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Posted by on Dec 23, 2008 in Uncategorized | 40 comments

Pope’s end of year speech

Pope Benedict XVI has said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour is just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction. Go here.

Thanks to anticant for drawing my attention to this…

POST SCRIPT 24TH DEC: there is a follow up piece here.


  1. no surprises there then.

  2. Statements such as this amount to the calculated drumming up of sheer hatred against those with little means of defending themselves.What is the Pope proposing – a pogrom along Nazi eugenecist lines against people with little means of defending themselves?I have had good lifelong friends who are Catholics, and they none of them subscribe to this kind of inflammatory rhetoric.But they never speak out against it AS CATHOLICS, because they have been so mentally brainwashed into believing that the Pope is the Voice of God, even when they choose to disregard his pronouncements.Unless we an quickly produce new generations of reality-based thinkers, the outlook for humanity really does look bleak what with the Pope and the fundamentalist born-again Christians on the one hand, and the barmy Muslims on the other.As Katharine Whitehorn once unforgettably said, the trouble with so many born-again people is that you wish they had never been born the first time.

  3. What’s this? Hold the front page! The Pope believes the mainstream Christian teaching on homosexuality? Well I never….I haven’t been able to find a transcript of the actual speech, so whilst I can doubt the wisdom of releasing such statements to the media in this way, without the context I don’t know whether this fuss is justified.

  4. Right, anticant. I’m beginging to think they chose Ratzinger because of his early Nazi involvements, not dispite of them.

  5. Psiomniac, mainstream Christian teaching labels lots of things – such as usury and eating shellfish – as sinful, but the Catholic Church isn’t continually ranting and raving against them, and inciting hatred and mistreatment of those who practise them.

  6. didn’t know about shellfish, is the famous gay scene in Spartacus a reference to this!Usual stupidity and hatred, what a shame…studies show that many rainforest tribes are gay friendly unlike the Catholic Church they have an excellent record of protecting the environment.The pope ought to do something about systematic child abuse in his catholic thoughts on all this

  7. “Pope Benedict XVI has said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual *behaviour* is just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.”The article’s lead doesn’t jibe with its content. The Pope wasn’t speaking about the dangers of homosexual and transexual *behavior*, but of the widespread acceptance of some of the conclusions of gender theory about human nature. There’s a big difference there. One could have no problem with homosexuality at all and still think that gender theory is nonsense (or potentially harmful).

  8. Psiomniac, I assume you are not gay? Those of us who, like myself, are and have fought – in my case for over half a century – for the limited rights we now have, are only too well aware of the precariousness of these, and the constant attempts, primarily by religious people, to roll them back. All we want is to be left alone to live our own lives as we choose in an open, democratic society. Or do you believe that the religious should be entitled to impose their values and laws upon others – gay or not – who do not share thir faith?I do not!

  9. Yes, indeed, we must save the world from… LOVE! Bring back the stoning of disobedient children while we’re at it! There’s some good, old-fashioned justice for you!This is what is so appalling about religious teachings with respect to homosexuality. Catholics have chosen their metaphysical heuristic, a choice they would vociferously defend — and have — from state oppression. And yet, the purest expression of choice, falling in love, is to be oppressed? “Love the sinner, hate the sin” is beyond ridiculous, since it is the sin that defines the sinner in this case. Bah — it is this pathologizing of basic humanity that is so reprehensible among the Abrahamic faiths.

  10. anticant,Firstly, it is not mainstream Christian teaching to avoid shellfish. Secondly, I don’t think my sexuality has anything to do with the arguments.My view is that the Catholic church has a particular view on homosexual activity which is based on some premises with which I disagree, but could be argued to be part of an internally consistent world view. I think their views should be tolerated in the context of an overarching secular framework of law which holds that discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation is unacceptable.

  11. Psiomniac,Shellfish and all that: If the “mainstream Christian teaching” against homosexuality doesn’t come from those series of “abominations” fulminated against in Leviticus, where does it come from? The New Testament Jesus never mentioned the subject.If your sexuality was the target of incessant verbal, and frequently in some parts of the world physical, attack amounting even to murder, you would not consider it to be nothing to do with the arguments.”I think their views should be tolerated in the context of an overarching secular framework of law which holds that discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation is unacceptable.” That’s all fine and dandy – but it’s not what the Catholic Church, the Protestant Fundamentalists, and the Muslims want, is it? Perhaps their recent strenuous struggles to wriggle out of the anti-discrimination legislation was beneath your lofty notice.

