I liken the Catholic Church in Europe to an old man in the middle of a vast ocean, and he can’t swim. The more he sinks, the more he thrashes about without direction or reason.
Enter Pope Benedict XVI, ostensibly the drowning man’s man age-addled, senile brain. The issue of gay marriage, the rising tide. With every passing day, the church’s response to criticisms and accusations of homophobia become less and less sensible, now to the point where they barely resemble cogent thoughts.
The mathematics involved aren’t difficult. The church supports an unpopular idea; therefore, the church has become unpopular. If the relationship between opposing gay marriage and positive public opinion are inversely related, it stands to reason the church may fix its image problems were it to reverse its position on gay marriage.
And let’s be clear. The church needn’t approve the sacrament of matrimony for homosexual couples. All they need do is cease their opposition to civil marriages for gay people, to acknowledge that they, as a religious institution, should have no say in matters of public policy not directly affecting them.
But Papa Joe has, yet again, misplaced his calculator. Who is to blame for the church’s declining attendance? Why, “intolerant agnostics”, of course!
In a homily to about 10,000 people in St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, he firmly rejected suggestions the Church should change to suit public opinion.
“Anyone who lives and proclaims the faith of the Church is on many points out of step with the prevalent way of thinking,” he said. “The approval of the prevailing wisdom, however, is not the criterion to which we submit.”
In the United States, a group last month started a petition on the White House website asking the administration of President Barack Obama to list the Catholic Church as a “hate group” because of its opposition to gay marriage.
“Today’s regnant agnosticism has its own dogmas and is extremely intolerant regarding anything that would question it and the criteria it employs,” the pope said.
“Therefore the courage to contradict the prevailing mindset is particularly urgent for a bishop today. He must be courageous,” he said.
Papa Joe would very much like to bash gays without the inconvenience of being labeled a bigot. How to do this? Why, accuse bigotry of those who accuse him of the same! Sheer brilliance!
The old man clearly feels religious tradition is sufficient enough reason to tolerate a bigoted argument amidst the public discourse. I wonder if he would make the same argument about, say, slavery, which his own infallible office once itself supported, or to which it was least indifferent.