US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Pope, sex, media, Part 2

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

It's hard to read the info in the last post, and not have an opinion, especially as a blogger. To be honest I think the pope's critics have a point when they argue that even the implicit claim that humanity needs saving from homosexuality and same-sex marriage is out of place and even dangerous for those who live in places where gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people face violence, legal persecution, imprisonment, or even execution because of their sexuality or gender. Coming on the heels of the Vatican's opposition to a UN declaration calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality the world over, activists can't be blamed for making the connection and calling the pope out on it.

But I think another issue, one illustrated by the headlines, is that the pope is a little tone-deaf to the media. A hundred years ago few paid attention to his end-of-year message to the papal household. Now, within minutes, the whole thing is posted, and minutes later come the media interpretations. Unless this pope wants to be known solely for his opposition to same-sex marriage, he may want to consider just how often he mentions it in the presence of reporters.

That's not only for his own sake, but for the sake of gay and lesbian people and their families. At times I fear that the pope thinks of GLBT people as something other than Catholic, when in fact we can expect to find among God's people the same number of GLBT people as we find in any population, and with a Catholic population of over 1 billion, I think it's safe to assume that there are GLBT Catholics in the tens of millions.

The pope may owe the media nothing, but he has a sacred duty to the baptized--all of them. And that means care with words and carefully distinguishing (and at times withholding) what is, in the end, his opinion about the connection between environmentalism and sexuality, and not the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.