Papal call for an "ecology of man"

I've been waiting for almost four years for an opportunity to connect homophobia and global warming, and finally I have it, thanks to the pope. Benny XVI the other day managed to compare the effort to save the planetary ecosystem with the fragility of human sexuality. How did he do it?

Well, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary Humanae Vitae, the paper that lays bare the thinking (or lack thereof) behind his church's opposition to preventing unwanted pregnancies, the ostensible moral compass for the world's Roman Catholics said that:

the "nature of the human being as man and woman" is an "order of creation that must be respected," the pope described the church's affirmation of sex differences as a kind of nature conservation.

"(The church) should also protect man from the destruction of himself. There needs to be something like an ecology of man," the pope said. "The tropical forests deserve our protection, yes, but man as a creature no less so."

He also said the church should reaffirm the definition of marriage as "the life-long bond between man and woman," presumably in response to the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage, which the Catholic Church opposes.

Given the incontrovertible reality of homosexuality throughout the animal kingdom ;;;; and it's marked prevalence in many species of primates ;;;; one would have to conclude that whatever created the world has no problem with same-sex relations. And yet B16 comes out with lines like:

Humanity needed to 'listen to the language of creation' to understand the intended roles of man and woman, he added. Anything that deviated from this was a 'destruction of God's works'.

On the other hand, at least he understands the role of tropical rainforests in the carbon cycle.

(OK, I haven't really been waiting all this time to link gay-bashing and climate change pseudoskepticism, but you get the point.)

h/t to Doc Bushwell's Chimp Refuge.


More like this

Yeah, the Pope babbles dicta against people who are different from him, so what else is new? In comments at the Vatican that are likely to provoke a furious reaction from homosexual groups, Benedict also warned that blurring the distinction between male and female could lead to the "self-…
The answer to that little logic question is Catholics. We've got a little buzz going on in Minnesota to legalize gay marriage — one of our gubernatorial candidates is for it, for instance, while the other is against it (guess which party he's from) — and already the Catholic Church is gearing up to…
Gay Sex vs. Straight Sex « OkTrends "Gay issues have been in the news a lot lately, from the debate over same-sex marriage in Congress to a sickening rash of gay-bashing here in New York City. We see a lot of emotion out there, instead of information, and we wanted to provide some data-based…
Debra Saunders, in today's Chronicle, decries Intolerance 2009. She is trying to claim that it is hypocritical for groups seeking gay equality to oppose Rick Warren while supporting Obama. Both oppose gay marriage, you see. That Obama opposed Prop. 8 and has repeatedly stated his desire to see…

Well, when you combine a lifetime of poor choices (biology degree, "journalism"), I guess this is what you get. Witness the brilliance.

By Professahhhhhh (not verified) on 23 Dec 2008 #permalink

I wish my sexuality was fragile. I would get way more action as a homosexual male.

If we set aside Benedict's commandments qua commandments, most everything else (as reported and then re-reported here) seems fairly reasonable. It seems inquiry into human "ecology" is what such writers as Aristotle, Machiavelli, Locke, Rousseau, and Nietzsche have attempted in their various ways. Regarding "the nature of the human being as man and woman," I don't know that this must be respected. However, it seems that a student of human beings and human ways of life will be attentive to sexual dimorphism and dipsychism. If he is then so bold as to make recommendations, it seems he would be careless to disregard whatever differences he may have found.

Making the Pope himself a subject of study for a moment, it's interesting to compare what he said to what one might have expected him to say. In the passage you quoted above, the writer quotes Benedict as saying one should "listen to the language of creation." He might have been expected to say that one should listen to the priests' expositions of the Bible and the Church's tradition. If asked directly, he would probably affirm a necessity that one do so. Nevertheless, here he seems to recommend the study of natural things themselves. Of course he speaks of "listening to the language of creation"; it would be careless of him to adopt the tones of a philosopher or scientist when writing ex cathedra. It would careless of us to overlook the constraints of his office when interpreting him.