Pope Benedict XVI will be remembered for his strong defense of marriage during his pontificate and his stance against freezing human embryos according to Human Life International (HLI) Rome Office Director Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro and HLI Director of International Coordination Joseph Meaney in a recent interview with EWTN/Catholic News Agency.
“He defended marriage as between a man and a woman and made statements, which later he was attacked for, because we really are in a very concerning situation where same-sex ‘marriage’ is being legalized worldwide,” said Msgr. Barreiro. “People are going to realize how the pressure to give legal status to same-sex ‘marriage’ grew in this decade, they’ll will see it as a problem, and they’ll see Pope Benedict as prophetic after having been very clear that this goes against nature.”
Meaney pointed out that the decline of the family around the world is setting up a demographic crisis.
“In the next 20 years the next big demographic crisis is going to be hitting, all these societies that are not having enough children just to replace their populations are going to be a majority elderly.” he said. “That’s going to be a big issue and people are going to look back and say, ‘why weren’t more people talking about this?’ And of course the Church was talking about it. Pope Benedict was doing so very eloquently.”
And while Pope Benedict’s strong message on the preservation of marriage and the family was ignored by many, Meaney said the media did pay attention to the pontiff’s words when they wanted to launch public attacks against him.
“One thing that made my heart really bleed for him is when he went on his first trip to Africa, and on the plane, before he even landed, they asked him about the AIDS crisis and he said that the condom is not the solution to the AIDS crisis,” Meaney said. “Everyone, including public health experts, have agreed about this, but the journalists on the plane flashed out the word that Pope Benedict is against the condom and the world attacked him.”
Msgr. Barreiro holds a photo of himself with Pope Benedict. Credit: Stephen Driscoll/CNA.
Msgr. Barreiro, who often writes and lectures on bioethics issues, said that the Vatican’s strong stance against freezing human embryos in the September 2008 document Dignitas Personae will be a lasting mark of Pope Benedict’s papacy.
“It is a tragic situation to speak about frozen babies that are the consequences of artificial conception and are artificially outside the human body due to an immoral approach by couples who can’t conceive,” he said. “They believe they have the right to a baby so they try to conceive it outside of the body and many times they produce several babies that are either left aside for future implants or simply abandoned.”
“There were many people within the Church who tried to find a moral solution to that tragedy and one was to propose that women adopt those frozen babies in the womb and bring them to life,” said Msgr. Barreiro. “But this document reached the conclusion that that solution is neither moral nor natural.”
Msgr. Barreiro and Meaney also praised Pope Benedict for defense of human life.
“He is, like [Blessed John Paul II], a great defender of life,” said Msgr. Barreiro.