Fringe Editor to Pope: Shut Your Holy Cake Hole 031412
Notice: may be offensive to some
The Pope, or “Papa”, met with some American bishops recently, and encouraged them to continue their political opposition to marriage equality. Pope Benedict XVI is quoted by several sources as saying that political efforts should continue to conceive of marriage as “a natural institution consisting of a specific communion of persons, essentially rooted in the complementarity of the sexes and oriented to procreation". In short, His Holiness is insisting on one outie and one innie, one salty cucumber and one fish taco, one trouser worm and one bearded clam, though he didn’t say so in just those words.
The Pontiff did use the words “grave societal problems bearing an immense human and economic cost" in reference to people who cohabitate but do not get married. Here, we can only guess he’s talking about sinful heteros, since he just told gay people they couldn’t get married. Following his logic as presented (we couldn’t find a text version of the speech), we might be able to assume that gay couples living out of wedlock are not contributing to “grave societal problems”, though it’s possible the 85 year old was just confused.
Benedict XVI prior to becoming Pope was Joseph Ratzinger, academic German priest, professor. After a few decades of teaching conservative Catholic dogma, Ratzinger began his administrative career, one that found him at the right hand of likewise conservative Pope John Paul II. When JPII went (we assume) to heaven, Ratzinger ascended to the seat. He doesn’t, we imagine, have a lot of sexual experience, given the vow of chastity and all. There certainly is no shortage of homosexual goings on in the Catholic Church, though few are preludes to marriage. But his lack of relevance to the subject and the hypocrisy that has been the Catholic Church through its history are only secondary criticisms. Primarily my criticisms of the Papal bull reside in his attempt to violate our freedom from religion, and his un-Christ like treatment of people.
The Pope’s ability to impress the religion of the Church of Rome on America is not to be lightly dismissed. Nearly 78 million Americans call themselves Catholic, which is 22% of the US population; nearly one in four Americans. If Joe Ratzinger can convince all Catholic voters to impress the will of Rome on Washington, Americans might well find themselves not only sinners, but criminals.
Officially, being a homosexual doesn’t condemn one to hell, but doing anything homosexual, even engaging in homosexual fantasies when queering one’s self, should be a coal chute straight to the blast furnaces of hades. It would be interesting but not expeditious to ponder exactly how the accumulation of sin would work in such a situation. Self pleasure is a sin, the sin of “Onanism”, though the actual sin, it turns out, is not tickling your own fancy, it’s “spilling seed on the ground”. Onan, it turns out, was doing his gal, but he was keeping his seed from her, instead of making more babies, Jews in this case, not yet Catholics. So, for a lesbian, it’s unclear what the sin is, except that, in general, having fun or doing anything that isn’t directly part of God’s plan is a sin. However, for a gay guy, there are two sins involved, 1. Having fun without permission resulting in seed on the ground, and 2. Thinking of some other guy’s goods.
Let’s pause here to consider that the Fringe Editor is something of an expert on Catholicism, and can claim devout Catholics on both sides of the family, in some instances going back to the late 3rd century AD, when being Catholic really caught on. I completely understand the rationale, and you know what? If you are Catholic, you absolutely should live according to the plan. That’s what freedom of religion is, doing as you believe. You don’t want to spill your seed on the ground, don’t; sleep through it and spill your seed on the sheets, instead, if that’s a more appropriate course for you.
But, in America, other people are free from your beliefs. That’s a concept Papa has a lot of trouble with. The Catholic Church in the U.S., which was once a rather moderate and tolerant organization, has tipped far to the right, joining fundamentalists of other stripes to try to impress religion on the nation. In this upside down view, it’s a violation of religious freedom to be required to provide health insurance which provides for birth control (another form of “spilling seed on the ground”). That’s backwards, Pope! “Freedom” means people get to make their own choices. If you are Catholic, use birth control, or don’t. If you’re an employer, give your employees the freedom the law allows. If you take federal money to place kids with foster and adoptive parents, then follow the law; if a gay couple applies and are otherwise fit, the law says they can raise a kid. If you’re Catholic, you can’t be gay, so the problem doesn’t arise for you.
That’s the point of “freedom of religion”, it makes religion a personal thing. Don’t believe in something? Don’t do it. Don’t like other people doing it? Now, you’re outside of that freedom.
In expressing concern for the health of families, and in his assumption that stable families provide resilience to society, Benedict was echoing concerns of government officials and social planners everywhere. We all want to see stable families.
But, under his logic, a Catholic woman who is unable to have children cannot wed, and a Catholic man who weds her is committing the sin of casting his seed on barren soil. Was it an oversight that his Holiness didn’t mention barren couples, and how they can be barren, that’s not a sin, but if they have sex knowing they can’t conceive, that is a sin? Does the priest require a certificate of fecundity as he requires proof of innie-outie before performing the ceremony? No, that would be stupidly cruel. Besides, there are a number of ways the infertile couple can obtain, raise, cherish a child. Most of those ways are open to gay and even more so to lesbian couples.
If the Pontiff was really concerned about families, he would extend that compassion to gay couples. He would realize that strong families, even if they have two daddies or two mommies, are strong families, and they are indeed, good for society.
And, if the Pontiff were Christ-like, he would not judge millions of loving people, he would not pretend to look into their hearts, as, under Catholic dogma, only God can do. The priest, in God’s stead, can forgive, but only God may judge.
In sum: follow your faith, Papa, keep your counsel with the Lord, and let others do the same. You lack the religious or social credentials to condemn loving gay couples.