''Initiatives aimed at protecting the essential and primary values of life, beginning at conception, and of the family based on the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, help to respond to some of today's most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good. Such initiatives represent, alongside numerous other forms of commitment, essential elements in the building of the civilization of love.
''All this fits very closely with the message of Our Lady which resounds in this place: penance, prayer and forgiveness aimed at the conversion of hearts.''
The ending remarks from a speech given by Pope (Ratzinger) Benedict, the spiritual and political leader of the Catholic Church. He visited Portugal this past week. And it was widely reported that he had finally admitted on his plane ride there, that the Catholic Church was to blame for its shameful cover up of child rape and molestation, rather than a media conspiracy promoted by gay marriage and abortion rights activists -- however, his actual words included no such statement.
In addition to not apologizing for the deflection of blame by the Church's representatives, he made the additional statement above at the shrine of Our Lady at Fatima -- a place where many Catholics believe three children saw and heard from an apparition of the Virgin Mary 93 years ago. He seems to be trying to influence the people and President Silva of Portugal to stop gay marriage from being legalized there. Apparently, the Pope's visit coincides with a pending deadline for the President to veto or allow the proceeding of a bill to remove a legal ban on same-sex marriages. (Vatican)