Once again, elements of the secular and corporate media have raised the hew and howl against Pope Benedict XVI for -- or so they say -- condemning homosexuality as a “threat to humanity.” The Pope said no such thing.
One wonders if there are people whose need for self differentiation is so strong that they yearn to be persecuted from which conflict they draw a sustaining, albeit, negative energy.
There is little to wonder that the corporate media, under the guise of social “liberalism”, wishes to destroy the moral authority and credibility of the Church which, notwithstanding irredentist excesses on its own part, is often the only voice of connection and sanity in an otherwise increasingly deranged and debased world.
In the traditional New Years welcome to the diplomatic corps at the Vatican and after the usual pleasantries, this is what the Pope said:
"Today’s meeting traditionally takes place at the end of the Christmas season, during which the Church celebrates the coming of the Saviour. He comes in the dark of night and so his presence is immediately a source of light and joy (cf. Lk 2:9-10). Truly the world is gloomy wherever it is not brightened by God’s light! Truly the world is dark wherever men and women no longer acknowledge their bond with the Creator and thereby endanger their relation to other creatures and to creation itself. The present moment is sadly marked by a profound disquiet and the various crises – economic, political and social – are a dramatic expression of this."
Why not a headline saying: Pope Decries Materialization of Nature as a Threat to Existence Itself.
The Pope went on to “address before all else” the global economic crises which he said required all countries, particularly the developed ones, to fashion policies which not only “shore up national economies” but “which ensure that all can lead a dignified life and develop their abilities for the benefit of the community as a whole.”
Why not a headline saying: Pope Calls for Economic Policies which Promote Individual Dignity and the Public Good.
The Pope then addressed the Occupy and Indignado movements, particularly those in the Middle East, stating that the “need for social solidarity” should not be turned into a “mere means for maintaining or seizing power.” He then called for national reconciliation in Iraq and a solid two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Why not a headline reading: In Wake of Failure of U.S. Interventions, Pope calls for National and Inter-Ethnic Reconciliation in Middle East.
Benedict then returned to the question of youth, and the need for an educational response to young people’s “demand” for truth, justice and peace. In this connection the Pope stated:
“Education is a crucial theme for every generation, for it determines the healthy development of each person and the future of all society. It thus represents a task of primary importance in this difficult and demanding time. In addition to a clear goal, that of leading young people to a full knowledge of reality and thus of truth, education needs settings. Among these, pride of place goes to the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman. This is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself. The family unit is fundamental for the educational process and for the development both of individuals and States; hence there is a need for policies which promote the family and aid social cohesion and dialogue.”
How in the world does this equate with “homosexuality imperils civilization”? It does not. Benedict simply expressed the traditional view in most societies the educational formation begins most fundamentally within the family context.
Jean Piaget, the groundbreaking cognitive psychologist (1896-1980), would hardly disagree. In Piaget’s view, which is now generally accepted in the scientific community, a child’s character and intellectual development are formed less by formal training and teaching than through processes of assimilation and accommodation within his immediate social environment. It was with reference to this developmental setting that Piaget stated, "only education is capable of saving our societies from possible collapse, whether violent, or gradual.”
It is hardly a secret that the Church’s moral doctrine is cut from a unitary cloth the fundamental weave of which is the sanctity and natural unfolding of all life. In the Church’s view, abortion and environmental protection are not separate issues.
Thus, in his diplomatic address, the Pope went on to state that policies which “promote abortion for reasons of convenience or for questionable medical motives compromise the education of young people and, as a result, the future of humanity.” He then concluded his address stating,
“Finally I would stress that education, correctly understood, cannot fail to foster respect for creation. ... Environmental protection and the connection between fighting poverty and fighting climate change are important areas for the promotion of integral human development.”
The way in which Benedict’s remarks get distorted by the secular and corporate press is nothing short of malicious or hysterical. And what the hysteria overlooks is the subtlety with which Benedict opens Church doctrine to accommodation.
The Pope did not state, as John Paul II would have, that a child’s proper education could take place only within the traditional setting of heterosexual marriage. He stated rather that “among” educational settings “pride of place” went to the traditional family unit. Well ... duh. Most of the world is, after all, heterosexual and, ergo, child bearing. It is really rather petulant to expect the Pope to not address what concerns 90% of humanity in order to specifically validate LGTG issues. What the petulance ignores is the immense flexibility built into the phrase “pride of place.” Yes, the traditional male-female family may sit at the head of the table but that does not ipso facto exclude other families from sitting at the table too.
Equally ignored was the flexibility inherent in a criticism of abortion “for reasons of convenience” or “questionable medical motives”. The use of such phrases clearly implies that there may be reasons for abortion which are necessary and/or beyond dispute.
It is also beyond dispute that, within the Church, there are hardline conservatives, such as Madrid’s Cardinal Ruoco Varela, who categorically condemn all abortion and all “alternative” sexuality not aimed and intended at procreation. But Pope Benedict is not among them. He has consistently worked quietly and subtly to manoeuver the Church into a more assimilative and accommodation position on sexuality which, at the same time, does not give into the disconnected, self-gratifying expediency of materialistic, social-liberal thought -- what used to be called libertinage.
It seems that elements in the so-called “left” want the Church to change positions with alacrity of a Romney and to announce opinions in the sterling timbre of a Jane Fonda. It will do neither, and thank God for that.
This is not to say that the Church does not need to further “refine and develop” doctrines on sexuality which have hitherto injured too many at the expense of an all embracing charity. Benedict himself has wryly acknowledged the roll of such “tacit corrections” within the Church’s magisterium. Those who would welcome such adjustments would do better to leave off hunting beasts to snarl at and listen more carefully to the sparrow on the branch.
©Woodchip Gazette, 2012