Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Benedictus Benedicat

That's what used to be said before we ate at school (with "Benedicto Benedicarto" said afterwards). We used to translate it as "They're under starters orders and they're off".

I mention this only because I was pushed for an interesting title for a post about Pope Benedict.

I thoroughly reconmmend and endorse the spirit and much of the letter of Iain Dale's post about this.

The BBC have a handy page showing the actual words of the Pope. As usual he has been reported as saying something very clear. But (and he has this habit in common with dear old Rowan Williams) when you read what he said you are left with some confusion about what he was exactly getting at.

For example, his words about the Rain Forests have been summarised as "The Pope considers homosexuality as "damaging to the future of the world as the destruction of the rain forests" ". That is something of an editorial paraphrase. What he actually said is really quite baffling:

What is often expressed and signified with the word 'gender' leads to the human auto-emancipation from creation and from the Creator. The human being wants to make himself on his own and to decide always and exclusively by himself about what concerns him.
But, in so doing, the human being lives against the truth and against the Spirit creator. Rain forests deserve, yes, our protection but the human being - as a creature which contains a message that is not in contradiction with his freedom but is the condition of his freedom - does not deserve it less.

I'll leave Alex Wilcock to get on the case and explain in twenty easy-to-read paragraphs what that actually means.

What the dear El Papa's words seem to boil down to is contained within this easy-to-chant paragraph:

We need something like human ecology, meant in the right way. The Church speaks of human nature as 'man' or 'woman' and asks that this order is respected.
This is not out-of-date metaphysics. It comes from the faith in the Creator and from listening to the language of creation, despising which would mean self-destruction for humans and therefore a destruction of the work itself of God.

OK. So the (Roman Catholic) Church speaks of 'man' or 'woman' and "asks that this order is respected".

But does God?

I maintain that God created people in many different shapes and sizes. It is the "church's" attempt to shoe-horn everyone into two distinct categories that creates all the problems.

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