Monthly Archives: September 2015

Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis Says Pope Francis Told Her to 'Stay Strong'

As reported by AP, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis says that she had a private meeting with Pope Francis during his visit to the United States. Davis, who was jailed for refusing to issue same-sex "marriage" licenses because of her religious beliefs, says that Pope Francis thanked her for her courage and urged her to “stay strong.” A New York Times article, reported that the exchange was done via an arranged, private meeting, which a Vatican spokesperson has now confirmed.

The AP story via US News is as follows:


Image via ABC News/Getty Images

A Kentucky clerk who went to jail for defying a federal court's orders to issue same-sex marriage licenses says she met briefly with the pope during his historic visit to the United States.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, didn't deny the encounter took place but said Wednesday in Rome that he had no comment on the topic.

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and her husband met privately with Pope Francis on Thursday afternoon at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., for less than 15 minutes, said her lawyer, Mat Staver.

"It was really very humbling to even think that he would want to meet me or know me," Davis said in an interview with ABC.

Davis, an Apostolic Christian, spent five days in jail earlier this month for defying a federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In a telephone interview late Tuesday, Staver would not say who initiated the meeting with the pope or how it came to be, though he did say that Vatican officials had inquired about Davis' situation while she was in jail. He declined to name them.

"He told me before he left, he said 'stay strong.' That was a great encouragement," Davis said of the pope during the ABC interview. "Just knowing that the pope is on track with what we're doing and agreeing, you know, it kind of validates everything."

She didn't say in the interview whether she had a private audience with the pope or she was part of larger crowd.

Davis was in Washington for the Values Voter Summit, where the Family Research Council, which opposes same-sex marriage, presented her with an award for defying the federal judge. While in Washington, the longtime Democrat said she was switching to the Republican party because she felt abandoned by Democrats in her fight against same-sex marriage.

Pope Francis did not focus on the divisive debate over same-sex marriage during his visit last week. As he left the country, he told reporters who inquired that he did not know Davis' case in detail, but he defended conscientious objection as a human right.

"It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right," Francis said.

Justice Scalia Stands Firm in His Views of Same-sex 'Marriage' Decision

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has not backed down in the slightest regarding his views of the Obergefell decision. The plainspoken, conservative justice has unabashedly condemned the Supreme Court’s decision to force same-sex 'marriage' to be permitted nationwide. As was recently evidenced in his speech at Rhodes College, Justice Scalia has no intention of rescinding his views that the current Supreme Court lineup is taking the nation’s highest court in “the wrong direction.” LifeSiteNews has the story:

Antonin_Scalia_Official_SCOTUS_PortraitJustice Scalia spoke Tuesday for Constitution Day at Rhodes College, where his grandson is a student, warning that the Supreme Court has become a "threat to democracy."

The 79-year-old Reagan appointee said he worries about the nation's highest court, because it is "headed in the wrong direction."

"Saying that the Constitution requires [homosexual] practice, which is contrary to the religious beliefs of many of our citizens," Scalia said – "I don't know how you can get more extreme than that."

Scalia described the Obergefell v. Hodges decision as the "furthest imaginable extension of the Supreme Court doing whatever it wants." He rhetorically asked, "Do you really want your judges to rewrite the Constitution?"

Scalia also noted that the make-up of the Supreme Court is "terribly unrepresentative of our country" and pointed out that a law degree does not qualify one to judge transcendent moral issues. "What is it that I learned at Harvard Law School that makes me peculiarly qualified to determine such profound moral and ethical questions as whether there should be a right to abortion, whether there should be same-sex marriage, whether there should be a right to suicide?" Scalia asked. "It has nothing to do with the law."

The conservative justice is well-known for his insistence that the judicial branch of government has the task of interpreting the law in light of the Constitution, not creating law from current cultural trends.

On June 26, the Supreme Court judge wrote his own dissent to the Obergefell decision. In what Church Militant calls "his most sharply worded dissent yet," Scalia called the decision an abuse of the judicial branch, which he said was usurping the authority of the legislative branch, and thus the will of the people.

Scalia's dissent described the Supreme Court's overreach in Obergefell as stepping outside the scope of its authority to dictate radical social policy – which properly is the domain of the democratic process. He wrote that the ruling was a "naked judicial claim to legislative – indeed, super-legislative – power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government."

All four dissenting judges – Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito – felt so strongly that each wrote his own dissent. "Today's decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court," Scalia wrote. He added that the decision lacks "even a thin veneer of law."

"This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine," Scalia dissented, "robs the People of ... the freedom to govern themselves."

Pope Francis Supports ‘Conscientious Objection' to Issuing Marriage Licenses for Same-sex Couples

As reported by Religious News Service, Pope Francis supported allowing government officials to excuse themselves from issuing same-sex ‘marriage’ licenses, if it violates their religious beliefs. The Holy Father even said such officials have a “human right” to refuse to discharge a duty that contradicts their religious conscience. Religious News Service has the story:

(Image via The Catholic Sun/CNS photo/Stefano Spaziani)

(Image via The Catholic Sun/CNS photo/Stefano Spaziani)

Pope Francis said on Monday government officials have a “human right” to refuse to discharge a duty, such as issuing marriage licenses to homosexuals, if they feel it violates their conscience.

. . .

On the flight back to Rome, he was asked if he supported individuals, including government officials, who refuse to abide by some laws, such as issuing marriage licences to gays.

“Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right,” Francis said.

Earlier this month a city official in the U.S. state of Kentucky, Kim Davis, went to jail because she refused to issue a marriage licence to a gay couple following a Supreme Court decision to make homosexual marriage legal.

Davis’s case has taken on national significance in the 2016 presidential campaign, with one Republican contender, Mike Huckabee, holding rallies in favour of Davis, a Apostolic Christian, who has since joined the Republican party.

“I can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscientious objection but, yes, I can say that conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right,” he said, speaking in Italian.

“And if someone does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right,” he added.

Francis said conscientious objection had to be respected in legal structures. “Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying: ‘This right has merit, this one does not.'”

Pope Affirms the Sanctity of Marriage!

Dear Marriage Supporter,

The Pope made dramatic statements during his visit to Washington, DC. With President Obama only a few feet away the Pope made profound remarks about marriage and religious liberty.

