As we told you recently, over 9,000 Catholic faithful - including 30 cardinals and 200 bishops - have descended upon Mexico City for the 6th World Annual Meeting of Families, the first time that the Vatican-led event has been held in a Latin American country (and the first without the Pope's presence).
As expected, there have been strong anti-gay and anti-women undercurrents in the messaging that is coming out from the gathering with Pontifical Council for the Family president and Cardinal Ennio Antonelli (right) demanding that the 'traditional family' must be given "decisive priority... for the future of society in a post-modern culture sick with individualism" according to the AFP.
The AFP notes that center-right Mexican President Felipe Calderón, who addressed the gathering on its opening date, seemed to distance himself from the organizers' push of the perfect family being that between a man and a woman.
"We must find a way to support those who are not part of traditional, nuclear families," Calderón is quoted as saying which the AFP noting that the President might have been thinking about the 5 million single-parent woman-led households that currently exist in Mexico.
This tidbit, of course, is absent from the US-based right-wing Catholic Life Site News who calls Calderóns appearance at the gathering a "surprise" (actually, he has always said he is a devout Catholic in a heavily Catholic country so I'm not sure what's surprising about it) although they do admit that the President "did not address the specific issues of express divorce and homosexual unions" unlike others at the event.
My favorite headline from Mexican newspapers comes from Milenio: "The Church wants to confine gays and women to their homes".
In the article, Antonelli is quoted as saying that gays should stay in a "private sphere and not come out in public" and Mexican Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán saying that women should not be allowed to work or leave their children at home.
When asked about domestic violence among heterosexual partners, Barragán, who certainly seems to have a way with words, said that the Church did not have a role in educating believers in respecting other people's dignity.
"Unfortunately we are all sinners," he said, "The [Catholic] leadership does not have a machine gun to go into every household and say: Look, if you hit your woman, we will kill you right now."
Hundreds of protesters said to be affiliated with the left-wing Socialist Democratic Party greeted participants outside the Expo Bancomer Convention Center where the gathering is taking place January 13th through the 18th. A number of gay leaders had promised to hold their own demonstrations against the gathering.