Pope: Gay Marriage is ‘Insidious and Dangerous’

On Thursday, during the traditional May annual mass at Fatima’s Sanctuary, Portugal, 83-year-old Pope Benedict XVI warned a nearly half a million strong crowd of the threat he believes same-sex marriage and abortion present to society. With a gay marriage bill waiting to be signed by Portugal’s president, his words have provoked an angry reaction from LGBT rights advocates.

From the New York Times:

FÁTIMA, Portugal — Pope Benedict XVI used a famous Portuguese shrine to the Virgin Mary on Thursday as a stage to denounce abortion and gay marriage, just days before Portugal is expected to join five European countries that have legalized same-sex weddings

In a speech here to Catholic social service groups, Benedict called for initiatives aimed at protecting “the family based on the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, help to respond to some of today’s most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good.”

He also said he expressed his “deep appreciation for all those social and pastoral initiatives aimed at combating the socioeconomic and cultural mechanisms which lead to abortion, and are openly concerned to defend life and to promote the reconciliation and healing of those harmed by the tragedy of abortion.”

Abortion has been legal in Portugal since 2007. The Pope’s call to arms to protect “the family based on the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman” has been interpreted by LGBT rights advocates as a pronounced attack on a gay marriage bill passed in January by Portugal’s minority Socialist government under Prime Minister Jose Socrates.

Despite fierce opposition from religious conservatives, the government rejected alternative proposals for civil partnerships and a referendum on gay marriage.

President Anibal Cavaco Silva, a practicing Catholic, has been skeptical of the bill’s legality and has yet to sign it into law.

From On Top Magazine:

In March, the president, a Catholic, forwarded four out of five of the bill’s articles to the Constitutional Court, setting aside a measure that prohibits gay adoption. He said he did so because he doubted the bill’s constitutionality, but refused to say why he did not include the article on adoption.

The court’s majority, however, ruled the four articles to be constitutional. By law, Cavaco Silva has 20 days from April 28 to make his decision.

Social Democrats – led by Prime Minister Jose Socrates – say they have the votes to override a veto.

Reacting to the Pope’s words, many LGBT rights groups have said that the Pope’s opposition to gay marriage is overinflated given larger issues currently facing the world, and have commented that his repeated rhetoric on the issue is damaging and derisive.

In December 2008, Benedict said that the blurring of gender roles as a result of things like gay marriage were threats to creation as serious as saving the rain forests and halting climate change.

With reference to the Pope’s latest comments, Peter Tatchel of the gay rights group OUTrage said:

“The Pope is fast losing all his sense of moral priorities. Compared to war, poverty and racism, gay marriage is a minor issue. It is not worthy of the Pope’s moral outrage. In a world filled with hate and violence, he should be encouraging love and commitment, not denouncing it.”

Similarly, a spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement told the Telegraph that the Pope’s condemnation was disproportionate:

“It is one thing to oppose gay marriage from religious convictions and another to make such a claim about it when you look at issues such as teenage pregnancy, sexual disease, drug abuse, world poverty and war. This is an appalling, unfounded and unjust claim. I do not really see on what basis he can say gay marriage is among the most dangerous challenges to society. It ignores real social evils the Church and others should be addressing with far greater urgency.”

On Thursday, the Pope also warned against the spread of secularism through Europe when he told bishops that it was necessary to have an “authentic witnesses to Jesus Christ… where the silence of the faith is most widely and deeply felt: among politicians, intellectuals, communications professionals who profess and who promote a monocultural ideal, with disdain for the religious and contemplative dimension of life.”

The Pope is due to visit Britain in September. A petition backed by the British National Secular Society and signed by 28,000 people was handed in to Downing Street earlier this year requesting that the cost of the Pope’s trip to Britain be paid by the Church rather than the UK taxpayer.

As recent commentaries have noted, while around 90 percent of Portuguese identify as Catholic, it is thought that only 20 percent actually go to church, and secularism is believed to be increasing at a rapid rate. As such, the signing of a gay marriage bill into law would be interpreted by many as being evidence of the Church’s waining influence in Portugal, something which the Pope seems to have been trying to guard against with Thursday’s appeal to traditional values.

What effect, if any, the Pope’s words will have on the president’s signing of the gay marriage bill remains to be seen. I’ll keep you updated as we near the deadline for presidential action on the legislation, but I wanted to ask if you agree that gay marriage is a minor issue? Have your say below.

Update – Monday, May 17:
The Associated Press is reporting that President Anibal Cavaco Silva has opted to ratify the gay marriage bill. Read more here.

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to roblisameehan.


antonia maestre
antonia maestre5 years ago

The worst sin of all is declaring that love is a sin.

Denise L.
Denise L7 years ago

I just can't wrap my head around why some people are so against gay marriage.