As you know, President Obama has worked tirelessly to redefine marriage and he now wants to redefine religious liberty and turn it into something other than what the Founding Fathers intended. But the constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion not the mere ability to hold a belief — it's the right to live out your beliefs in your daily life the way you want — not the way Obama or the government believes you should.

At the joint session of Congress, the Pope said — "I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life."

And at the United Nations the Pope talked about recognizing the moral law of marriage between one man and one women which is affirmed, in what his own words describe, as "the natural difference between man and woman." What an affirmation to what we have been working so hard to protect!

Defend Marriage — Donate Today

Your gift today to NOM will help us continue to fight for religious freedom so that no one faces persecution for practicing their faith — Your gift of $25, $35, $50, $75 or $100 or more to fight the most critical battle of our lifetime. And thanks to a generous donor your gift will be doubled.

Here's how NOM is investing your generous donations in the battle for Americans Constitutionally guaranteed right to religious freedom:

  1. NOM is on the frontlines of the battle for the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). This Act cannot survive the efforts of those who are opposed to religious freedom unless we stand strong and united. Urged on by NOM, thousands of people have already contacted their federal representatives to urge them to sign onto this critical legislation.
  2. We are leading the effort to reverse the illegitimate Supreme Court decision by electing a pro-marriage champion as our nation's next president. We created the presidential pledge and already, four candidates have emerged as Marriage Champions — Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Rick Santorum, Governor Bobby Jindal and Dr. Ben Carson.

Nothing will change unless you and I speak out and stand firm! Our work depends on you! Join NOM in the fight to ensure FADA becomes the law of the land and to guarantee that religious freedom is preserved in America forever! Please offer you best gift today.

NOM's efforts take money. We are completely dependent on you and others to contribute to this effort. Those opposed to religious freedom are working day and night to make sure FADA fails in Congress and at the state level. Help us to counter their relentless assault.

Why give today? Because every dollar you give will be matched dollar for dollar! Your money will go twice as far in the battle for America's religious freedom. Today is a perfect time to support NOM and watch your investment double!

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There is no time to waste. Those opposed to marriage are not standing back, waiting to see what happens. We must match them dollar for dollar, action for action. Because what is at stake is the very freedom that sets America apart from so many other nations on earth.

Please don't stand on the sidelines and let our government destroy this right. Support NOM today so we can protect your rights and the rights of all Americans.


Brian S Brown

P.S. — Remember! Every dollar you give will immediately be matched! This is a critical time — we cannot stand back and do nothing. We must fight for our religious rights. We can win. We can preserve our first amendment rights. We can turn America back to a nation that respects differences in opinion and the sanctity of traditional marriage. Be part of the solution and support NOM today!

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Congress Hears Pope Francis Defend Marriage and Family

Dear Marriage Supporter,

Pope Francis gave a historic address to Congress and other political leaders in Washington just minutes ago and made it clear in his own words that the overall theme of his visit to America is that he wishes to uphold the family, and support marriage. Here's what he just told our political leaders:

"I will end my visit to your country in Philadelphia, where I will take part in the World Meeting of Families. It is my wish that throughout my visit the family should be a recurrent theme. How essential the family has been to the building of this country! And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement! Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life."

The crowds that surround Pope Francis wherever he goes — with a multitude of people travelling long distances just for the chance to see him — is a testimony to the truth of his message. In our hearts, each of us knows that the family, one made up of a mother and a father united in marriage, is what holds the fabric of society together.

While we share Pope Francis' deep concerns about efforts to redefine marriage and the family, we also share his joy to proclaim the universal truth that men and women were made by God to complement each other and in their marital union children experience the ideal relationship created for their flourishing.

Please continue to follow Pope Francis' visit to America, especially his comments relating to marriage and the family, by checking our blog frequently. And if you share our optimism in the truth of marriage and family, please consider making a donation to NOM today, which a generous donor has agreed to match dollar for dollar and will immediately put to work in support of preserving marriage, family and religious liberty.


Brian S Brown

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Breaking: Pope Francis in First US Speech Gives Ringing Defense of Religious Freedom

Dear Marriage Supporter,

The commentators who tried to tell us that Pope Francis would steer clear of mentioning marriage and religious freedom in his time in the US were dead wrong.

Just minutes ago, in his first speech in the United States Pope Francis spoke of his desire to "celebrate and support the institutions of marriage and the family at this, a critical moment in the history of our civilization."

He then went on to directly address the president on religious liberty. He said religious freedom, "remains one of America's most precious possessions. And, as my brothers, the United States Bishops, have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it."

These are strong words and so encouraging to those of us standing on the front lines of defending marriage and religious liberty. We will keep updating you as I will be traveling between Philadelphia at the World Meeting of Families this week for the Papal Visit.


Brian S Brown

P.S. If you wish to do all you can to protect religious liberty please consider making a donation to our matching grant challenge by clicking here.

P.P.S. Please stop by our booths at the World Meeting of Families or Values Voters Conference. We are at both and would love to see you!

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It's Not Only Kim Davis Who Has Been Targeted For Punishment

Dear Marriage Supporter,

It's been a week since Kim Davis went back to work pledging to continue to fight for her religious liberty rights and not be forced to issue 'marriage' licenses to same-sex couples that include her name or are issued under her authority. In fact, she had the license forms issued by her office going forward be reprinted to remove her name and include a reference that they were being issued by deputies by order of the federal court. She firmly believes that the licenses issued to gay couples under order of federal judge David Bunning are invalid because she has specifically refused to grant her authority to deputies for them to be issued.

Meanwhile, liberal politicians like Governor Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway — both of whom so readily abandoned the 75% of Kentucky voters who passed a constitutional amendment reserving marriage solely to one man and one woman — have quickly weighed in that the disputed licenses are valid. Of course their views are transparently political and not based on any serious legal analysis. Meanwhile, gay and lesbian activists are demanding that Kim Davis be hauled back into court for "interfering" with gay couples by altering the license forms.

The bottom line is that Kim Davis remains at risk and could be ordered back to jail any time this rogue federal judge decides to once again appease the LGBT activists.

