In a clear statement in support of traditional "one man-one woman" marriage in the United States, the Vatican has put Southeastern Pennsylvania at ground zero of the debate over gay marriage. The Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which includes Roman Catholic Churches in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs, has announced it will host the Vatican's 2015 World Meeting of Families.
The selection of Philadelphia came as Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput attended this year's World Meeting in Milan, Italy over the weekend. The meeting is held once every three years.
In making the announcement, the Archbishop also made his position on gay marriage clear, saying in a news release:
"The family is founded on a deep and loving union between one man and one woman for mutual support and the nurturing of children. This meeting in Philadelphia will be a wonderful opportunity to highlight the family as the basic evangelizing unit of the Church. Every effort to promote marriage and the family serves not only the Church, but also the common good."
Politics, Gay Marriage and the Media
The announcement comes just weeks after President Obama officially changed his position and came out in support of same sex marriage. The World Meeting of Families is usually attended by the Pope, assuring major domestic and international media attention for the Vatican's position on marriage and families.
Archbishop Chaput acknowledged as much in a statement released on Sunday, saying:
"It's fitting that this gathering, which celebrates the cornerstone of society, will take place in America's cradle of freedom. The Holy Father's choice is a gift to the local Church in Philadelphia and to the whole nation."
What do you think of the announcement and the Archdiocese's position on marriage and the family? Is Philadelphia a fitting place to stage the debate? Tell us in the comments section at the bottom of this article.