Although Pope Francis was named Person of the Year by the homosexual magazine The Advocate, which supports same-sex marriage, he repeated the Church’s teaching on marriage on Friday, stating that it is a “lifelong covenant between one man and one woman.”

The Pope also said that real marriage fosters an environment that helps people steer away “from illusory notions of sexual freedom,” and noted that “abortion compunds the grief of many women” who have succumbed to the “pressures of a secular culture which devalues God’s gift of sexuality.”

Pope Francis made his remarks in an Apr. 25 address to the Catholic bishops of South Africa who were making an ad limina, or obligatory, visit to the Pope at the Vatican. Such visits are required of all bishops at certain times.

To strengthen families and communities,  the Pope said, “[t]he holiness and indissolubility of Christian matrimony, often disintegrating under tremendous pressure from the secular world, must be deepened by clear doctrine and supported by the witness of committed married couples.”

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