NOM continues to stand firm fighting for the rights of Kim Davis and others who refuse to personally be complicit in the lie of same-sex 'marriage.' We're asking for your support of $25, $35, $50, $100 or even $250 or more so that we can undertake all the work needed to organize public opinion in defense of religious liberty for marriage supporters, help enact legislation at the federal and state levels to protect your rights, and help shape the electoral environment so that a champion for traditional marriage is elected president. Having a president who will appoint pro-marriage Supreme Court judges is the fastest path to reversing their sham, illegitimate ruling on marriage.

Kim Davis is not the only public official in the crosshairs of gay activists demanding that they personally endorse same-sex 'marriage' or be punished. A fellow clerk in Kentucky, Casey Davis (no relation to Kim), also refuses to issue 'marriage' licenses to gay couples because doing so violates his beliefs. He's facing legal action. In Alabama, Probate Judge Nick Williams has petitioned the state Supreme Court for an order protecting his right not to perform a same-sex 'marriage' in violation of his religious beliefs. And in Oregon, two state judges are under attack for refusing to perform same-sex 'weddings' that violate their religious beliefs.

The case of Marion County Judge Vance Day is particularly troubling. Oregon law allows, but does not require, judges to perform weddings. It is not a required element of their job. In fact, the state's laws are so liberal (like their politics) that just about anyone can pay a small fee and be authorized to perform marriages. Despite the fact that virtually any adult in the state could perform a same-sex 'wedding,' gay activists in the state are determined to force every judge to participate, especially those who object on moral or religious grounds. Thus, activists have filed a professional complaint against Vance Day because he does not want to violate his beliefs and perform a "gay wedding."

And get this: Part of the complaint against Judge Day is that because he doesn't want to personally perform a same-sex ceremony he must be prejudiced against gays and lesbians and they can't trust how he would treat them in court. "It goes beyond marriage and gets to serious questions about judicial integrity," one activist told a reporter.

Judge Vance Day is facing an upcoming state hearing that could lead to his removal from the bench. NOM has sounded the alarm about this case, and we are fighting to make sure that he and countless others are not punished simply for refusing to personally be part of the lie that is same-sex 'marriage.'

Please help us mount the most aggressive defense possible for the rights of all Americans to live their views about marriage in their daily lives and to be free from government persecution because they refuse to abandon the truth of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Your contribution of $15, $35, $50, $100 or $250 is urgently needed, and thanks to a generous donor, will be instantly matched to double its effectiveness. Please act today to help us fight for you and all the others who are under attack.

I'll give a quick donation of $15, which will be matched dollar for dollar, resulting in $30 for NOM to continue the fight for the cause of marriage.

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I'll give a quick donation of $50, which will be matched dollar for dollar, resulting in $100 for NOM to continue the fight for the cause of marriage.

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When I say that NOM is fighting for marriage and the religious liberty rights of Americans who believe in marriage, I mean we are on the front lines doing the heavy lifting, not just paying lip service to the cause. For example, in Oregon we not only filed legal briefs in support of traditional marriage, we went to court seeking to represent the state's voters when the state Attorney General violated her oath of office and refused to defend the vote of the people to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. When the homosexual judge who invalidated the Oregon marriage amendment denied our motion to defend marriage, we took our fight on behalf of Oregon voters all the way to the US Supreme Court. And even though the Supreme Court did not ultimately grant our request to allow us to defend the Oregon marriage amendment, we've continued to fight for the truth of marriage.

Given the posture of the courts, it's critical that Congress and state legislatures enact legislation like the First Amendment Defense Act. That is why we are working hard in Congress and at the state level to enact this critical legislation. Without it, countless Americans will be at risk of losing their businesses, being fired, having to pay heavy fines to the government and even being jailed — simply because they will not embrace same-sex 'marriage.'

I have to confess that asking you to make a financial contribution to NOM is one of the least desirable parts of my job. I'd much rather be speaking at rallies in Kentucky defending Kim Davis, or meeting with presidential candidates to talk about their views of marriage, or meeting with federal and state officials to explain the importance of the First Amendment Defense Act. But the truth of the matter is that we cannot be successful if we do not have the financial resources to effectively engage the battle.

NOM is the only group in this country that is solely focused on defending the truth of marriage and the faith communities that sustain it. We have many great allies in the battle, and we are extremely grateful and are extraordinarily blessed to have them standing beside us. But when it comes to maintaining a sole, undiluted, laser-focus on marriage as our only issue, NOM is the tip of the spear.

So while I may not always enjoy asking people for money, I am proud to do so because I am incredibly proud of NOM's work and I fundamentally believe that it is making a real difference now, and is essential if we are to protect the religious liberty of people to support marriage and to eventually reverse the illegitimate Supreme Court ruling redefining marriage.

Donate to Defend Marriage Today

The matching gift offer from one of our most generous supporters is a great boost to us, one that I hope you will act upon immediately so that we receive maximum support during this critical period. Every dollar you give will be matched, resulting in us receiving two dollars. Please consider a gift of $15, $25, $35, $50 or even $100 or more, realizing that everything you give will be doubled.

I thank you for all that you've done to support NOM and to defend the wonderful institution of marriage, an institution created by God at the beginning of time, one that provides immense benefits to couples and to children. The truth of marriage can never be "lost" because of an illegitimate court ruling, even one from the US Supreme Court. But millions of people can be misled and have their own lives and that of their children and grandchildren damaged because the universal truth of marriage has been unmoored from the law. We're committed to restoring the truth of marriage to our laws, and to protecting people of faith who believe in traditional marriage from being persecuted in the meantime. We would appreciate your financial support to fulfill this mission.


Brian S Brown

PS — It's so uplifting to know that a generous donor will match any contribution you give, dollar for dollar, through the end of the year (up to a total match of $200,000). Please take advantage of this incredible offer and make a generous contribution to support our work. Thank you.

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The Pope Is At Odds With Liberals, Too – Just Don’t Expect The Media To Report It

Pope Francis makes a historic visit to the United States this week, with stops in Washington DC, New York and Philadelphia on the schedule. His whirlwind schedule has him giving a reported 16 public speeches while he’s here. The liberal mainstream media is abuzz at the prospects of him advancing positions embraced by the left – including climate change and how he sees global capitalism negatively impacting the poor.

