NZ Herald, 2/4/13; Letters; Barry Allom – Christchurch
Pope Benedict made his mark on history by resigning. The task of modernising the Church is indeed daunting.
The Church’s stance on many issues critical to its mem¬bers’ lives is dubious. Insistence on celibacy of the clergy, for example, has dug it further into a sea of mismanagement of clergy sexual abuse, and some of its spokesmen confuse paedophilia with gay sexuality. Its refusal to accept scientific understandings of human sexuality and fertility reflects its inability to deal with issues in people’s lives.
Though misguided, at least the Catholic Church is consistent in its position on gay marriage. The former Pope made his mark in other ways, too. In 1986, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then boss of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a doctrinal letter on homosexuality. He re-emphasised an earlier document (1975)
that said “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”, then went on to say that “to choose someone of the same sex for one’s sexual activity is to annul the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals of the Creator’s design”.
In 1992, his same office issued a letter to US bishops about proposed legislation to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in that country. The letter said, “‘Sexual orientation’ does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc, in respect to non-discrimination.”
He argued there are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination orientation “to take sexual orientation into account, for example, in the placement of children for adoption or foster care, in employment of teachers or athletic coaches, and in military recruitment”. Paragraph 12 of the letter contains the ultimate judgment that the rights of gay people “can be legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct”.
Some feel this is official Church promotion of homophobia.
In 2010, based on a conservative 5% of the population, there were estimated to be 350,909,790 gay people in the world. It is not surprising that many of them have left the Church.