Pope says saving heterosexuality like saving the rainforest

December 22, 2008

Pope Benedict took an unconventional approach today to stand up to what he sees as gender-bending, saying protecting heterosexuality was as important as saving the rainforest.

(Photo: Pope Benedict addresses the Curia, 22 Dec 2008/Max Rossi)

(The Church) should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed,” the pontiff said in a holiday address to the Curia, the Vatican’s central administration.“The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less.”

The Pope stressed that the Church would defend the traditional roles of “a man and woman, and to ask that this order of creation be respected”.

He turned his attention to those people who call themselves in Italian “gender” or “transgender” — a broad term that includes anyone who doesn’t identify entirely with their assigned sex and can include homosexuals, bisexuals, pansexuals and others.

“What’s often expressed and understood with the term ‘gender’, is summed up definitively in the self-emancipation of man from the created and the Creator … But in this way, he lives in opposition to truth, he lives in opposition to the Creator,” the pope said. Here’s a link to the full text in Italian and a report on it by the leading daily Corriere della Sera (also in Italian),

The New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission reacted promptly, saying: “In a season in which the immorality of genocide, lawless governments, lust for money and power and the destabilization of the world’s economy are destroying the lives of hundreds of millions around the world, the Pope’s obsessive focus on gay, lesbian and trans people who simply seek the right to live and love is out of touch with what humanity needs right now from its religious leaders.”

(Photo:Gays  and lesbians protest on St. Peter’s Square, 13 Jan 2007/Dario Pignatelli)

What do you think of Benedict’s idea of an “ecology of man”?


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What do you think of Benedict’s idea of an “ecology of man”? I must commend you for calling this comparison an “unconventional approach.” let’s see if i have it correct. the rain forest is threatened by pollution and decimation from multi-national corporate greed. and analogously all of humankind is threatened by pollution and decimation from “genders”. yup, that logic makes about as much sense as virgins giving birth, dead people rising from a tomb and god sending his son to earth to be tortured and killed to save us from our sins.

Posted by tzvee | Report as abusive

Glad to see it’s pointed out. Namely, if we’re interested in retaining a natural environment, that ought to extend to a natural continuation of human life (as opposed to IVF, for example). Of course, if man-made run arounds are acceptable with the latter, why not the former? (Raising the question of whether or not we need to save the present environment if we can make do without it through artificial means).

Posted by SAB | Report as abusive

Any religion that promotes bigotry and is a threat to basic human rights is a BAD religion. The ex-Nazi member of the Hitler Youth – Brown Shirts – Pope is extravagantly proving where his moral judgements have stemmed from. Indeed he does, has and will continue to do so.

Despite the fact that same-sex relationships/parings are prevailent, de facto, realities across the animal kingdom, we still have religious bigots who are alive and well in the stone age! Whoopee for humanity that Catholics, for example, can still cherry pick not only froma bibile that depicts and promulgates draconian laws, many of which we no longer consider as morally acceptable (including stoning adulterers; the dismembering/ skinning alive of law brakers; the plucking of eyes, etc.).

The Pope is an advocate of the persecution and victimisation of gay men and women and is therefore the enemy of human rights, in my book.

His (the Pope’s) book is a convenient repository of from which he and his supporters can draw any quote as proof of a vengeful God’s condemnation of homosexuals.

The politics of hate will only bring one thing: the wholesale undermining of all our human rights. Make no mistake, bigotry is a real threat, especially when preached by a condemnatory and, frankly, anti-Christian doctrine.

A more enlightened theory or belief is that homosexuality throughout the animan kingdom, including humans, functions as a natural form of birth control. Indeed, there is, it could be argued, nothing at all unnatural about it – just that religion tends to have gotten stuck in a pre-enlightenment groove, and has become the last resort, often, for bigots and even the morally reprehensible who are perfectly happy for gay men and women to be persecuted.

That is not really a Christian way. surely?

Jesus loves gays – even if the Pope does not – right?

Posted by TheTruthIs… | Report as abusive

those who do not hear the pope’s words and who do not see the state of what he is describing with the eyes and ears of faith will never understand. not everyone is given faith and belief: your words perhaps just proved that.

Posted by paixx | Report as abusive

There is a certain logic in Benedict’s position. He is simply, and simplistically, trying to link natural realities of the physical world. Assuming a view rooted in Catholic metaphysical thought, he assumes that what the Creator has created is good, and must and should be preserved.

But his argument has a fatal flaw. In preserving the rain forests, we do so to preserve what exists. And we know what exists in the rain forests because we have done careful taxonomies to identify species of flora and fauna, and to see how they relate to the whole. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, Benedict is less careful about people. Instead of encouraging open and honest inquiry and conversation into the nature of the human person, and the manifold ways that we exist in nature and true to our nature, Benedict assumes a priori that his rather quaint view of the sexes and the genders is what should exist. If anything else exists, it must be a perversity, a sort of cancerous mutation.