But Pope Francis also has many positions that will make the left squirm, including his staunch opposition to abortion and same-sex ‘marriage.’ As this article from The Daily Signal makes clear, the difference is the media will heavily report the Pope’s comments on climate change and other leftist perspectives, but are likely not to report his comments about abortion and marriage. NOM will work to make sure the Pope’s pro-family message is heard.

From The Daily Signal:

Image via CTVNews/AP/Andrew Medichini

Image via CTVNews/AP/Andrew Medichini

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., made headlines for his decision to avoid Francis’ address to Congress because, “if the Pope plans to spend the majority of his time advocating for flawed climate change policies, then I will not attend,” as he wrote for Townhall.

But Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid might also find Francis’ speech uncomfortable.

That’s because even if the focus of Francis’ speech is on climate change, he doesn’t talk about climate change the same way President Barack Obama or other liberal politicians might. In his encyclical on the environment released earlier this year, “Laudato Si,” Francis connected concerns about creation to concerns about the value of human life.

. . .

Francis has also consistently upheld traditional marriage. In a radio address in 2014, Francis said, “[T]he complementarity of man and woman … is at the root of marriage and family.”

“One day after the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges—the outcome of which may dictate the future of same-sex marriage in the United States—Pope Francis on Wednesday publicly affirmed his stance on so-called traditional marriage between men and women,” reported Newsweek in April.

Image via STLToday/Mark Jelavich

Image via STLToday/Mark Jelavich

“Jesus teaches us that the masterpiece of society is the family: a man and a woman who love each other! This is the masterpiece!” Francis said in St. Peter’s Square at the time.

He has since spoken numerous times on the family, regularly preaching on marriage and children, and he has often referred to marriage as being between a man and a woman.

In fact, in a speech last week, Francis, while warning about the temptation to place profits ahead of morality, stressed the fact that marriage was between a man and a woman (emphasis the Vatican’s):

The current transition in civilization seems to be marked by the long-lasting effects of a society governed by economic technocracy. This subordination of ethics to the logic of profit commands substantial resources and the widespread support of the media. In this context, a new covenant between man and woman has become not only necessary, but crucial for emancipating humanity from the colonization of money. This covenant should once again guide politics, the economy and civil coexistence! It decides the habitability of the earth, the transmission of love for life, the bonds of memory and hope.

In this covenant, the familial-conjugal union of man and woman is the generative grammar, the “golden knot,” we might say. The faith draws it from the wisdom of the creation of God, who has entrusted to the family, not the care of intimacy as an end in itself, but rather the exciting project of making the world “domestic.” At the beginning there was the family, at the root of this world culture that saves us … saves us from many, many attacks, from so much destruction, from so many “colonizations,” like that of money or of the ideologies that threaten so much of the world. The family is the basis of our defense!

Despite what the media may report, Pope Francis defends the unborn's right to life, and the true definition of marriage: the exclusive union between one man and one woman.

Obama's Guest List is an Insult to Pope Francis

While the world watches the events of Pope Francis’s visit to the US unfold, many are expressing outrage and disgust at President Obama’s brazen attempts to surround Pope Francis with controversial—frankly anti-catholic—leaders, to include “a pro-abortion nun, an openly homosexual Episcopal bishop, and gay activist Catholics.” The Vatican is among those who have voiced objections to President Obama’s choice of guests, contending that the guest list selection surrounds the Pope with figures who are openly hostile to Catholic Doctrine.

As we might expect, President Obama seems to be manipulating Pope Francis’s visit in an attempt to further erode the judo-christian values upon which America was founded. By placing Pope Francis in the midst of such controversial figures, President Obama is creating opportunities for the media to misrepresent the Pope and his opinions to the mainstream. LifeSiteNews has the story:

Image via Christian Post/Reuters

Image via Christian Post/Reuters

The Wall Street Journal reports that an unnamed senior Vatican official said the Holy See fears that any photos of Pope Francis at next Wednesday’s White House welcoming ceremony with Obama’s guests that openly flout Church teaching could be taken as support for their actions.

Among the Obama administration invites are dissenting, activist Catholic nun Sister Simone Campbell, openly homosexual retired Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, a transgender woman and a homosexual Catholic blogger.

Sister Campbell is executive director of the social justice group NETWORK and pro-abortion leader of the "Nuns on the Bus" campaign. She is seen as having undermined the U.S. Bishops’ concern over Obamacare’s abortion component when the controversial health care takeover was being debated five-and-a-half years ago.

Her Network organization, widely regarded as having radical feminist leanings, was investigated by the Vatican over the group’s refusal to observe Catholic teaching on abortion, human sexuality and women’s ordination. The investigation concluded earlier this year, resulting in minimal repercussions for the group.

Robinson, who “divorced” his homosexual partner last year, and is a senior fellow for the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, has been invited to religious events in the past by Obama, leading a prayer at the president’s 2009 inauguration and taking part in the 2014 National Prayer Breakfast.

Also invited are Mateo Williamson, a biological woman who identifies as a man and a former co-chair of the Transgender Caucus for the pro-homosexual activist group Dignity USA; and Aaron Ledesma, author of the blog “The Gay Catholic.”

The invitation organizer for the White House papal event is Vivian Taylor, executive director of the national LGBT advocacy arm of the Episcopal Church, and a biological male.

The unease caused by the guest list demonstrates Catholic concerns, including that of many bishops, the WSJ report said, that the Obama administration is using Pope Francis’s visit to underplay its differences with the Church on controversial issues such as homosexual “marriage,” abortion and the Obamacare contraception Mandate.

U.S. Vatican Ambassador Ken Hackett, named by Obama to his post in June 2014, said last month that Pope Francis and Obama are not going to waste time discussing any differences they may have. Rather, they will choose to focus on issues where they see eye-to-eye.

According to Hackett these areas are poverty, religious freedom, concern for persecuted Christians and minorities, and peace.

“Then climate, of course,” Hackett said.

“We agree to differ on things like gay marriage,” he said, “but really there are not a lot of other such issues.”

