The following comes from a Nov. 26 story on Catholic News Agency.

Legal expert Alan Sears said that the push for marriage redefinition in the U.S. has provided a platform for the issue at large and that Pope Francis’ visit in 2015 could mark a shift in the contentious debate.

“This could be a turning point in the struggle for marriage,” he told CNA Nov. 26. “The Holy Father has the opportunity to speak in the USA, to step into the middle of this with the message of love, with a message of hope to clarify and help people to understand the beauty of God’s design.”

Sears serves as president of the international legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, which specializes in the protection of religious liberty worldwide. He was recently in Rome for the Nov. 17-19 colloquium on the complementarity of man and woman in marriage that was attended by Pope Francis.

Also referred to as the “Humanum” conference, the gathering was sponsored by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

The meeting came amid the ongoing push for the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in the U.S. – a contentious issue that’s has left many Catholics divided. Sears believes many people today are deeply confused about the true nature of marriage and unaware of the security it provides to both individual families and society at large.

Pope Francis’ to Philadelphia for next year’s World Meeting of Families could likely be just as impactful as that of St. John Paul II on the pro-life movement when he came to Denver, Colo. in 1993 for World Youth Day, he said.

“One of the most incredible speeches was that which (John Paul) gave on the culture of life,” Sears recalled. It “was a turning-point moment” for the many in the pro-life movement whose work had largely been “pushed to the way-side” by secular press and those advocating abortion. Through his speech St. John Paul II sparked a new dimension of pro-life work that was founded on God’s plan for humanity and the joy that life brings, he reflected.

And what we are seeing now is an “incredible turn of public opinion,” so much so that “the pro-life movement is not too far away from a tipping point for victory.”

In this context, the visit of Pope Francis – at a time when the debate on marriage is so fierce – could be the opportunity those fighting for traditional marriage have been waiting for, Sears observed….

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