achievement of civilisation. If not, why not contemplate also freely chosen polygamy and, of course, not to discriminate, polyandry? It is not expected, then, the Church will give up proposing that society recognise a specific place for marriage between a man and a woman.