Orthodox Anglican Media Outlet Says ‘Obama out to shame and humiliate Christians, the Pope and the Church'

As part of his historic visit to the United States, during which he will canonize Fr. Junipero Serra and address the World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis will also attend a White House dinner organized by President Obama. As head of state of the Vatican, diplomatic protocol would hold that friends and allies of the Catholic Church and prominent American Catholics be on the guest list. And while some of those types of individuals have been invited, President Obama has gone out of his way to shove the LGBT agenda in Pope Francis’ face. He’s invited the openly gay-Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson who “married” his same-sex partner several years ago.

According to the website Virtue Online, which bills itself as the voice for global orthodox Anglicanism, Robinson, “has almost single-handedly brought the Anglican Communion down to its knees as it teeters on the edge of implosion.” In addition to Robinson, Obama has invited numerous gay, lesbian and transgender activists. One of the activists was reportedly told by the While House to ‘invite several friends.’ From the story:

Image via ABC News/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

Image via ABC News/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

Obama's form of in-your-face diplomatic protocol includes trotting out every form of sexual deviant and parading them before Pope Francis. It's enough to embarrass the gentle humble Pontiff.

The Pope was being compassionate with his comment concerning his priests, who are struggling with a homosexual orientation, when he commented, "Who am I to judge?" However, he stands pat on the Catholic Church's firm doctrine and teaching on homosexual practice, pro-life, and traditional marriage issues, as well as an all-male priesthood.

CNS News describes some of the known invitees on the guest list as "several gay and transgender persons, a controversial nun, a radical preacher, and a gay Episcopal bishop."

The gay Episcopal bishop is none other than Bishop Vicky Gene Robinson (IX New Hampshire-retired). As the first openly gay and partnered man to be consecrated a bishop in Christendom, he has almost single-handedly brought the Anglican Communion down to its knees as it teeters on the edge of implosion.

The referenced "several gay and transgender persons" include: Vivian Taylor, a transgendered "woman" who was executive director of Integrity-USA and involved with TransEpiscopal. Obama her/him to Pope Francis' formal Sept. 23 televised White House Arrival Ceremony. S/he was told to bring five friends.

"I was told I could bring several friends with me," Taylor said, noting that s/he was "glad we can bring some LGBT representation to the event."

Taylor is looking forward to meeting the Pope, "I'm very happy to meet my brother in Christ, Pope Francis."

The five representative LGBT friends Taylor invited are Nicole Santamaria, the Secretary of Asociacion Colectivo Alejandria an Hispanic LGBT advocacy group; Marcia Garber a member of Dignity-USA and the mother of a transgendered child; Mateo Williamson, a cross-dressing transgender Catholic and the former co-chairman of Transgender Caucus for Dignity-USA; the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, an LGBT advocate, liberal Episcopal theologian, the director of Mission & Reconciliation at General Theological Seminary and chaplain to the Episcopal House of Bishops (reports are that Canon Spellers will be unable to attend the Pope's soiree because she didn't RSVP in time); and the Rev. Cameron Partridge, a transgendered Episcopal priest who preached at the Washington National Cathedral.

. . .

Obama is very gay-friendly and a champion of gay rights. There is also much speculation as to whether Obama is actually a Bible-believing Evangelical, a progressive Christian, or a closet Muslim. When the recent Supreme Court marriage equality ruling came down, making same-sex marriage the law of the land, he bathed the White House in Gay Pride rainbow colors in celebration of the earth-shattering event. Many God-fearing Christians were horrified at the spectacle. Chances are the President will not light up the White House in papal yellow and white to honor his diplomatic guest from the Vatican City-State.

Latest research shows that fewer than four percent of Americans identify themselves as being LGBT, while more than 70 percent of Americans consider themselves Christians. Of that number, more than 25 percent are Roman Catholics with Episcopalians and Anglicans making up about 1.5 percent of American Christians. The remaining almost 75 percent of the American Christian population is spread between the Evangelicals, Mainline Protestants, Pentecostals, and other Christian believers -- Amish ... Quakers ... Holiness ... Reformed...

Fr. Dwight Longenecker, a former Anglican priest who swam the Tiber and is now a Pastoral Provision Roman Catholic priest in South Carolina, pinioned on his blog Standing on my Head: "There will be thousands at this 'audience' with Pope Francis and it's doubtful that Gene Robinson will be in the line up to meet Pope Francis personally, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him maneuvered into place for a photo with the Pope which will the mainstream media will then publish with the caption, 'Pope Francis and Gay Bishop: Who Am I to Judge?'"

Oregon Judge Faces Charges for Declining to Perform Same-sex ‘Wedding’ Ceremonies

There is a movement to attack and discharge all officials in the United States who refuse to violate their religious beliefs in order to instigate the erroneous Supreme Court ruling on marriage. As we saw with Kim Davis, the same-sex marriage agenda does not want tolerance or peaceful coexistence; they want to be able to control all societal aspects, from prosaic terminology to religious beliefs.

However, there are still those like Kim Davis who stand firm in the face of adversary and defend marriage. One such example is transpiring in Oregon. The Daily Signal has the story:

ThinkstockPhotos-56519054An Oregon judge is fighting an investigative panel’s accusation that by declining to perform same-sex weddings on religious grounds, he violated both the state’s constitution and code of conduct for judges.

This and other allegations could result in the judge’s suspension or removal from office.

However, a close friend of two decades told The Daily Signal that the charges are “hogwash.”

Vance D. Day, one of 14 judges on the Marion County Circuit Court in Salem, Ore., readily admits that he asked an assistant not to schedule him for same-sex marriages but instead to arrange for another judge to officiate.

Performing the marriage of two men or two women “conflicted with his firmly held religious beliefs,” Day told the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability.

Those beliefs, Day said in papers responding to the commission’s complaint, are “rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition that defines marriage as between a female and a male.”

. . .

In allegations to be aired in a public hearing Nov. 9, the judicial panel says Day “inappropriately screened and ordered his court staff to screen wedding applicants to ensure they were not same-sex applicants, because [he] refused to marry same-sex partners even though they could lawfully marry under Oregon law.”

A federal judge’s ruling legalized same-sex marriage in Oregon in May 2014, more than a year before a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court legalized it across the land.

Day admits arranging for staff to connect same-sex couples with another judge, spokesman Patrick Korten said, adding that Day decided to stop officiating at all marriages about a year ago.

