The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Beg Pardon, Benedict

This post over at AOL's Worth Repeating blog makes a good point. As long as Pope Benedict is handing out apologies, he might consider offering at least a half-hearted "my bad" to gay people.

In an almost unprecedented turn of events, the pope today gathered Muslim leaders and diplomats to his fabulously decorated summer home as an apology of sorts for remarks he made almost two weeks ago in which he referred to Mohammed and Islam as "evil and inhuman."

I say "of sorts" because, of course, he didn't come right out and, you know, say "I'm sorry." It was more like, "Why don't you stop by and let's all be friends?"

My question is, when will the gays be invited? Pope Benedict XVI has been equally accusatory of gays being an evil force, if not worse.

Um, probably not given some of the things Ratzi (my name for him) has said about us. I think he'd actually rather sit down with representatives of people who've burned him in effigy. Of course, in this case he's not apologizing for something he actually said, but for using a rather unfortunate quote. Ironically enough, from a period in which the Church was just as violent as the Muslims who've reacted to the pontiff's speech, especially towards infidels, and during which the Christian faith was spread and "defended" by the sword; something Ratzi must have been aware of, given his pervious position as prior Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, usually called by its shorter name.

If Ratzi were to offer his apologies to gay's next, he'd be apologizing for his own words.

Back when Ratzi was going through the interview process for his current job, and his thoughts on gay people.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican department once known as the Inquisition, included a few pastoral guidelines in the letter, issued Oct. 1 but only made public Thursday.

… The document reminded bishops of the traditional church teaching that although homosexual tendencies are not in and of themselves sinful, they are ‘’ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.'’

Gee. Even Muslims don't qualify as "ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil." In other words, inherently evil. And, of course, if the inherently evil incur the wrath of the righteous? Well, don't we really bring it on ourselves?

10. It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.

But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.

…What is at all costs to be avoided is the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behaviour of homosexual persons is always and totally compulsive and therefore inculpable. What is essential is that the fundamental liberty which characterizes the human person and gives him his dignity be recognized as belonging to the homosexual person as well. As in every conversion from evil, the abandonment of homosexual activity will require a profound collaboration of the individual with God’s liberating grace. [emphasis added]

It would, of course, be rude to mention the pontiff's own voluntary and culpable behavior behavior during WWII, or his undeniably voluntary and culpable decision to cover up sexual abuse sandal at the Vatican. (Has he apologized to the victims in any of those cases yet?)

Of course, Ratzi is little different than his predecessor in associating gays with an "ideology of evil. (Nor, for that matter is he any different than some Protestant fundamentalists who characterize gay rights advocates as "birthed and inspired by the anti-christ" or assert that the anti-Christ himself is gay, when their own bestselling literature makes is clear that the anti-Christ is birthed by homosexuals.) So, I'd have to say about Ratzi what I said about JP2.

I understand that he was a man of his times and circumstances, none of which would have disposed him to be all that inclined to sympathize with the plight of a modern gay man. Yet, at the same time, I’m reminded that he held a position of leadership in a major institution, adn that he was a man to whom many turned for spiritual guidance and to make sense of the world. In that sense, when it comes to gay people, he was a man who used his “bully pulpit” to do considerable harm.

… It might be hard to grasp, if you’re not gay or lesbian, that those are more than just words. They do real harm; very real. I know that not all Catholics agreed with the JP2 on that issue. I know several who don’t. But the truth is there are millions who do, and who accepted JP2 as a moral authority. His words, then, become easy to use to alienate gay and lesbian members of their families and communities.

They make it easier to treat us as less than part of the human family because we are clearly associated with “evil,” even to the point that the pontiff found it necessary to differentiate between us, “the family,” nd “man,” as though we were not part of each. They push us away from our families and communities, and some of us away from our faith. They make it easier to deny gay and lesbian youth, and turn them out into the streets. They make it easier to do turn a blind eye to injustices against gays and lesbians. They make it easier to be intolerant, and to use the ballot box to vote an entire group of people right into second-class citizenship, or less.

Funny thing is that, despite comparisons to Muslims reacting in anger to Ratzi's choice of quotes, I haven't noticed reports of burning papal effigies in any gay enclaves. Just a few tersely written blog posts, some catty comments about the papal wardrobe, and complaints about comments that perpetuate a culture of discrimination.

And a lot of waiting; for an apology or, even better, a change.

One Comment

  1. And while he’s at it, I also think it might be nice for the Pope to apologize to us Buddhists for comparing Buddhism to masturbation. I mean, it’s not really such a bad comparison, but the thing is, I think he meant it to be.