Jennifer Roback Morse

As the whole world surely knows, Pope Benedict XVI was in Valencia this weekend. What you might not know is the significance of what he said: people cheered for him when he was the least “politically correct.” Spain’s Socialist government legalized same sex marriage by an act of Parliament. Every time Benedict said, “the family, based on the indissoluble marriage of a man, and a woman,” the audience of a million went wild.

The importance of this statement is that the Spanish Socialist government foisted same sex marriage, including adoption by same sex couples upon this predominantly Catholic country. The government also passed legislation making divorce easier, and making it harder for parents to control the education of their children.

Benedict went to Valencia to close the Fifth World Meeting of Families, which had been going on all week. Your Humble Servant was among the ten thousand people who attended the World Meeting of Families. The Meeting included a Theological and Pastoral Congress (“Congress” is the European term for “conference”), a Congress for the Elderly, a Conference for Youth, as well as Family Fair with booths and activities for the whole family.

When I gave my paper at the Theological and Pastoral Congress on Thursday, there were perhaps five thousand people in the meeting hall. Early in my talk, I stated the definition of marriage: based on the teachings of the Catholic Church and our Founder, Jesus Christ, marriage is one man, one woman for life. The crowd applauded for little old me. Obviously, they weren’t clapping for me, but for marriage. Being interrupted by applause was unusual for the rather formal, mostly European audience present for the Congress. So, I think we can assume they appreciated somebody saying that marriage is one man, one woman, for life.

Members of the Legionaries of Christ provided simultaneous translations, so the international audience could listen in Spanish, Italian, German, French or English. As the week wore on, the translation service became more and more spotty. The equipment didn’t seem to work properly. There was interference, no matter where one sat in the convention hall. By the end of the week, getting English was impossible. So even though the Legionary fathers provided their outstanding translation services for the Holy Father’s Mass, the English-speaking people I talked with couldn’t get any reception on the channel that was supposed to have English. I had to get the Holy Father’s text from the Vatican website.

Funny thing: when I mentioned this to a European friend, he said without hesitation, “the government is jamming the signal.” I looked at him as if he had flipped. “Are you serious?”

Jennifer Roback Morse

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., is the author of Smart Sex: Finding Life-long Love In A Hook-up World. She blogs at

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