“It suggests the length to which those who favor same-sex marriage are willing to go to coerce people not merely to accept it, but embrace it,” Korten, a former Reagan administration official hired by Day, told The Daily Signal about the allegations against the judge.

“We’re trying to make sure the public understands what the charges are, how weak they are, and what the judge’s response is,” he said.

The New York Times Says You Are a 'Bigot,' 'Nasty' and 'Radical' and Rails Against the First Amendment Defense Act

Dear Marriage Supporter,

There has perhaps never been a media outlet more of a mouthpiece for the far-left's assault on American values than the New York Times. They have championed the sexual revolution, cheered the abortion industry responsible for the death of over 55 million unborn Americans, and led the push for gay 'marriage.'

The First Amendment protects their right to publish whatever they wish. But as is so often the case with the far-left, they wish to deny the protections of the First Amendment to those of us who support traditional marriage and who wish to prevent the government from discriminating against us. In the twisted logic of the New York Times, the constitution exists to protect their views but does not protect our rights. In fact, just as they advocated that marriage be redefined, they would like to redefine the First Amendment to neuter its guarantee of religious liberty.

The reason they wish to do this is because they hate the idea that people still support traditional marriage and they are disgusted that we are asserting our right not to be discriminated against. An editorial they published the other day essentially refers to marriage supporters as "nasty" and "bigots" and accuses us of supporting radical "anti-gay" proposals when we advocate for the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act.

I am sick and tired of this far-left assault on our constitutional rights from pampered media giants like the New York Times. Will you stand with us to fight back against their leftist agenda of discrimination by making a contribution of $20, $35, $50, $100 or even $250 or more? Your donation will enable us to more forcefully advocate for the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act, critical legislation that will protect our right to live out our beliefs about marriage in our daily lives.

The New York Times wants to redefine the constitutional protection of religious liberty into a "right to believe" provision. But that is not what the constitution guarantees — it protects the free exercise of religious belief. Religious liberty is far more than the right to hold a particular religious perspective; it is the right to uphold that belief in the conduct of your everyday life.

Right now in America, people are losing their jobs, being put out of business, having to pay massive fines and even being put in jail all because they do not wish to personally be involved in celebrating or supporting a same-sex 'marriage.' If the New York Times' view of religious liberty takes root, the very concept of religious freedom will be destroyed, and there will be no protections for people who simply wish to live out their beliefs consistent with the truth of marriage as it has existed since the dawn of time.

I am asking you to make a generous donation today so that we can fight this dangerous ideology that we may have the right to believe in traditional marriage but we don't have the right to demonstrate that belief in our conduct.

And I have some good news in our struggle to preserve marriage — a generous donor has stepped forward with an offer to match, dollar for dollar, every contribution NOM receives through the end of the year, up to a total of $200,000! Whatever you can afford to give to NOM will be doubled, meaning that there has never been a better time to make a donation to support our work.

I'll make a quick donation of $15, which will be matched and result in NOM receiving $30.

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I'll make a quick donation of $250 or more, which will be matched and result in NOM receiving $500 or more.

The fact that the New York Times is so opposed to the First Amendment Defense Act shows how important it is to enact the legislation. The fact that they are so willing to mislead people about the legislation and vilify those of us who support it only serves to put a fine point on why we need to fight for our rights. If we don't fight today, tomorrow our rights will be gone.

The First Amendment Defense Act is a straight forward proposal. It says the government cannot discriminate against any individual, small business or religious group simply for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. They can't deny a federal benefit, contract or grant; they cannot strip a charity of its tax exemption; they cannot deny a group a license or accreditation because of its views of marriage; nor can they refuse to hire or promote someone because of his or her views of marriage.

Does this sound like a "radical" proposal to you?

The New York Times calls it "anti-gay" and makes wild accusations about what might happen if the First Amendment Defense Act were to be enacted, such as alleging that a person could be fired for being gay. That is preposterous. Nothing in the legislation restricts an individual from pursuing their full legal rights against alleged discrimination, including filing a discrimination lawsuit.

While exhaustively playing the "discrimination" card, those on the far-left like the New York Times ignore the fact that it is people of faith like the recently jailed county clerk Kim Davis who are the real victims of discrimination. The examples of people who have been punished for living out their beliefs about marriage are long and growing every day. Aaron and Melissa Klein were fined $135,000 because they did not wish to personally bake a cake for a gay 'wedding' because doing so violates their religious beliefs. Their business has been closed and Aaron now is a trash collector. Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was fired because he wrote approvingly of traditional marriage in a personal memoir. Baronnelle Stutzman, a 70-year old grandmother and florist in Washington state, has been sued by that state's Attorney General and threatened with financial ruin. I could go on and on — the list of Christians and other faithful people who are targeted by gay activists for punishment is growing.

Help Us Defend Marriage Today

Meanwhile, there is not a gay couple in the country — not a single one anywhere in America — who has not been able to get a 'marriage' license, obtain a 'wedding' cake, order floral arrangements, hire a photographer, book a 'wedding' or reception venue or otherwise organize a ceremony that fulfills their every desire.

But, you see, it's not enough for gay activists and their media sycophants like the New York Times, that gays and lesbians are able to obtain a 'marriage' license or access to the full array of wedding-related services, they want to force everyoneespecially people who are deeply opposed to same-sex 'marriage' on religious grounds — to be personally complicit in celebrating the act.

It's not enough that a gay couple can get a marriage license in Kentucky; they demand it be personally issued by the faithful Christian clerk who does not wish to violate her beliefs. So she is thrown in jail when she asks for an accommodation.

It's not enough that a gay couple can order flowers to be arranged for their 'wedding' ceremony from any number of florists eager to serve them, they demand that the flowers be arranged by the Christian grandmother whose religious beliefs preclude her from participating in such a ceremony. So the state Attorney General sues her and threatens to take all her assets unless she succumbs and settles the case.

There are plenty of wedding photographers willing to record a same-sex 'ceremony' but the activists demand that a young Christian woman photograph the ceremony. When she explained that this violates her religious beliefs, they filed a legal complaint and she was punished by a fine of thousands of dollars.

