Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI: Gay Marriage Is 'Insidious And Dangerous'

Benedict himself admitted to the "sins within the church" on the first day of the trip, his most explicit admission of Church culpability in the scandal. By Thursday, however, he had moved on to stressing core church teachings in the largely Roman Catholic country, where abortion on demand has been available since 2007 and where Parliament in January passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage. In addition, a judge in 2008 made it easier to obtain divorce even when one spouse objects.

Benedict told the gathering of lay Catholics that he appreciated their efforts fighting abortion and promoting the family based on the "indissoluble marriage between a man and woman" – the Vatican's way of expressing its opposition to divorce and same-sex unions.
Such initiatives "help respond to some of the most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good today," he said. "Alongside numerous other forms of commitment, such initiatives represent essential elements in the building of the civilization of love." Full story

Please note the three issues the pope touches upon, abortion, same sex marriage and divorce. In each case, the pope laments that civil government has made these actions legal. In other words, law no longer prohibits them. Now, a woman may decide for herself regarding reproduction. Persons with same sex orientation may enter into a union of love and life (marriage). People are no longer forced to remain in abusive or loveless marriages.

Christendom was a stage in European history when the Church and the State were in an active partnership. Realize that it was only about 45 years ago that Pope John XXIII removed the papal tiara from his head at the Second Vatican Council. One of the three crowns in the papal tiara symbolized temporal power, power over the secular order. The high point for papal influence and power was the pontificate of Innocent III in the twelfth century.

The teachings of the Church effectively informed, if not constituted the State’s laws. Christendom began to fade with the Renaissance.The Non-Establishment Clause in the US Constitution created the world’s first secular nation. This process was further accelerated by the French Revolution and its famous document “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen”

By the end of the Twentieth century the idea of secular states, in which citizens dictated laws through the democratic process, has become normative in Europe, North America and much of South America and Africa. Images of suicide bombers, theocratic dictatorships in the Middle East and fatwa against authors and journalists cause justifiable concern in the minds of contemporary people. These concerns are underscored when religious leaders attempt to force their teachings on society as a whole.

Yes, faith is an important part of most people’s lives; however, it is understood that this is a personal decision. It is voluntary. To take a page from human development, the relationship between parent and child is different when the child is 8, 16, 26, 46, 65, etc. If a parent attempted to exercise, the same form and level of control over a 45- year-old as over a 5-year-old, one would immediately recognize a problem. If the child at 45 agreed to being treated like a 5 year old, one would have serious concerns about the maturity/psychological health of that 45-year-old person.

Perhaps it is time for the pope to speak to believers and to the world at large, as adults. Perhaps it is time to move beyond prohibition and condemnation and to employ reason and dialogue. Jesus did not employ force of arms or the power of the state to force discipleship. He moved people by the power and beauty of the truth he proclaimed. Perhaps, I know this is a tad radical; but it is time for the Church to imitate its founder on this point.


Blindman said...

Isn't that the aforementioned tiara right at the top of the throne? Look just above the miter, which by the way couldn't be more crown-like, even with more jewels. Gosh, does he travel with that throne?

wild hair said...

Well, I recognized that picture on your blog. My friends, a gay couple, gave me a refrigerator magnet with that same picture of Benedict. On the magnet, which I have stuck to my refrigerator door, is this question: “Be truthful, does this outfit make me look TOO gay?”

I hoped Benedict would not bring up his favorite topics of abortion, divorce, and gay marriage on this trip. It would have been a welcome change. The man seems stuck in a pre Vatican II mindset. Then of course, all the issues he mentions are related to issues of sexuality which that Council did not really discuss. If this is all he has to talk about, then he comes off as a man totally out of touch.

The historical lesson on the symbolism of the papal tiara was instructive.

bilgud said...

very well said

Philip Carrizosa said...

My goodness! I had no idea when I legally married my partner of 15 years in November 2008 that we posed an "insidious and dangerous" threat to the world!
I thought we were simply proclaiming our love for each other in a ceremony sanctioned by the state of California.
And I would have loved to have Jesus as a guest at our wedding.

colkoch said...

I don't know if this answers your question wild hair, but to me he appears far more queenly than kingly.

Dan said...

I don't believe in gay marriage. Every married person I know is miserable!

matt said...

all it took was five days for portugal to reject the pope's judgement.
if i could say one thing to the pope, it would be that the modern world isn't the church's enemy. i hope the vatican stops treating it as such.
catholics would sleep a lot better at night.