Teresa Benedetta has translated what the Pope recently said on Monday
Since faith in the Creator is an essential part of the Christian Creed, the Church cannot and should not limit itself to transmitting to its faithful only the message of salvation. She has a responsibility for Creation, and it should validate this responsibility in public.
In so doing, it should defend not just the earth, water and air as gifts of Creation that belong to everyone. She should also protect man from destroying himself.
It is necessary to have something like an ecology of man, understood in the right sense. It is not outdated metaphysics when the Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and asks that this natural order be respected.
This has to do with faith in the Creator and listening to the language of creation, which, if disregarded, would be man’s self-destruction and therefore a destruction of God’s work itself.
That which has come to be expressed and understood with the term ‘gender’ effectively results in man’s self-emancipation from Creation (nature) and from the Creator. Man wants to do everything by himself and to decide always and exclusively about anything that concerns him personally. But this is to live against truth, to live against the Spirit Creator.
The tropical rain forests deserve our protection, yes, but man does not deserve it less as a Creature of the Spirit himself, in whom is inscribed a message that does not mean a contradiction of human freedom but its condition.
The great theologians of Scholasticism described matrimony – which is the lifelong bond between a man and a woman – as a sacrament of Creation, that the Creator himself instituted, and that Christ, without changing the message of Creation, welcomed in the story of his alliance with men.
Part of the announcement that the Church should bring to men is a testimonial for the Spirit Creator present in all of nature, but specially in the nature of man, who was created in the image of God.
One must reread the encyclical Humanae vitae with this perspective: the intention of Pope Paul VI was to defend love against consumer sex, the future against the exclusive claim of the moment, and human nature against manipulation.
And then Reuters and other news agencies translated his speech into something quite different.
VATICAN CITY, Dec. 22 (Reuters) – Pope Benedict said on Monday that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behavior was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.
“(The Church) should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed,” the Pontiff said in a holiday address to the Curia, the Vatican’s central administration. [The Pope clearly says saving man ‘from the destruction of himself’, not from gays, nor saving ‘gays’ or homosexuals, or any other way of parsing his statement uncharitably and erroneously.]
“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 called homosexuality “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 compared behavior beyond traditional heterosexual relations as “a destruction of God’s work.”
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.”
Got that. Defending marriage most beatifically is an attack on people who have same-sex attraction or gender confusion. The media has the charism of infallibility when it comes to reporting what the Pope did not say.
I can just imagine the typical reporter reading what the Pope said. First they would come across the comparison using ecology and think “darn, no headline there” and then come to the part on “between a man and a women” and the pink triangle alarm bells went off with them shouting “stop the presses!” or whatever term is used today.
Instead of “stop the presses!” I think they shout something like “beat that dead horse!” Or maybe “We’re not going bankrupt fast enough!”
Been a long time since I worked at a paper, though.
And now the Reuters story has become the top story on Digg…
Warning, comments are pretty anti-Catholic, as always.
“Churches stand silent & empty …as raging, mindless Catholic mobs fan out through cities worlwide… seeking to brutalise homosexuals…”
There will be lots of screaming and rushing about looking for scapegoats in the coming year as our bills for immorality come due. That Reuters has decided to slander Catholics is not surprising. We still have a way to go before they finally get the message.
Meanwhile, the same virus that has been inarcerating huge swaths of black men is now incinerating trillions of dollars. We have lost the connection between earning and receiving whether that be sex or goods and services. I expect lots more attacks on the thrifty, the chaste and the hardworking in the coming year as the rest attempt to escape their fate.
Oh yes, and Merry Christmas.
Hey Jeff, Small Dead Animals, one of the biggest conservative blogs in Canada just linked to you.
You only need to view homosexual or transsexual sex in action to know that it is weird, not normal and wrong. There are ample videos available since many of those folks like to be seen doing it.
Please … let those traditional folks have their man-woman marriages left alone. They had it first. The Gay and secular community is doing to Christians what Europeans did to the American Indian.
Consider, some day when the world is ruled by secular pervs lesbians and of course, what’s left of the traditional political criminals, they may find themselves paying reparations to married Christians for destroying their culture.
I think you’re dead wrong about the press not reporting this story accurately. They absolutely did. The Pope was saying that the aberration of human kind’s Divinely-designed heterosexual marriage naturally invites destruction, just as the burning of the rainforests invites negative environmental consequences.
Yes, orientation towards homosexuality is technically not a sin, according to Catholic teaching. However, Ratzinger himself previously said (in “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Care of Homosexual Persons”) that homosexuality is an “intrinsic moral evil.” Indeed, it IS the position of the Catholic church that a homosexual orientation (though not a sin) is “disordered.” A homosexual orientation is considered to be a “trial” that homosexuals must endure by being chaste. (See the Catechism of the Catholic Church, P. 2357-2349)
So what does that mean for actual gay people? Well, it means they don’t get to have romantic relationships of any kind. Romance and all it’s particular joys and sorrows are “out of bounds” for the gay person. Stepping into that territory IS a sin and could be grounds for a one-way ticket to Hell.
Now, I understand exactly what the Pope is saying here. He is an intuitive, philosophical man. He loves his theology and loves how it all fits together. He’s a very cerebral person.
Here’s what he’s saying. He’s saying that man is designed for woman, just as man is designed to live in harmony with his natural environment. He is saying that the aberration of ANY natural law invites destruction. Burn down the rainforest, and you get global warming. Burn down the notion of clear gender roles, and the result “would be man’s self-destruction and therefore a destruction of God’s work itself.”
Just because the Pope did not explicitly mention homosexuality doesn’t mean that it was exactly what he was talking about, along with transgendered people too.
The basic point of this article is that, the Pope didn’t *really* say that saving humanity from homosexuality is as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.