In every one of these cases the gay couple was accommodated — they got the 'wedding' of their dreams. And not in a single case were the religious beliefs of those targeted accommodated.

We are fighting for passage of the First Amendment Defense Act in Congress and in the states because it is wrong for gay activists to attempt to force every American to endorse and personally participate in a same-sex 'marriage.' We must fight for our rights, or we will lose our rights.

There are millions of us who fervently believe that marriage is only the union of one man and one woman, and that is true regardless of what five judges on the Supreme Court claim. This is one of the most hotly-contested issues of our time, something that splits the country in two. But now that gay activists have won in court, they want to shut down public discussion by harnessing the full power of government to punish individuals, businesses, churches and religious groups who continue to advocate for the truth of marriage.

Please make a generous contribution to NOM so that we can push back against intolerance and discrimination, and fight for our rights against far-left bullies like the New York Times who support the First Amendment only as far as it protects themselves.

Your contribution today will be matched, doubling its effectiveness. There's never been a more important time to support our work. The New York Times' advocacy against us shows that we are engaged in an epic battle and that the stakes are high. Please give today so that we are able to continue fighting for your rights.


Brian S Brown

PS — Thanks to a generous donor, any gift you give NOM through the end of the year will be matched dollar for dollar, up to a total of $200,000. Please take advantage of this great matching gift opportunity by donating whatever you can afford to give today — whether that be $15, $25 or even $250.

Donate Today

In Our Wildest Dreams, We Yearn for Masculine & Feminine Love

Robert Oscar Lopez was raised by two lesbians and has since become an outspoken advocate for the rights of children to be loved by both a mother and a father. He not only opposes same-sex ‘marriage’ but he has become a leading spokesperson against surrogacy, which he believes amounts to trafficking in women, treating them as a commodity in order to fulfill the market demands of gay men who wish to father children. He writes provocatively about our natural yearning for masculine and feminine love – the love of a father and a mother – and uses the popularity of Taylor Swift’s new music video “Wildest Dreams” as a device to make the point.

Swift casts herself in the video as a woman from the 1940s, vaguely reminiscent of a Lauren Bacall, who projects traditional beauty and femininity. Dr. Lopez writes, “We have had enough. By “we” I mean everyone on Earth. We are sick of hearing about men who don’t love women, women who hate men, women who use men, men who use women, women who want babies without being impregnated by a man, men who want babies without impregnating a woman, men who want to be women, women who want to be men…We want John and Abigail Adams—a man and woman to change the world by truly working together and siring children through love, then raising and educating them. We can’t get back to the eighteenth century, so the closest we have is the late 1940s. Ergo, Taylor Swift’s wildest dreams.”

The Federalist has the piece:

Image Via

Image via

In light of all the debates about transgenderism, gay marriage, abortion, “war on women” memes, third-party reproduction, and whether it’s okay to call Rosie O’Donnell a fat slob, allow me to hazard a guess as to why Swift seems to be emerging as the true voice of the next generation (pace Lena Dunham).

It’s not just Kim Davis. We have had enough. By “we” I mean everyone on Earth. We are sick of hearing about men who don’t love women, women who hate men, women who use men, men who use women, women who want babies without being impregnated by a man, men who want babies without impregnating a woman, men who want to be women, women who want to be men, women who want to kill the babies they conceived with men, and men who want women to kill their babies and sell them to man-hating abortion conglomerates who then resell them to organ-trafficking firms headed by lesbians who then resell them to universities that spend lavish federal funding on women’s studies and gender-studies programs that fill millions of college students with more of these self-destructive absurd theories about manhood and womanhood.

. . .

We want to go back to a time when men needed women and women needed men. By this, I mean a time when the question wasn’t whether men wanted women or women wanted men, but rather their mutual necessity. Wanting is a frivolous act that comes and goes with the wind. (Exhibit X: suddenly Tatum O’Neal has abandoned men and become Rosie O’Donnell’s troubled brood’s next notorious stepmom.) Needing is an innate human inclination that bestows dignity on another person. If someone wants me, I am an object. If someone needs me, I am dignified; I hold something irreplaceable.

Women hate it when they aren’t needed. Men hate it, too. Perhaps we are learning now, the hard way, that they need their sexes to be needed in addition to their individual personalities. The irreplaceability of our gender turns out to be something that humans cannot surrender lightly. Hence, people are rebelling.

. . .

Swift isn’t the first sexy pop diva to break open a bottle of mid-century nostalgia on us. Remember Fergie’s homage to the Prohibition era in “Glamorous,” Katy Perry’s “Roar,” and Christina Aguilera’s hailing of the Veronica Lake aesthetic in “Candyman”? But there’s something different this time. Fergie interspersed her gangster footage with images of post-Cold War urban partying. Perry shows no interest in “Roar” in falling in love with a man, choosing rather to stuff her bust into a jungle bikini top and act weird. Aguilera in “Candyman” dances and gyrates for crowds of uniformed servicemen, but doesn’t connect with any one.

All three of these backward glances were narcissistic exercises of consumption, designed to feed the modern egos of hyper-sexualized women. None of them shows, as Swift’s video does, a sincere desire to embody a lost world of femininity and masculinity.

Expect more of Swift’s kind of nostalgia. The world hungers for it.

It’s Bad — and Getting Worse — But It’s Not Too Late to Fix It

Dear Marriage Supporter,

If there was ever any doubt about how much power a United States president has to destroy everything our nation stands for, there is no uncertainty now.

Just look back at the last six-and-a-half years. Things you and I viewed as our unalienable rights as Americans are now in shambles.

That is why it is imperative that we elect a pro-marriage president in 2016 — and someone who values religious freedom. And NOM's Presidential Marriage Pledge is taking away any doubt as to where a candidate stands.

Look back for a minute on the last 6½ years. President Obama appointed the deciding vote in the disastrous Supreme Court case that destroyed marriage in America. He bathed the White House in the rainbow flag, not caring that the Court‘s decision was an "absolute head-on collision... with religious liberty," in the words of one attorney.

He is making gay marriage a litmus test for deciding which foreign nations "deserve" our aid. The IRS, a governmental agency under his control, leaked NOM's confidential donor information to a gay activist which was then published by the so-called Human Rights Campaign, a group that routinely targets pro-family groups for harassment. It was only NOM's relentless pursuit of the truth that exposed this scandal, and forced the IRS to admit wrongdoing.

