“Mention must be made of the powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage. The Church’s conscientious effort to resist this pressure calls for a reasoned defense of marriage as a natural institution consisting of a specific communion of persons, essentially rooted in the complementarity of the sexes and oriented to procreation”
The pope noted that “sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage”.
Recognizing that many young couples were living in cohabitation, the pope said that the Church must recognize their own faults in presenting their teaching.
“Certainly we must acknowledge deficiencies in the catechesis of recent decades, which failed at times to communicate the rich heritage of Catholic teaching on marriage.”
Benedict XVI also called for “marriage preparation programs to be carefully reviewed”. Speaking on chastity, he said sexuality was a source of freedom, happiness, and fulfillment of love.
Ultimately, the pope said that all of these concerns were based on the “the good of children” who he said “have a fundamental right to grow up with a healthy understanding of sexuality”.
FULL TEXT OF THE SPEECH