23 December 2008

At least Barack Obama didn't ask this religious leader to speak at the Inauguration ...

With all the blog commentary about Rick Warren being selected give the invocation at President-Elect Obama's Inauguration, it's a good thing that he didn't ask for Pope Benedict XVI to speak.

Check out the recent news story from England with the Benedict's comments on how we need to "save the world" from homosexuality:
"Pope: Saving world from homosexuality like saving rainforests"
In comments at the Vatican that are likely to provoke a furious reaction from homosexual groups, Benedict also warned that blurring the distinction between male and female could lead to the "self-destruction" of the human race.

In his address to the Curia, the Vatican's central administration, he described behaviour beyond traditional heterosexual relations as "a destruction of God's work" and said that the Roman Catholic Church had a duty to "protect man from the destruction of himself".

It is not "outmoded metaphysics" to urge respect for the "nature of the human being as man and woman," he added.

"The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less."

The Catholic Church teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are. It opposes gay marriage and, in October, a leading Vatican official described homosexuality as "a deviation, an irregularity, a wound".

The Pope said humanity needed to "listen to the language of creation" to understand the intended roles of man and woman.

He also defended the Church's right to "speak of human nature as man and woman, and ask that this order of creation be respected".


fausto said...

The Pope speaks of respecting creation, but apparently it hasn't occurred to him that each of us is created as we are, not as he thinks we ought to have been. Perhaps he's the one who is not listening attentively enough to the language of creation.

I realize you're being rhetorical, of course, but can you imagine? If Obama had invited the Pope to speak at his inauguration? That would set tongues wagging a lot more that Rick Warren did for a lot of reasons.

fausto said...

Although, to be fair to the Pope, our fellow UU blogger serenityhome suggests that The Telegraph may have misconstrued the Pope's comments. If that's the case The Telegraph, as well as you and I in our first reactions, would have allowed our presuppositions to infect our perceptions and lead us to false judgments.

Which happens, among us UUs as well as everyone else, far more often than we like to admit.

Something to think about at this darkest time of the year, when we await the arrival of growing light.

Bill Baar said...

Ratzinger a pretty deep guy. I'd be very cautious of anyones intrepretation of him without having read his comments in full first.

Steve Caldwell said...

Fausto wrote:
"Although, to be fair to the Pope, our fellow UU blogger serenityhome suggests that The Telegraph may have misconstrued the Pope's comments."


I cannot find the complete text of the Pope's remarks, but I did find this quote on a traditionalist Catholic news web site:

"That Creator Spirit, the Pope observed, helps Christians to understand 'our responsibility toward the earth. It is not simply our property to be exploited according to our interests and desires. Rather, it is a gift of the Creator.' However, he added, concern for God's creation cannot be limited to care for the natural environment-- although that is certainly a part of it. Far more important, he said, is the Church's mission to preserve what he called referred to as 'something like an ecology of the human being, understood in the proper manner.' In this context, the Pope said that the Church must teach clearly about the nature of the human person, to counteract the influence of secular ideologies that confuse and diminish human dignity. He spoke specifically about "gender ideology," insisting that God created man and woman as complementary, and the Church "demands that this order of creation be respected" by promotion of marriage and family life.

Yes -- it's accurate to say the Pope didn't use words like "homosexuality" or "homosexual" the portions of his talk online.

But what he said doesn't favor justice for our bisexual, gay, lesbian, or transgender neighbors either. It also doesn't favor those who want justice for all genders either.

Personally, I think he's trying to obscure anti-BGLT bigotry through theological bullshit.

And I've read that gay and lesbian Christian groups around the world are interpreting his commments as homophobic:

The UK's Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) called his remarks "irresponsible and unacceptable."

Vladimir Luxuria, a transgender politician and former Italian MP, called his words "hurtful."

It's not just the UK's Telegraph that's reporting this story - a Google News search this morning for "Pope Benedict" and "gay":


The Pope has resources not available to the average citizen -- he's a public figure like a politician.

If his comments were somehow misunderstood by the press and he really didn't intend to sound homophobic, I'm sure he could fix this with a press release.

Celebrities have to do this sort of "damage control" all the time -- look at Mel Gibson's apology to the Jewish Communities after his DUI arrest.

Maybe the Pope doesn't view his comments as damaging and the Telegraph didn't get it wrong?