The Holy Father today provided insight into how evil and destructive the homosexual agenda is.
Each year shortly before Christmas the Roman Pontiff exchanges greetings with and addresses the members of Roman Curia. He gives them what some call a “State of the Church” address. He reviews key events and then focuses on a few themes. Pope Benedict XVI’s address to the Roman Curia in 2005 was one of the most important acts of his pontificate so far.
This morning, His Holiness received the Curia and gave his address.
Among the few themes the Holy Father addressed was that of the crisis of the family and its effect on society, caused by the unwillingness to make a commitment and by unwillingness to suffer. But he goes beyond the symptoms to diagnose the cause of the crisis.
Let’s look at that section with my emphases and comments:
First of all there is the question of the human capacity to make a commitment or to avoid commitment. Can one bind oneself for a lifetime? Does this correspond to man’s nature? Does it not contradict his freedom and the scope of his self-realization? Does man become himself by living for himself alone and only entering into relationships with others when he can break them off again at any time? Is lifelong commitment antithetical to freedom? Is commitment also worth suffering for? Man’s refusal to make any commitment – which is becoming increasingly widespread as a result of a false understanding of freedom and self-realization as well as the desire to escape suffering – means that man remains closed in on himself and keeps his ‘I’ ultimately for himself, without really rising above it. Yet only in self-giving does man find himself, and only by opening himself to the other, to others, to children, to the family, only by letting himself be changed through suffering, does he discover the breadth of his humanity. When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child – essential elements of the experience of being human are lost”. [Aside: He uses the image of a closed circle in his liturgical writings to describe the damage done to our participation in the sacred mysteries by versus populum worship.]
“The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: ‘one is not born a woman, one becomes so’ (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term ‘gender’ as a new philosophy of sexuality. [YES! Gender is a term from linguistics. The proper word is ‘sex’, not ‘gender’.] According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. [Is the denial, therefore, a reflection of our acceptance of the lie of the serpent? “You shall be as gods.”] This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. [I am also reminded of the Tower of Babel, which resulted in fractured societies.] Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. [Living in a meat-machine which we (and therefore others) can own and manipulate for our own ends.] The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. [The Word became not “generic human”, but a man.] Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. [and to dispose of…] When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.
In his first volume of Jesus of Nazareth, the Holy Father made use of the work of a rabbi. Here, he does the same.
The reduction of sex to gender, the imposition of one’s will on nature in this way, also effectively strips Christ out of Christianity. If gender replaces sex then Christ isn’t Christ, God and man. But Christ cannot be God and generic human, for no such critter exists. Human beings are male or female, not generic humans. The implication of this “gender” choice view is that those who truly promote it probably can’t truly be Christians, because they don’t truly embrace Christ for who HE is.
This section of the Holy Father’s address deserves rereading and future review.
It isn’t enough simply to state the Church’s teaching about, say, homosexual acts and about the impossibility of same-sex “marriage”. We have learn also to explain patiently the fundamental truth of human sexuality and human dignity.
In his address the Pope also said:
“In her dialogue with the state and with society, the Church does not, of course, have ready answers for individual questions. [She does have an answer for “same-sex marriage”: NO! But then how do deal with the social controversy is another matter.] Along with other forces in society, she will wrestle for the answers that best correspond to the truth of the human condition. The values that she recognizes as fundamental and non-negotiable for the human condition she must propose with all clarity. She must do all she can to convince, and this can then stimulate political action.”
First, if we do not know the content of the Faith, we cannot be who we are called to be as Catholic in the world. The content of the Faith is two fold. The content of the Faith is certainly that which we can learn and recite. But on a deeper level the content of the Faith is divine Person with whom we have a relationship. As Joseph Card. Ratzinger once remarked about Karl Rahner: “What Father Rahner forgets is that you cannot pray to an Existenz-Modus.” There is a Faith in which we believe and a Faith by which we believe. The one is learned and in our control. The other is pure gift, grace, the gift of God of something of Himself to us. We have to have both senses of Faith in order to be who we are called by our vocations to be. If we don’t have them both, then we cannot play our proper part in shaping the world around us as Catholic disciples of Christ. If we don’t know who we are, we can’t live who we should be. Furthermore, we will be all the more easily shoved from the public square by the servants of the Dictatorship of Relativism. Consider, for example, the attacks on freedom of religion by the Obama Administration. Pres. Obama wants to shift the meaning of the 1st amendment away from freedom of religion to freedom of worship.
Second, what Pope Benedict is talking about with “political action”, opens up the question of the laity. Your bishops and priests can shape and form you lay people. We can teach you, and give you the sacraments, and support you in prayer. But the realm of the political is primarily that of the laity. Clerics can move onto the political playing field only in a certain way.
Finally, is what Pope Benedict said not an implicit call for political activism on the part of Catholics?