Pope Benedict condemns gay marriage in Christmas speech on family values
Homosexuals 'choose' their orientation and defy nature
Pope Benedict XVI brought his already staunch opposition to gay marriage to a whole new level on Friday, claiming that gay people willingly ignore their God-given gender identities to pursue their sexual choices.
Sexual orientation is a choice, the pope contended, and choosing to be gay destroys the very 'essence of the human creature' in the process.
Benedict XVI made the startlingly strong attack on gay people the centerpiece of his annual Christmas address to the Vatican bureaucracy, one of his most important speeches of the year.
'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,' the pope said. 'They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.'
Being gay, the pope inferred, is not something that naturally occurs, nor can it ever be called natural, so therefor to be gay is always an unnatural choice.
'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, underlining the idea that being gay manipulates nature.
Alarmed by the gains that same-sex marriage has made in the U.S. and Europe in recent months, the pope hopes his increasingly hard hitting speeches will blunt efforts to legalize gay marriage in France and Britain.
According to the Huffington Post, to bolster his case Benedict quoted the chief rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, who has claimed that legally permitting gays to marry and adopt children was an invisible 'attack' on the traditional family made up of a father, mother and children. Gay couples should never be allowed to marry or raise children of their own, the pope inferred.
The pope has been remarkably vocal on gay issues in recent weeks. Earlier this week, in his annual peace message, Benedict said that gay marriage, like abortion and euthanasia, was a threat to world peace.
Responding to the pope's comments Italy's main gay rights group Arcigay said the pontiff’s claims were 'absurd, dangerous and totally out of synch with reality.' Four progressive U.S. Catholic organizations representing gay, lesbian and transgender people said the pope had an 'outmoded' view of what it means to be man and woman.
'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,' according to a statement from the groups Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry.
For the Vatican the gay marriage issue now goes well beyond questions of homosexuality, threatening what the church considers to be foundational: a family based on a man, woman and their children - and also the church's role in their lives.
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