We must work harder than ever to change the course America is on. Please donate right now and help NOM restore our nation!

How can this all change? It's going to take a pro-marriage president, elected by the majority of Americans who are fed up with the travesty of the current administration.

A pro-marriage president could reverse the disastrous policies of the Obama administration. Enact pro-family, pro-marriage policies. Restore our nation to greatness.

"Is this possible?" you may be wondering. Yes! But it's not going to be an easy task.

Donate to Help Defend Marriage

We must raise money immediately so that we can be on the ground every single day in the key early voting states, talking to voters and communicating the urgency of restoring our nation and marriage. To make this a reality, our battle must begin with Iowa and continue to every other state.

Don't delay! Donate right now! Some of NOM's best donors have agreed to match any gift, so please act today with your most generous gift.

I'll make a donation of $25 which will double to $50

I'll make a donation of $35 which will double to $70

I'll make a donation of $50 which will double to $100

I'll make a donation of $75 which will double to $150

I'll make a donation of $100 which will double to $200

But there is more we must do, as well. Congress has recently reconvened which means we need to put the pressure on them during the next several weeks and months . We will meet them at the doors of the Capitol and push for enactment of FADA — the First Amendment Defense Act.

Thousands of Americans just like you contacted their elected representatives over the Congressional recess, urging them to support FADA. Now we need to be ready for a sustained, intense grassroots push to move this legislation forward.

What will FADA do for America?

FADA will protect our very basic right as Americans to exercise our religious beliefs concerning marriage in our everyday lives. It prohibits government from taking any adverse action against any individual, small business, pastor, church, religious group or nonprofit entity for holding to the truth of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Churches, religious organizations and people of faith need FADA!

America needs FADA!

We must have a majority in both the House and the Senate for FADA to be enacted. These men and women will need to be strong to stand firm against the attacks from their liberal colleagues who are willing to sacrifice religious freedoms on the altar of gay "rights."

We need you to continue the forward momentum for FADA. Please click here and donate right now!

But it's not enough just to pass FADA at the national level, we also must move the fight to the state level and urge state legislatures to enact it as well. Our clarion call is that every American, no matter where they live, will be able to follow his or her religious convictions about marriage without fear of persecution.

There is much to be accomplished. It won't be easy. It won't be cheap. But then, freedom never is cheap, is it?

Please take advantage of this last week of the matching gift campaign made possible by some of our best donors so that every dollar you give right now will be doubled!

Give generously — $25, $40, $50, $75, $100, or more — and it will do twice as much!

There's one more thing I would like you to do. Ryan Anderson's new book, Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom was released in print. I am impressed with how well-written and well-presented this book is as it lays bare the illegitimate nature of the Supreme Court ruling redefining marriage. It also explains what freedoms are at risk because of this decision — gripping reality that every one of us needs to confront.

I personally ask you to order a copy of this book today. It can make an important contribution to the debate about why the Supreme Court overstepped its authority when it redefined marriage. Order your personal copy right now!

The mainstream media is doing everything they can to convince you that the fight for the truth of marriage is over, a lost cause. But don't believe that for a minute!

NOM is fighting every day, every hour, on your behalf. With you standing with us, we can win. So for America, for marriage and for religious protection, please give today — and let's change tomorrow for our nation.


Brian S Brown

P.S. — When America was facing a challenging struggle, one leader said, "Failure is not an option." That is true again today. We must prevail. We must see that the next occupant of the White House is a man or woman who believes in marriage, believes in religious rights, believes in the First Amendment of our Constitution — and will act to protect these foundational values.

We can make that a reality. And we must. Join me today in this battle by making your gift now.

Donate Today

Pope Francis Reasserts that Traditional Marriage is Under Attack

On the eve of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, he has issued a strong and unequivocal statement in support of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and notes that traditional marriage is under attack “by powerful contrary projects supported by ideological colonization.” The Pope said that married couples are “in the best position” to introduce Jesus Christ to others. He said the unique joy that the Lord enables families and couples to experience in the intimacy of domestic life, both in moments of joy and suffering, "must be witnessed to, announced and communicated externally, so that others, in turn, take the same path."

Catholic Online expounds on this:

ThinkstockPhotos-101054028Pope Francis told couples to defend God's design for the family as the union of a man and woman for the procreation of children, and urged them to be merciful to those whose marriages have failed.

Today "the family - as God wants it, composed of a man and a woman for the good of the spouses and also the generation and education of children - is deformed by powerful contrary projects supported by ideological colonization," the Pope said Sept. 10.

A family which is filled with the presence of God, he said, "speaks for itself of God's love for all men."

. . .

The unique joy that the Lord enables families and couples to experience in the intimacy of domestic life, both in moments of joy and suffering, "must be witnessed to, announced and communicated externally, so that others, in turn, take the same path," he said.

The Pope encouraged couples to live the movement's spirituality and commitments in a deep way, saying these allow couples to live their married life confidently, following the path of the Gospel.

. . .

ThinkstockPhotos-75677464He also encouraged the couples to draw close to the increasing number of wounded families who suffer due to either a lack of work, concern for a child, the distance, or an absence of a family member or a violent environment.

"We must have the courage to enter into contact with these families," he said, adding that it must be done "in a discreet but generous way, materially, humanly or spiritually, in those circumstances where they are vulnerable."

Pope Francis closed by encouraging couples to instruments of Christ's mercy toward those whose marriages have failed, and stressed that married fidelity is a gift from God.

Mercy has been shown to "every one of us," Francis said. He added that couples who are united and happy could better understand the pain and the suffering caused by betrayal, abandonment and a lack of love.

"It is necessary, therefore, that you bring your witness and your experience to help Christian communities to discern the real situations in which these people find themselves, to welcome them with their wounds, and to help them to journey in faith and in truth," he said.

"Nor must you forget the unspeakable suffering of the children who experience these painful family situations: you can give a lot to them."

Pope Francis asked those present to pray for the upcoming Synod on the Family, and for all their reflections on the "vital cell of our societies" within the difficult current cultural context.

Copyright 2015