  12. anticant,As far as I know Jesus does not mention homosexuality. Some argue that this can be interpreted to mean that Jesus didn’t think it was a big deal, but then again it can be counter argued that as a Jew he simply took it as a given that homosexuality was forbidden without feeling the need to mention it explicitly.As for where most prohibitionists look for biblical support in the New Testament, I would suggest Romans 1:26-28, Leviticus and the mosaic law having been superseded by the new covenant, or so the argument goes. Since I don’t believe in god I regard these as matters internal to Christianity, but I strongly resist any attempts by them to impose their views on society at large.My sexuality has nothing to do with the arguments although it might inform my sense of urgency and political stance. I don’t think the persecution you describe is acceptable and nor does the pope as far as I can tell.As for what the churches want, just because I think it is acceptable that they are able to say what they want, it doesn’t follow that I think it is acceptable that they get what they want.

  13. I picked out this quote from the article:”It teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are.”I take it that by “homosexuality” one means a tendency to feel lust over a member of the same sex? However, so long as one does not act on these, we’re in the clear? So where does that leave us with this quote from Christ:Matthew 5:2727 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman(MAN) with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her(HIM) in his heart.How can you be a homosexual without having lustful intent? And if it’s OK to have lustful intent, then are we not contradicting Christ?

  14. Yes Andrew, it is amazing what contradictions you can glean if you are allowed to change the words….

  15. Psiomniac and Andrew, do let’s stop playing the silly game or reading the mind of Jesus. The guy probably didn’t exist, anyway, or if he did it’s unlikely that he was anything like the Gospel portrayals. To speculate on what he might or might not have thought or said is simply reinforcing the fairy tales peddled by the credulous clergy.I base my ethics on better criteria than the Bible.

  16. Anticant,I was simply pointing to a seemingly inconsistent view they’re holding.Because you mentioned it, what criteria do you base your ethics on (if you don’t mind me asking)?

  17. Yes, I thought you’d ask that! First and foremost,Integrity: reality-based thinking and as much honesty in belief, speech and action as I can muster.And you?

  18. Psiomniac and Andrew, do let’s stop playing the silly game or reading the mind of Jesus.But Miss, he started it. I just pointed out that he only derived a contradiction by changing the words. Whether Jesus existed is irrelevant to my argument!

  19. I believe in full legal equality for gays, including the right to marry.I also believe in free speech (with the usual qualifications – shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre etc).So the Pope should be free to tell gays he thinks gay sex sucks, and gays free to tell the Pope he sucks.The Pope’s views on gayness definitely suck. But he isn’t soliciting the murder of gays – unlike Qaradawi.

  20. First and foremost,Integrity: reality-based thinking and as much honesty in belief, speech and action as I can muster.I would suggest that this is almost like saying, “as a scientist I base my thinking on integrity and reality based thinking…”The reality is, science, just like morality, has its foundations. I would suggest that whether one would like to believe it or not, Christianity is the foundation of western morality in much the same way Pythagoras is the foundation of western mathematics or Plato is the foundation for western philosophy and reason. Now this isn’t to say that we should bow down and kiss the feet of Pythagoras any more then we should bow down and kiss the feet of Christ, but certainly we should have a great deal of respect for those foundations. And whether or not Christ actually existed has no relevance to the case that his teachings are foundational to western society.Following that, and relative to what the Pope is saying, just as science builds and expands to keep up with the needs of an ever changing world, so to should our foundations of morality change to encompass the rights and integrity of humanity. It’s not, then, that the bible was wrong any more then Plato may have been, only that the ideas they preached do not necessarily apply in the world we live in today; but again, if it wasn’t for them, we’d have no basis for which to begin having a conversation about reason or morality.

  21. Psiomniac said… “As for where most prohibitionists look for biblical support in the New Testament, I would suggest Romans 1:26-28, Leviticus and the mosaic law having been superseded by the new covenant, or so the argument goes.”It’s an odd argument in the light of the words ascribed to Jesus in Matthew 5 18-20:”For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”(‘The law’ here means the first five books of the Old Testament, of course.)

