[JURIST] Pope Benedict XVI [official profile] on Friday condemned proposed Italian legislation [JURIST report] that would recognize civil unions for unmarried couples, including same-sex couples. The Pope, speaking [VIS press release] in a Christmas address to the Rome clergy, said the legislation threatens traditional marriage by granting legal recognition to "de facto couples," and that the legislation blurs the "masculinity and femininity" of men and women.
The new center-left government of Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi [official website; BBC profile] promised before taking office last May to consider recognizing civil unions. The government's position had already prompted condemnation from the Vatican [JURIST report], with Pope Benedict denouncing any legal recognition of same-sex couples. Reuters has more.