Friday, December 21, 2012

This Year's Vatican Christmas Gift to the Gays: You Inhabit a "Different Reality"

While many faith communities and people committed to human rights for all celebrate the growing acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons and their gifts in the human community (I'm referring here to Mr. Fish's holiday message about lights of many colors), the men running the Catholic church remain stuck. In a time warp.  Or an alternate universe.

Back in 2008, in his Christmas message to the Curia, Pope Benedict informed the grave gentlemen of the church's central governing body that (I kid you not) teh gayz represent a threat to the ecology of civilization akin to the destruction of the rain forest. As Christmas 2009 ended and 2010 got underway, teh gayz continued to be on the pope's mind and heart, and in new year's messages in 2010, he pontificated about how laws protecting the human rights of the LGBT community threaten human ecology by striking at gender difference.

Christmas 2011 came and went and 2012 got underway, and once again, Benedict was off on a new year's rant about teh gayz and their singular threat to the future of civilization. It would be interesting to know why Benedict seems particularly preoccupied with his gay brothers and sisters as Christmas and the new year's celebration roll around each year. You'd think, wouldn't you, that basic good manners, not to mention simple human decency, would urge the leader of a church which claims Jesus as its inspiration to reach out and include everyone at these important yearly church- and family-oriented celebrations?

Not to offer little poison pills as Christmas gifts each year to some of his brothers and sisters.

And now Christmas 2012 is nearing, and as Zack Ford reports at Think Progress, this year's little poison pill offered as a Vatican Christmas gift to the gay community is a claim by the Vatican paper Osservatore Romano that gay couples exist in an alternative universe, in "a different reality" (no, not making this up, either!), and that marriage equality is some kind of sinister socialist plot to undermine Western civilization. Never mind that homophobic violence and the refusal to accord rights to LGBT citizens are far more pronounced in the former state-socialist sector of Eastern Europe than in Western Europe.

Osservatore Romano is incensed that the French Catholic journal Témoignage chrétien, founded by Jesuit Father Pierre Chaillet during the Nazi occupation of France to defend human rights and place French Catholics on the side of resistance to the Nazi movement, has just taken a stand in support of marriage equality.

This truly is some kind of pathology, isn't it, this need of Pope Benedict and the men now running the Catholic church to use any occasion at all to knock a persistently targeted group of their fellow human beings and fellow Catholics about the head? In the name of the all-loving, all-compassionate, all-accepting and all-including Christ whose birth we celebrate each Christmas time . . . .

P.S. And little did I know that on the very day I was preparing this posting, Benedict would deliver yet another blow to his gay brothers and sisters with yet another Christmas message about gays as a threat to the ecology of the human community (his remarks to the Curia focus on marriage equality as an attack on "natural" gender roles, and therefore an undermining of the nexus of nature that must not be manipulated or disrespected, if we don't want to harm the human community).

And so I repeat: this truly is some kind of pathology, isn't it? And we might just laugh or shrug our shoulders at it, if this kind of toxic religious tomfoolery didn't energize groups who make life so miserable for gay or gender-questioning young people that they end up killing themselves.

For a continuation of this discussion that analyzes Benedict's 2012 Christmas address to the Curia in theological terms, see this subsequent posting.

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