Vatican City — The pope has continued his criticism of gay marriage, suggesting that it is an “attack” on the traditional family made up of a father, mother and children.
After describing gay marriage as a “threat to peace” earlier this month, comments that provoked protests in St. Peter’s Square (pictured below), Pope Benedict XVI further criticized gay marriage in his annual Christmas address to the Vatican bureaucracy.
The holy leader denounced those who he said rejected their God-given gender identities, and argued their actions were destroying “the essence of the human creature”:
“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. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.”
In a year that has seen an increasing number of conservatives concede that gay marriage will soon become legal, the pope dedicated his speech to traditional family values. Polls show that support for same-sex marriage in the U.S. and Europe is growing, and calls for legalized gay marriage are becoming ever louder; in recent weeks, residents in Maine, Maryland and Washington all approved gay marriage by popular vote.
Undeterred by the increasing support for same-sex marriage, Benedict XVI argued that gay marriage was “a manipulation of nature”:
“The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned.”
In response, Italy’s main gay rights group Arcigay described the pope’s comments as “absurd, dangerous and totally out of synch with reality.”
Criticism of the pope’s remarks even came from within the Catholic church itself. A group of four U.S. Catholic organizations representing gay, lesbian and transgender people released a statement condeming the pope’s remarks. The joint statement from the groups Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry read:
“Increasingly Catholics in the United States and around the world see what we see. 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.”
What do you make of the pope’s gay marriage remarks? Is it time for the Catholic church to move with the times?