Pope Criticizes Marriage Equality and Transgender Identity; Equally Blessed Responds

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI

For the third time in just about a week, the Vatican has offered negative comments about LGBT issues.  Yesterday’s remarks came from Pope Benedict himself, in his annual Christmas speech to the Vatican staff.

An Associated Press account reports:

“The pope took his opposition to gay marriage to new heights Friday, denouncing what he described as people manipulating their God-given gender to suit their sexual choices — and destroying the very ‘essence of the human creature’ in the process. . . .

” ‘People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given to them by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being,’ he said. ‘They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.’ “

” ‘The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned,’ he said. . .

” ‘When freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God,’ Benedict said.”

Though stated in the context of an argument against marriage equality, these remarks also comment on the issue of transgender identity.

Major excerpts from the address can be read in this synopsis by Vatican Radio.

Equally Blessed LogoEqually Blessed, a coalition of four Catholic organizations (Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, New Ways Ministry) working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families responded to the pope’s speech:

“Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican bureaucracy have released a number of troubling statements in recent days disparaging lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and speaking against their right to be treated fairly in civil society.

“In L’Osservatore Romano, historian Lucetta Scaraffia compared proponents of marriage equality to 20th-century communists who wooed millions with their promise of perfect social and economical equality.

“In an address released earlier this week, the pope labeled same-sex marriage as a threat to world peace.  Yesterday, in a speech to Vatican bureaucrats he denounced what he described as people who manipulate their God-given gender to suit their sexual choices — and destroying the very ‘essence of the human creature’ in the process.

“These harsh statements are particularly dispiriting at this sacred time of year when families that include LGBT children, parents and grandparents gather to celebrate the birth of the Christ child. We could find fault with Ms. Scaraffia’s historical comparison, or the pope’s rigid and outmoded understanding of what it means to be a man or a woman. Instead we remember that Jesus, when asked by messengers from John the Baptist whether He was the Messiah, told them to go back and tell John about what they saw happening all around them:  the sick were being healed, the lame made to walk and good news was being proclaimed to the poor.

“What we see when we look around us are heterosexual parents loving their LGBT children and advocating for their dignity and equality; same-gender couples creating safe and happy homes for their children; and transgender people like those whom the pope criticizes living healthy, mature, and generous lives.

“Increasingly Catholics in the United States and around the world see what we see. Catholics, following their own well-formed consciences, are voting to support equal rights for LGBT people because in their churches and communities they see a far healthier, godly and realistic vision of the human family than the one offered by the pope. We commend it to him for his consideration.”

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

Recent Comments from the Vatican on LGBT issues:

December 21, 2012: Vatican Journalist Compares Marriage Equality to Communism

December 17, 2012: World Day of Peace Message and Meeting with Ugandan Parliamentary Leader Cause Controversies for Pope Benedict


11 thoughts on “Pope Criticizes Marriage Equality and Transgender Identity; Equally Blessed Responds

  1. pjnugent December 22, 2012 / 8:21 am

    A gentle, generous, loving, Christlike response, Francis, more than they deserve. I’m sure the Lord is smiling on you, and hitting his forehead with the butt of his hand when she hears the knownothings in Rome. Thank you.

  2. Toni Winters December 22, 2012 / 8:24 am

    What does this remind you of, folks? 2000 years ago, lepers were shunned by society because they were different and feared because of their difference. Are we regressing, or what? Has The Pope read the Gospel? Who are the people that Jesus sought out to hang out with? God bless that man (and God help that man). To have such a high position in the Church and yet to have so much hatred and intolerance. Merry Christmas, Pope Benedict, from all of us Catholics who were born “different” and yet remain Catholic because we love to worship our God, even though the people in the Church continue to be so hateful.
    How many of those parishioners are living with a lover that they are not married to? How many couples, married or not take birth control? How many of them have had abortions? How many of them tithe?
    Give me a break! Take the log out your eyes and leave us and our splinters alone.

  3. Paul Halsall December 22, 2012 / 8:44 am

    It’s harder and harder not to seek refuge in the Anglican Church in then US and UK.

  4. Charles Bolser December 22, 2012 / 10:19 am

    It is well beyond the proper time for the Vatican to convoke a study of human sexuality in all of it’s diversity. As long as we live in a Church that is dependent on philosophy/dogma only and refuses to listen to a world open to psychology, anthropology, genetics, etc., we will continue to speak without hearing; assuming that we already know all of the answers, without really knowing the questions. Jesus spoke often of hearing – translated – understanding. As long as we are convinced that we can see/hear and have no need of looking/listening, then we are truly deaf and blind. It is only when we realize that we are blind and deaf (fail to understand) that we begin to see through the glass darkly. In the meantime, the Pharisees and Scribes continue to argue the law without understanding the truth that comes from the heart as well as the mind.

  5. Anton December 22, 2012 / 1:45 pm

    Can the pope please explain the platypus???
    The platypus is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth.
    Looks as though even God couldn’t make up the divine mind as to a category, label, for these animals. Too bad God didn’t give them a brain to think and decide.

  6. Noei in Ireland December 22, 2012 / 4:20 pm

    How utterly SAD and UNCHRISTLIKE the noises from the Vatican sound to followers of Jesus in their daily struggles, involving relationships,work and religious/moral lives! They, who live in glasshouses of luxury and status are sooooo out of touch with reality.

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