  22. As I’m not a scientist [in the sense that I think you mean], I don’t get your point.Of course all morality and ethics has foundations. The foundations of Western morality are pre-Christian, coming mostly from the Greeks and the Stoics. In any case, if you compare various moral codes, Christianity certainly doesn’t strike me as the loftiest or most admirable.

  23. The pontiff clearly states what is obvious, but not to those who would continue to twist and turn the message to suit their liking. The pontiff is correct. There is but one truth. The comments that are expressed here in these blogs evidence the denial of the truth and obvious “choices” made by those who continue to hawk this e upon our country disguised as “discrimination”. The pontiff is warning the public that this farce must end. The public must wake up to this mis-guided believe that everything is ok! It’s not ok! and that’s what the pontiff says. End of comment.

  24. anticant,I would disagree with you that the foundations of western morality are pre-Christian simply because, since before the dark ages, Christianity (good or bad) has been a staple. People didn’t go to churches to worship the Greeks, they went to church to worship Christ and his teachings – as such that’s our foundation. As for Christianity being the “loftiest”; I would suggest that this is merely a relative claim, in other words you’re saying that it’s not lofty by todays standards, but again, relative to my example, Pythagoras is in no way lofty by todays standards and neither is Plato. The point is simply that these entities, Christianity, Plato and the like, are foundations of our thinking, reasoning, and judgments about morality; they are the place where our western conversations about these topics began.

  25. Is worship a component of morality? I don’t think so. Marcus Aurelius is more admirable than Jesus.

  26. anticant,I’m not suggesting that worship is or is not a component or morality, merely that the morality the west has been following for 2000 years has been Christian; not pre-christian.if you don’t think that’s the case, then how so?

  27. So then, is Marcus Aurelius the foundation of your morality then?

  28. It would be nice to discern some practical morality in the behaviour of Christians over the past 2000 years!Marcus Aurelius – why do you want to know? Yes, partly.As Disraeli retorted to the lady who – when he told her that his religion was the religion of all sensible men – enquired what that was, “Sensible men never tell!” And what about yours? I’ve asked you this before, but so far you haven’t deigned to reply.I think we shall have to agree to disagree on this one.

  29. Fair enough, we’ll agree to disagree – we’d likely end up going round in circles I suppose.My moral foundations are Christian – although my moral foundations are not based on absolutes.

  30. Christian morality? Every religion persecutes when it has the power and the opportunity to do so. The history of the Catholic Church is replete with examples – see David Ranan: “Double Cross. The Code of the Catholic Church”. Protestants are no better, and Islam is worse.I rest my case.

  31. I thought we were going to agree to disagree – now you’re inciting argument again, then stating you rest your case…So should I rest my case, or are we still having a conversation here?

  32. In other words, is this where I should state cases of atheist atrocities?Where would the sense in that be.

  33. None whatsoever. I’m not bothered about having the last word. So I’ll sign off with the observation that in my view, based both on general knowledge and personal observation, Roman Catholicism inculcates a deeply warped sense of morality.

  34. Fair enough,happy Holidays to you.And merry holidays to all the “Chrijewslims” out there.

  35. Thanks, Andrew, and the same to you and yours.Unfortunately, there’s no holiday spirit around in our household this Christmas, as we’ve been in the toils of the most horrendous ‘flu for the past fortnight, and it still doesn’t go away. Hopefully we shall be feeling more festive by the New Year.

  36. Anonymous said:It’s an odd argument in the light of the words ascribed to Jesus in Matthew 5 18-20:Which was an odd comment given the pages and pages of learned exegesis of Matthew that disagree with you. So which way do you want it anonymous, do you want to say that mainstream christian teaching is odd? Fair enough, I agree. But then, I would argue that the alternative, that Jesus literally meant that every jot and jittle of the Mosaic Law should be adhered to, is no less odd, given the other things he is reputed to have said and done. I therefore reject your criticism.Oh, good to see you are behaving now Andrew and Anticant….Merry Christmas.

  37. When I heard this last night I thought the Pope has finally declared to the world that the Vatican is irrelevant. A point that many of us already knew.He obviously doesn’t know that a transgender condition is something that you are born with.Regards, Paul.

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