Speaking in Barcelona, Spain on November 7th Benedict XVI stated: "The generous and indissoluble love of a man and a woman is the effective context and foundation of human life in its gestation, birth, growth and natural end." Let’s examine Benedict’s statement more closely.
“Indissoluble” In plain English this means that divorce is forbidden (and should be illegal, but we can’t quite pull that off yet). Benedict would point to the Gospel as the scriptural proof for this statement. However, the Catholic Church itself finds a legal way around these scriptural requirements for heterosexual couples.
“Context and foundation” Well, yes and no, Yes, biological reproduction necessitates a sperm and an egg. However, not all heterosexual marriages are capable of biological reproduction. The first marriage I officiated as a priest was between two people in there 70’s. The Catholic Church has always recognized marriages incapable of biological reproduction as valid and sacramental marriages. In fact, in the marriage rites of the Catholic Church references to children appear in red brackets. This is so the priest may easily omit such references in the cases where the begetting of children is impossible. So if two heterosexuals (who are incapable of reproduction) may enter into marriage, which the Catholic Church defines as a “Union of Love and Life”, then why can’t two people homosexuals enter into marriage?
Benedict employs a false logic when he creates a false opposition between heterosexual marriage and Same-sex marriage. How specifically and exactly do Same-sex marriages endanger, or undermine heterosexual marriages? Benedict and Maggie Gallagher desperately avoid these logical fine points, because this is where logic fails them and reveals their arguments as mere bigotry.
At the start of the visit on Saturday the Pope compared the "aggressive lay mentality, anticlericalism and secularisation" of modern Spain to that of the 1930s, when the church suffered a wave of violence and persecution as the country lurched from an unstable democracy to civil war.During that time the church claims that 4,184 members of the clergy were put to death by supporters of the Republican cause for their perceived backing of General Francisco Franco, whose 36-year fascist dictatorship ended with his death in 1975. The comparison angered many. An editorial in Spain's left-leaning newspaper El Pais declared such an opinion to be based on "ignorance"
The problem with Benedict’s historical references is that they focus on a true historic event; however, they are cited out of context. It would be the equivalent of citing General Sherman’s burning of Atlanta or the fire bombing of Dresden by the Union/Allies as immoral acts. Yes, one may certainly make a moral case against both of those historic acts; however, they must be read within the greater historic context in which they occurred. The Confederacy and the Third Reich through their governmental injustices contributed to the conditions that contributed to these acts. Likewise, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Spain after centuries of abuse helped to create the conditions that contributed to the acts of the Spanish Republic.
Benedict said "at a time in which man claims to be able to build his life without God, as if God had nothing to say to him." The percentage of atheists in our country is rather small. I don't think that most people in our society have a problem with God; but rather, with those who claim to be God's official spokespersons. In the case of Benedict and the catholic hierarchy, especially in the light of the Sex Abuse Cover-Up Scandal, I fully understand and empathize with their skepticism.