Christmas is a time for good fellowship and compassion, so you might not have noticed what the Pope was up to.
At a time when most of us are encouraged to help our fellow man, Benedict XVI was instead informing the globe that gay people are 'threatening world peace
I'm not making this up. I really couldn't. I must have missed the 'destroy the World' memo.
Earlier last year the Vatican hired a former Fox News correspondent
to helm their communications strategies. You can tell. There's more than a hint of 'the war on Christmas' GOP dark arts in their increasingly homophobic pronouncements. And I'm pretty certain this approach is making them about as popular as the GOP turned out to be in the last general election cycle.
Women, in particular, have come in for some harsh criticism from the church lately. Contraception and abortion issues have always been front burner issues, but to that we must now add the nuns.
America's nuns found themselves the subject of a Vatican ordered inquisition
last year for spending far too much time helping the poor and not enough protesting outside of family planning clinics. Priorities, ladies.
Ireland, more than most places on earth, knows that the Catholic Church is floundering
. But the Church itself, even after two decades of seemingly endless jaw dropping international scandals, seems to have no idea. They keep talking as though they possessed irreproachable moral authority. That's not the case.
Today the Pope warned British Prime Minister David Cameron that his plans to introduce same sex marriage equality this year will 'undermine the family.'
I have to ask which family he's talking about? How exactly does a gay persons marriage undermine their neighbors who are otherwise uninvolved? Do heterosexual families break up the moment gay people tie the knot? Are heterosexual marriages made less special or significant if gays enjoy equal rights under the law?
Today the pope warned there is 'a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union.'
To which I say, knock yourselves out. Promote the heck out of 'the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman…' but don't also add the false equivalence that promoting it means you have to stand in the way of all others. It clearly doesn't follow. And I don't know 'radical' it really is for a man to marry another man. It happens all the time. It seems to make them very happy. The sun still rises every morning on schedule.
But this Pope clearly does not value the relationships that gay people forge together, often over decades, or why would he stand in their way? So I don't believe him when he asks us to love the sinner, but hate everything about them. That's just pretzel theology that repackages prejudice to make it look like compassion.
It's not compassion. It's the refusal to show compassion. We are talking about love, remember. It's important to remember that. The Pope usually doesn't.
We are also talking about families. The reason that the Pope's anti-gay attacks have really gone nowhere in Ireland is that, in a small island community, people can actually see that rather than 'undermining families' gay equality actually strengthens them. Because gay people come from families too it turns out, they're our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, uncles and aunts. And by wanting what's best for them we help them and ourselves.
The truth is each time the Pope and his bishops attack gay equality with their increasingly hostile rhetoric, they do spiritual violence to gays persons, they unintentionally rationalize the physical violence and discrimination gay people all too often experience, and they seriously harm the extended heterosexual families to which they belong.
If the Pope wants to strengthen families rather than tear them apart, if he wants to foster love rather than determine who is and who is not worthy of love's blessings, let 2013 be the year that the Church focuses its mission on helping rather than harming them.