Men who are abusers can marry women they abuse, a woman can marry a wealthy man for his money, even criminals are allowed to get married.

But if two people in a loving, monogamous, committed relationship who happen to be of the same sex want to get married then some people think they can scream about religion and how God wanted marriage to be between a man and woman.

I'm always curious why some people are so passionate in their judgement of others in some cases but ignore other parts of the bible
In Matthew, Jesus teaches "...anyone who looks at a woman and wants to possess her is guilty of adultery in his heart. So if your right eye causes you to sin and take it and throw it away..."

How come I don't see more men with only one eye or none at all?

Elizabeth K.
Elizabeth K7 years ago

I feel the same way about people who discuss god with me. And it's no more unsafe than any other sex.

carly guerrero
carly guerrero7 years ago

@ Elizabeth, yes society tries to force us to accept that it is normal. Like I said I don't have issues w/ the person it's the act itself. I have quite a few gay friends that don't discuss this just like I don't discuss God w/ them. It's a mutual agreement.

Elizabeth K.
Elizabeth K7 years ago

carly, no one is trying to "shove it down your throat".

I would also like to point out that is an unfortunate metaphor.

If you don't like it, don't do it.

carly guerrero
carly guerrero7 years ago

So you're saying gay sex isn't dangerous? Even w/ condoms. And personally I'm tired of having to hear how wonderful it is and how we should be accepting and how it's shoved down our throats, I am accepting of the person but not homosexuality. People don't like hearing us talk about God, welll we are sick of hearing about how "wonderful" it is. I will forever disagree with homosexuality. Sounds rude but God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.

Rudolf Affolter
Past Member 7 years ago

In precisely what way is it "insidious"? Coming from an unmarried man, that is pretty rich! In precisely what way is it "dangerous"? It is hardly as dangerous as nuclear weapons which can destroy the world. Why not ex-communicate all those who work with nuclear weapons and who support their use?

Jon L.
Jon L7 years ago

I choose to go on being an upstanding, respected member of society, contributing whatever positive I am able to the community in which I live. I encourage everyone, regardless of their sexuality or anything else, to do the same.

As for the Pope of the catholic church, he can go look into someone else's bedroom window. NOT mine! I think he has enough problems within his own ranks of priests and religious workers. Dear Pope, please, tend to the log in your own eye and leave my eyes and everything else about my body alone! I do not need your fear based faith. (which brings to mind, if it is fear based, is it really faith?)

Jon L.
Jon L7 years ago

continued ...

We create a dichotomy, in that we say" "God is love" and in the next breath we say, "God will send you to hell to suffer forever. It doesn't make sense. Those two concepts are mutually exclusive. Yes, some believe in something called "dispensations" where god is supposed to act differently during different chapters of history. That may or may not be true. The question is, will god do that again? YES! Read the book of Revelation. God will be responsible for billions of deaths. It doesn't make sense.

Xtianity and other religions are based in fear. "The boogie man (god) will get you if you don't believe the way I do!" B.S. It is because of this type of thinking and teaching that many, myself included, have left our religions in which we were raised as children and some of us even taught and encouraged as adults. I now label myself as an infidel pagan agnostic atheist and, man, am I comfortable with that!

The pope needs to get over it and get his nose into his own life, out of the lives of others. He may see me holding hands with my husband in the street and become very judgmental. That is not the reason I hold my sweetheart's hand. I hold his hand because I love him. Would the Pope or anyone else rather see us killing each other? There's already too much of that in the middle east, the cradle of the Judeo-Christian religions and Islam.

I chose to go on being an upstanding, respected member of society, contributing whatever positive

Jon L.
Jon L7 years ago

You are right, Harry T. However, I challenge you to look even closer at what is happening with this passage. Remember, people during this time assumed that, if one was ill or injured, or there was a natural disaster, people always tried to figure out why "God did it". Obviously, they had to be evil, bad people, unclean in some way, for God to poor God's wrath upon them and to cause them harm and even death. Therefore, that's how they explained anything like that. It was not for them just an earthquake or a volcanic eruption or just a disease, the person affected had to have done something to deserve it.

You can see this happening even in our time, especially among extremeist, fundamentalists from any religion. Didn't one of our xtian pastors in the United States blame homosexuality for Katrina as well as the WTC disasters? Putting myself in their shoes, if there is anything I do not understand, then God doesn't like it, it is an abomination, because there is nothing positive in our holy book regarding this.

We may no longer live in caves or wander around with our tribes, but in the ways we think, we haven't come very far away from those ways of thinking. To believe that our loving God ("God is love.") killed so many people throughout history because "he" somehow didn't like them is to be clinging to our ancient ways of thinking as I mentioned above. We create a dichotomy, in that we say" "God is love" and in the next breath we say, "God will send you to hell to