Monday, December 22, 2008

"The Ecology of Man"

So, by the looks of it, what the Pope's 2005 Christmas speech to the Curia was for the ad intra, this morning's is becoming for the world beyond.

Put bluntly, this morning's season's "greeting" has set off some Christmas crackers; a passage of the Pope's Yuletide talk -- 11 pages, all told -- drew a link between preserving the environment and the church's voice on gender issues... and, suffice it to say, controversy was had:
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.

“(The Church) should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed,” the pontiff said.... “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....

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.”
The Italian press has likewise gone wild with the gender section -- atop the leading dailies, the wire headline repeatedly reads "Pope: No to Sex Change."

On a lighter note, late last week the Bavarian banker Thaddeus Kühnel arrived at the Vatican to deliver some of Benedict's favorite things for the season: five Christmas trees, Aachen chocolates, honey and spice biscuits, and a "practical" gift from Des Papstbruder, Msgr Georg Ratzinger, whose 85th birthday next month will be marked with a Vatican concert.

PHOTO: Getty Images