On Monday 9th January 2012, there was a traditionally conservative stirring from Pope Benedict XVI, the figurehead of the Roman Catholic Church and head honcho of everyone’s favourite sovereign state, il vaticano.
Now, I’m sure nobody suspected that the pope would come out of his papal palace in a rainbow robe and claim that he identifies as a woman but it would seem that the Catholic church’s official stance on social issues is moving a little too slowly against the modern world, and for an organisation as archaic as the Catholic hierarchy, it does seem like the Pope is unaware of how many people he’s leaving behind with his message that ‘gay marriage is one of several threats to the traditional family that undermines ‘the future of humanity itself’’.
I don’t want to paint the Pope as over dramatising the situation, especially not when that would be so easy given the Lord of the Rings-esque risk he seems to be attributing to something with so few consequences in the negative, but it is rather difficult to see where he gets from the first half of his criticism to the other.
He begins with pointing out that it’s possible that it could change the traditional view of a family, and apparently forgetting that he’s supposed to be asking his followers to ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’ he decides that a change in the definition of the nuclear family would undermine humanity.
That word alone is the crux of the insult embedded within Ratzinger’s statement.
Perhaps it would undermine the stance the Catholic Church has been taking for all of these years; perhaps it would undermine the bigoted opinions of many vocal people still unreasonably fighting equality, perhaps it would undermine a Bible verse or two, but to say that gay marriage would undermine humanity is frankly, an insult not just to the gay community, but, to use the Pope’s favourite brand of over dramatisation, to humanity itself.
It would be essentially an ad hominem to get into the paedophilia scandal to back up my opposition to the pope’s fight against equality between sexual orientations, but if I may I would like to make the simple point on that subject that the Catholic church is responsible for acts that have without question undermined their credibility, and to act as if gay people don’t deserve the same rights as heterosexuals when statistically Catholic priests are more of a threat to humanity, it shows I think, a great misunderstanding of the ethics the Pope claims to have the last word on (at least for the millions of Catholics on our planet).