Pope Benedict said on Saturday the Catholic Church could not accept gay marriage and urged young people to root out evil in society and shun a “lukewarm” faith that damages their Church.
The 84-year-old pope ended the third day in his homeland with a rally telling young people, “The world in which we live, in spite of its technical progress, does not seem to be getting any better. There is still war and terror, hunger and disease, bitter poverty and merciless oppression.”
He urged them to root out all forms of evil in society and not to be “lukewarm Christians,” saying that lack of commitment to faith did more damage to their Church than its sworn enemies. Most can agree with vague anti-war/anti-hunger statements. What to put on an “evil” list is another matter.
Unfortunately, gay marriage is near the top on his “evil” list, right beneath gays and lesbians themselves. Pope Benedict continues to provide a layer of justification for violence, harm, and discrimination against gays and lesbians. He blames lukewarm faith for damaging the Church rather than its own mediocre layers of leadership within its ranks, years of official deception before pedophilia in the media and its long opposition to promoting safer sex for its adherents.
The Church is to be admired for its liturgy and mantras of peace, opposing war and terror, hunger and disease, bitter poverty and merciless oppression. It reminds the world, like a religious Successories company promoting noble ideas to fight evil and be kind. But, like so many institutions, the devil is in the details.
Pope Benedict regularly makes pronouncements opposing Gay Marriage. He now condones condoms to prevent the spread of HIV and other diseases, but only as a last resort, and after two decades of pressure and education from those within the church, from organizations and governments. It was essentially a move to help the Church save face. Brazil, a heavily catholic country, has now purchased millions of condoms to slow the spread of HIV in its country. The Pope is practical, if not prophetic. He still considered wearing a condom a sin, but it is a lesser sin than spreading HIV.
The Catholic of good and evil includes extensive nuances which are exhaustive, dated, and at times – by current independent thought, wrong. Should a conversation about good and evil occur between Pope Benedict and the Supreme Leader of Iran, there would be little in which to argue, except perhaps the prosecution of the sins.
The Pope’s opposition to Gay Marriage is based on scripture narrowly interpreted and history blinding him, rather than with a mind open to God. Research into psychology, physiology, sociology, and other studies have identified in recent decades that homosexuality is not disability or an abnormality. In fact, until the 1600s, the Church never used the term abnormal or unnatural in relation to anything that wasn’t spiritual in nature. It never used the word homosexual until the last century.
Much of the anti-gay angst is based on the ancient story of Sodom and Gomorrah. This is a short story in the Bible and the Quran which scholarly leaders use to justify the vilification of gays and lesbians. Scholars of the Bible and Quran insist that these cities were populated only by gay people. This is simply ludicrous.
The Pope could correct this mistake. The story was an indictment of people who were simply wicked, hateful, and inhospitable and should be destroyed. Instead, as with human nature, scholars had to find a scapegoat.
The failure of leadership in the thoughts and context where the Pope fails to grasp God’s intent for those who are gay and lesbian starts in the Genesis (1:27) and ends with a comment from Saint Paul (Galations 3:28). God created us (all of us) in His image. What is his image? Simply, it is Spirit and Truth. And, in the New Testament, if you are Christian, Christ is who’s we are, therefore arguments based on gender, status or bloodline are inconsequential. Therefore to whom you are married is inconsequential, what is of import is that we love.
The actions of the Catholic Church demonstrate an entrenched strategy promoting priestly pedophiles and out of touch statements of belief. Advances in education, research and science continue to correct doctrinal teaching of many of the Catholic edicts of the last 5 centuries. The values of Love, Charity, Peace, and Faith don’t change, but the rules imposed in the interpretation of those values can.
The Pope and the Church supports discrimination against gays and lesbians. The Pope opposes the decriminalization of homosexuality at the UN. He opposes gay marriage. He opposes gays in leadership within his organization. With these values, he provides cover for countries, political leaders, and individuals to persecute or prosecute those who simply were made in God’s image, and found themselves born in the wrong country to express their love.
The Pope could reduce merciless oppression, war and terror tremendously by merely practicing acts of compassion and inclusion. He could reduce oppression by openly including gays and lesbians into the Catholic family. He could travel throughout Africa preaching inclusion, peace and acceptance. He could perform a gay wedding.
I pray for the day when a Pope, dressed in the garb he wears, starts to sing “We are Family”. That would be a day when life truly would get better.