Pope Benedict lashed out Friday at Canada for allowing same-sex marriage and abortion, saying the policies resulted from Catholic politicians ignoring the values of their religion.
"In the name of tolerance, your country has had to endure the folly of the redefinition of spouse," the Pope told a group of bishops from Ontario. "In the name of freedom of choice, it is confronted with the daily destruction of unborn children."
Such laws, Benedict said, are the result of "the exclusion of God from the public sphere."
He lamented that Catholic politicians had yielded to "ephemeral social trends and the spurious demands of opinion polls."
Benedict has made the defence of traditional family values a major goal of his papacy, speaking out often on the issue. During a trip to Spain in July, he challenged that country's socialist government for instituting liberal reforms such as gay marriage and fast-track divorce.
Robert Mickens, the Rome correspondent for the Catholic newspaper The Tablet, told CBC News that the tone of the Pope's speech was a lot sharper than what he has said over the last several months.
Mickens said he suspected the speech was written for the Pope by Vatican officials because it didn't bear his style or syntax.
Parliament passed legislation in June 2005 that made Canada the fourth country in the world to recognize gay marriage.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he will revisit the issue and that members of Parliament will be asked this fall whether they wish to reopen the debate.
Although the motion could open the door to further discussion by MPs on same-sex marriage, it will not directly challenge the existing legislation.
It may, however, ask if parliamentarians wish to repeal the existing law or curtail it in some way.