I totally disagree with that. The Pope said, “[The Church] should also protect man from destroying himself.” He goes on to say, “when the Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, [she] asks that this natural order be respected… if disregarded, [that] would be man’s self-destruction. The tropical rain forests deserve our protection, yes, but man does not deserve it less.”
The news organizations have reported this story accurately. I don’t see why you’re so upset.
Yes, the media are often simplistic in their reporting, but one could argue the Vatican is as well in it’s views (technically would arguing so be a sin?).
‘Gender’ and ‘gender studies’ are imho necessary to understand better what it means to be man, women, male, female, human and who are. From understanding the influence of nature, nurture, society comes a social responsability to allow man to grow beyond it’s culturally and biologicaly set boundaries (some say god given), we are no slaves! Ofcourse the changes in society are disruptive, ofcourse I know that for freedom one also needs boundaries, but change is not always bad and boundaries are there to be crossed.
Stating ‘gender’, use of the term and it’s study, it’s self-emancipatory effects, automatically leads away from God is something which I have difficulty understanding.
Do you remember what some of the headlines were for the encyclical on the Eucharist? “Pope Cracks Down on Divorced Catholics.” Whaaa?
This is par for the course.
I think I can safely assume that none of us are surprized at how the media twists things arround.
This is just another in a long string of attacks on the Church & what it really teaches.
It is good that the pope speaks up about the disorder of homosexual acts. He sets a good example for us.
You decide…who’s the Bigger Geek: me for getting the “bearded Spock universe” reference or you for using it to defend the Pope?
I think I know the answer…
Fr. Philip, OP
‘Gender’ and ‘gender studies’ are imho necessary to understand better what it means to be man, women, male, female, human and who are.
Rescpectfully, no we don’t. I’ve yet to see any gender studies that added anything new to our knowledge.
Scott wrote: “I’ve yet to see any gender studies that added anything new to our knowledge.”
How can people gloss over contributions by luminaries like Derrida (phallocentrism), Luce Irigaray, Donna Haraway (cyborg), Martha Nusbaum (sex&social justice) etc., suggest they bring nothing new to the table or worse -like pope benedict xvi- suggest such thoughts obscure rather then sharpen our view on man without even addressing the issues raised?
Even so, the latter seems to me like blaming inquisitive A (gender studies) for inspiring evil B (disruption of family unit, homosexuality) which was influenced by A. Science, industralization were disruptive too, but we are here now because of it. This doesn’t mean the questioning scientific endeavour in itself is bad.
This absolute evil B doesn’t look that evil if you look at it from scientific viewpoint: studies show children of same sex parents do just as good as children from hetero sex partners, marriage is a social institution much older then the church. Is it just for a society to look down upon gays to live together, share intimacy, their minds and bodies with the people they fall in love with?
Although I applaud the pope for bringing attention to the ecology of man, the fabric of society and ultimately that which bind, inspires and transcends us all, this endeavour is imo not helped by such non-interdisciplinary approaches.
“How can people gloss over contributions by luminaries like Derrida (phallocentrism), Luce Irigaray, Donna Haraway (cyborg), Martha Nusbaum (sex&social justice) etc., suggest they bring nothing new to the table or worse -like pope benedict xvi- suggest such thoughts obscure rather then sharpen our view on man without even addressing the issues raised?”
Calling Derrida and Nussbaum luminaries is a bit over the top, but that being said, you fail to see the difference in stances here.
While such studies only ever describe the way man acts in our current world and not seldom create some of the things they describe (just for better describing), their aim is never to change anything about it. It’s what in philosophical research we call ‘attention raising’ in the hope that rendering it transparent the intellectual self of any human might change their ways. But a philosopher would never say ‘change your ways’.
That’s what the Church is here for with it’s rules and reasonings. It’s not to respect man in it’s boundaries, but give him means and reasons to transcend them.
Another major difference between the current gender hype and classic anthropology (such as in Aristotle, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Suarez etc.) is that today the papers all revolve around the social being which in a description of man always comes secondary or tertiary to what being human really is.
yseult wrote: “But a philosopher would never say ‘change your ways’.”
Sartre and Plato would be the last to agree with that statement but I get the point.
A reminder of the distinction between the Church as a moral compass and science as dealing with knowledge is very useful here.
The distinction is however not always -as in this case- that clear. The philosophy of science did much to uncover the normative aspects of science and the Vatican does it’s best to show that there is a different anthropology behind for example gender studies that results in what it regards as the culture of Sodom and death.
I responded to the latter by stating gender studies and other fields augment rather then obscure our knowledge about what man is. Gender studies were/are generally skewed toward identity as merely a social construction, but every specialism is naturally skewed by a focus on parts instead of the whole, hence my call for looking at man from all angles, biological, social, gender, cybernetic, anthropological. Even Aristotle talks about the ‘zoon politicon’.
Natural Law is derived from a specific view on nature from the 12th century. This view and the view on the views itself has been sharpened in the last century to the point the Natural Law has to be adjusted if it wants to be internally consistent.
Take for example marriage, sexuality and homosexuality; the existence of the clitoris is at odds with the view on sex as in service of procreation only. The existence of people who their whole life know they live in a wrong body of the wrong sex is at odds with the view man is either male or female, the existence of homosexual animals is at odds with the view homosexuality is disordered.
In animals homosexuality is a natural phenomenon.
Still sex for mutual enjoyment is regarded as a sin, homosexuality is seen as a sin, still people vote against same-sex marriage, but these assumptions are rooted in a ethics which is based on an inaccurate perception of nature.
Reasoning from this natural law I hear intelligent representatives of the Church state the lifestyle of homosexuals hurts their well being *in this life*, something which can easily be shown as false. The quality of long term homosexual relationships is similar to that homosexual relationships.