Blog post

Did Pope Benedict really call gay marriage a "threat to the future of humanity"?

Huw Lemmey17 January 2012

Peter Montgomery, writing for Religious Dispatches, digs deeper on the current furore over the Pope's recent speech to the diplomatic corps. Andrew Brown, of the Guardian, objected to Reuters reporting the head of the Catholic Church stating

that gay marriage was one of several threats to the traditional family that undermined 'the future of humanity itself'.

Brown claims he "he didn't mention it at all, whereas he did take up several other sexual issues". Montgomery, returning to the original text of the speech, claims Brown is being purposefully obtuse on this point:

The Pope didn't use the phrase "gay marriage," but he didn't have to; not in the context of his "marriage of a man and a woman" comment.

Though the Pope steered clear of the actual words, it appears his speech did prominently reference the exclusive form of marriage as between a man and a woman, stating:

[E]ducation needs settings. Among these, pride of place goes to the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman. This is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself.

The story of Pope Benedict's complex personal and doctrinal relationship towards homosexuality is explored more full in The Pope is Not Gay!, an insightful examination of the former Cardinal's development as a reactionary theologian by the late Italian anarchist and poet Angelo Quattrocchi. It includes an appendix of Ratzinger's key writings on homosexuality.