Someday, some member of the Catholic hierarchy is going to do something truly radical. Someday, some member of the Catholic hierarchy is going to actually listen, actually investigate the facts, actually think inductively, not deductively. And wouldn’t that be grand.

Posted by Sebastian | Report as abusive

A church dies when it looses its moral fortitude and claim to salvation. A church must offer a clear, distinctive moral outlook and worldview.

The Catholic Church’s view on homosexuality, abortion and other issues is shared with a large percentage of the global civil society.

I think it’s high time the children of Abraham stop saying ‘no’ and start pushing their own proactive agenda, especially here in the EU where secular intellectuals spend tremendous amount of time and resources wiping out religion from the political sphere.

Posted by Luc Bomel | Report as abusive

We have had thousands of years of religious doctrine and it has, as in the anti-slavery movement, for emaple, been inverted and used against the very people who called themselves Christians, but emphatically supported slavery and the appalling abuse of people of color.

The honesty and integrity of any religious person is undermined by the cant hypocrisy of those who seek to enslave, denegrate and persecute people who in some way different.

Their attitude and stance is an insult to the doctrine of Jesus Christ and is a common reality amongst many so-called Christians who are unwittingly indulging in the politics of hate, misinformation and outrageous condemnation of complete strangers.

The morality of many religious people and religious bodies means that they cannot ever be trusted to run a government, let allowed control the legislation that would undoubtedly recriminalise gays, for example. There agenda is smeared with bigotry.

The Pope, meanwhile, acts like an indentured colonel of a jumped-up banana republic, issuing condemnatory edicts to his people, whilst persecution and the suffering of those who dare to be different.

His barely covert plan to massively increase the population of South America and encourage them to populate the United States is a real threat to American human rights. His fear is that contraception and homosexuality will reduce the number of babies being born into the Catholic faith.

The Catholics, he idealises, would then take control of the United States through their vast numbers, and it is the illegal immigrants who will provide the power to do this.

He has a plan – and its as obvious as the sun rising.

Meanwhile, the Catholic empire grows…

Posted by TheTruthIs… | Report as abusive

I think, Phil Stewart should feel extremely ashamed about his abusive way of reporting. The pope only defended the traditional Catholic view of matrimony and turned out to be critical of talk about gender. That’s all. He didn’t say a word about homosexuality. The Reuters reporting is misleading. There’s only one person “obsessed” and that’s Phil Stewart.

Posted by Scaliger | Report as abusive

Obviously, it is heresy to challenge the notion that if you have male reproductive organs you are actually male, and if you have female reproductive organs you are actually female.

Instead, it is much healthier and more rational to make up some kind of pseudo-gnostic spiritual dualism in which you have a “true gender” rather than accepting the one that is empirically verifiable.

Posted by Terry | Report as abusive

[…] Pope makes the news by saying protecting heterosexuality is as important as protecting the rainforests. Here’s a […]

Posted by Around the Internet « Peace Theology | Report as abusive

As a man who was forced to go to a catholic elementary school for 4 years, church for 18 years and sunday school for 10 years I can happily say that catholicism is slowly dying away. The religion based off loving only those who are fellow straight catholics and hating anything and everything that’s different.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

i don,t know for sure but the stats i saw regarding the abuse, the victims always seemed to be boys. then we hear about possible background checks on possible applicants before acceptance into the priesthood.is there any thing to these coincidences, are people afraid to voice opinion in case the self acclaimed tolerant gays start their screaming tyraids.incidentally i never hear the word hate spoken only when it used by them to describe people like rick warren who have spent their lives helping other people of all backgrounds.no i am not homo phobic i just don,t like all this hypocrisy.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

it is ironical that mention of hate in these posting or similar ones seems to come from the supporters of the gay activists.the pope and rick warren although savagely attacked and smeared are as expected being conciliatory towards these people.the same applies to the catholic church,although not a member i am grateful for the work they have done over the years.they are being attacked by the same people,the only thing i think the church was guilty of was common sense.the children that were being abused were BOYS ,now they are checking the background of applicants for the priesthood,these are facts that the gay community never seem to comment on,and the people they condemn are to gracious to make comment about.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

How can you ask the church to approve of homosexuality? How can the church approve something that God doesn’t approve? God loves all people, but God doesn’t approve sin, and that’s why all men must repent from their sins to be saved. Listen to these words from romans 1:25-27 and 32.

” Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet…”

32: “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

I’m not saying that people should harm gay people, and I don’t think the pope is saying that people should harm gay people. But this is how God feels about it, you can’t make a God how you feel God should be like, but God is God. God is righteous, fear God, and repent.

