Pope Francis and Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow condemned abortion, euthanasia, and non-traditional marriage in a joint statement today.

“We call on all to respect the inalienable right to life,” the document says. “Millions are denied the very right to be born into the world. The blood of the unborn cries out to God (cf. Gen 4:10).

“The emergence of so-called euthanasia leads elderly people and the disabled begin to feel that they are a burden on their families and on society in general.”

They also reaffirmed that marriage is between a man and woman and that family is the basis of society. “The family is the natural centre of human life and society. We are concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries.”

“The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman.”

“We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.”

The joint declaration also condemned the persecution of Christians, called for Christian unity, and honored the sacrifice of Christian martyrs.

They signed the joint declaration in the first meeting between a Catholic pontiff and Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow in nearly a 1000 years since the Great East-West Schism in the 11th century. Pope Francis reportedly greeted Patriarch Kirill saying, “Brother, finally!”

More coverage:

–> Pope, Patriarch Exhort Christians to Pray to Prevent World War III

–> The Best Photos of the Historic Meeting Between Pope Francis & Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow

–> “Brother, Finally!”: Pope Meets Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow for First Time in 1000 Years

–> 14 Key Quotes from the Historic Catholic-Orthodox Joint Declaration

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