Thursday, 13 May 2010

Gay Rights: The Pope Tells Portugal That Gay Marriage Will Kill Their Society

Pope Benedict XVIPortugal passed gay marriage legislation earlier this year, and within the next week, that legislation might be set to go into effect. All that's left is for Portugal's Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, to sign the law; a step most folks think he'll take, since during his campaign last year, he pledged to support marriage equality.

Portugal's marriage equality debate has some pretty interesting timing, given that this week, the country is being visited by Pope Benedict XVI. Many of us know where the Pope falls on gay marriage. In different contexts, the Pope has called gay marriage more of a threat to the world than climate change, an attack on creation, and an obstacle to world peace.

So it only makes sense that Pope Benedict XVI would use the opportunity of his Portugal visit to denounce gay marriage, given that the country is set to become the latest member of the marriage equality club. And denounce it he did, during an open air Mass before at least 50,000 people at one of Catholicism's most holy shrines, Fatima.

The Pope called gay marriage "among the most insidious and dangerous challenges" to society. Insidious is a particularly offensive term to use there, right? I mean, depending on the context, it either means "treacherous," "sneaky," "perilous," "corrupt," or "snaky." Not entirely a set of adjectives that anyone wants to wear with pride.

So why in the face of a global sex abuse scandal, a heightened nuclear weapons race, the potential economic collapse of entire countries, and a worldwide epidemic of terrorism would the Pope choose to count gay marriage among the "dangerous" things in the world? Talk about hyperbole. And the Vatican wonders why barely anyone goes to Church in Portugal anymore.

Apparently Pope Benedict XVI isn't really listening to certain other Catholic leaders under his fold, like Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who went on record last week saying that it's about time for the Catholic Church to rethink its position on gay relationships. Speaking to the UK Tablet, Cardinal Schönborn said that the time has come for a change in theological thinking.

"We should give more consideration to the quality of homosexual relationships," Cardinal Schönborn said. "A stable relationship is certainly better than if someone chooses to be promiscuous." In other words, the Cardinal said, gay relationships deserve respect.

Respect, of course, doesn't come neatly wrapped in insidiousness. Instead, that's language meant to demonize, something that happens all too frequently from Pope Benedict XVI during his tenure as Pontiff. Count today as another moment of disappointment when it comes to the Vatican's approach to love.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras


See also:

Yahoo News: Pope decries abortion, same-sex marriage at Fatima

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