Posted by Jaakko | Report as abusive

Why not ask me about the media’s blatant misreporting of the what B16 said? “Pope likens saving ‘gays’ to saving tge rainforest?” What sort of a stupid headline is that? What sort of idiot reporters and editors does Reuters employ? What’s wrong, slow news day so you all thought you can make something up? And just tweak the headline to an equally stupid one long after it’s headlined around the world.

Forget the ecology of man, try the mendacity of some men.

Go here and scroll down for the full text of his address. He didn’t mention homosexuality once. He didn’t say protecting “heterosexuality” is as important as saving the rainforest.

Teresa Bernedetta always has an English translation up faster than the Vatican itself and I’m not even Catholic or a journalist and know that. Obviously some of you guys need to read her translations before you bloviate because your Italian sucks. Your attempts at conveying Benedict’s thought are pretty pathetic too. No doubt a function of your constant astonishment that the Pope is a Catholic.

Posted by saint | Report as abusive

The Thersesa Benedicta tranlation is: “That which has come to be expressed and understood with the term ‘gender’ effectively results in man’s self-emancipation from Creation (nature) …..” The speech was given in Italian: “Ciò che spesso viene espresso ed inteso con il termine “gender”, si risolve in definitiva nella autoemancipazione dell’uomo dal creato e dal Creatore.” Notice that the word “gender” is in quotations in the original. In Italian, this word does not mean the English “gender,” it is a word that is used for the sexually different: homosexuals, lesbians, transgender people.

Thus, the reporting may be sensationalistic, but it is not inaccurate.

Posted by Sebastian | Report as abusive

[…] Pope says saving heterosexuality like saving the rainforest […]

Posted by Honey » Blog Archive » The Pope is Out of Touch | Report as abusive

[…] really important to note here that there is a translation problem between Italian and English. What gets translated as “gender” is an inadequate […]

Posted by Pope Goes Green and Straight for Christmas — rosemarieberger.com | Report as abusive

Get real folks, the vast majority of child abuse is carried out against little girls. Studies show that gay men are de facto less likely to abuse and that abuse is often linked to heterosexual power games, as well as sex obsession.

All child abuse is an evil we must try to prevent.

The world is better off for reality checks.

Posted by TheTruthIs… | Report as abusive

Go vegan!
But don’t necessarily go straight.

Our moral obligations are to each other, animals, and the planet.

Posted by Elaine Vigneault | Report as abusive

There is a lot of comment on what God thinks in the comments – anyone actually got this from the horse’s mouth? Your belief is not evidence.

Posted by NR | Report as abusive

At the end of the day, no matter what the Pope said, religion is just a book of fictional stories, there is no God, no Saviour and no Heaven and Hell. We live in a highly advanced society in which we no longer need religion as we did in the past when people were scared into joining the Church by horror stories of Hell. Religion is nothing more than a nice story, and Christianity is merely born from Paganism e.g. the Devil’s pitchfork originated from Poesidon’s trident.
It’s time to move on from old-fashioned religious beliefs that have no place in our world today.

Posted by Owen | Report as abusive

yes owen we all have our own opinion,i held the same views as you. jesus said to the deciples”you have been GIVEN the knowledge to understand the mystries of god”.so probably will continue to live your life with out this understanding.sadly the people i have known who had the same philosophy as you din,t die to well,or with the same conviction,sorry perhaps you suggest i am trying to frighten you” eat drink and be merry”.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

to be honest, I tend not to worry about how I die, you shouldn’t be religious because your scared of how you friends died. also, it is known that people who believe that they have no control over their fate and that it is decided for them tend to be more pessimitic, study a books on personality and you’ll find that out.

Posted by Owen | Report as abusive

thanks for the advice owen,but no i am not scared ,not in the least.nietzsche wrote books to confuse people like your self,and at the end his life died in an asylum ,screaming because he was scared of the prospect that the god he had denied all his life, might exist. why am i so convinced? because one night 20years ago he showed up in my bedroom,and made him self known to me,simple as that.never had studied books about him,but over 20years he has changed my personality. when things go wrong down the road and if you get desperate, which people do, don,t despair there is door that might be opened to you.god bless.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Hi folks, I think Benedict was merely pointing out, gently many people are concerned about the environment , but that moral issues are important, even in our day. Certain groups have popular, even powerful lobbies and it is up to us to let everyone know that their views are in the minority.
As well we need to recall the heterosexuality is the norm and is natural, since it may result in reproducing the next generation.

Posted by Barbara Irwin | Report as abusive

What is he going to do with all the clearly non-heterosexual people in the Church then?

Posted by nick | Report as abusive