Pope Benedict sharpened the tone and
tenor of his attacks against gays and lesbians at a pro-family rally
in Madrid, Spain on Sunday, the Associated Press reports.
This is the third anti-gay attack from the pontiff in weeks.
The pope told hundreds of thousands of
people attending a Mass designed to counter the country's
three-year-old gay marriage law that Christian families need to
“Dear families, do not let love,
openness to life and the incomparable links that join your homes
weaken,” read a statement from the pope. “The pope is by your
Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, the
archbishop of Madrid, added: “the future of humanity depends on the
family, the Christian family.”
“It is possible to conceive, organize
and live marriage and family in a very different way from what is in
fashion in so many areas of our society,” Rouco Varela said in a
The pope, who has strongly condemned
gay unions in the past, appears to be increasing the severity and
frequency of his attacks. His support for the anti-gay marriage
rally comes on the heels of being criticized for saying that mankind
needed to be saved from gender confusion. Many gay leaders believed
his words justified “gay bashing.”
Last Monday, speaking to the Vatican's
central administration, the pope attacked what he described as
“gender” theories which “lead towards the self emancipation of
man from creation and the creator,” and said there were important
distinctions between men and women that need to be “respected.”
“The tropical forests do deserve our
protection; but man, as a creature, does not deserve any less,” he
Gay rights activists interpreted the
remarks as anti-gay and anti-transgender.
“What keeps the pope awake at night
is the idea that human beings might be able to seek out their own
sexual identity to have a happy life,” Franco Grillini, of the
Italian association Gaynet, told UK-based daily the Guardian.
A Vatican spokesman, Father Federico
Lombardi, said the pope was not attacking gays and lesbians at all,
and pointed out that the text never made references to homosexuality.
And earlier this month, the Vatican
said it opposed a United Nations resolution calling for the universal
decriminalization of being gay. They said they feared it would lead
to gay marriage and also objected to the inclusion of gender identity
in the text which would “create serious uncertainty in the law.”
Sixty-six nations have signed on to the non-binding statement; not
among them is the U.S.
The pope has often spoken out against
gays and lesbians – especially in Spain, a predominantly Roman
Catholic country that has legalized gay marriage and has made
divorcing easier – but rarely has he been this vocal in such a
short period of time.
In 1986, before he became pope, Joseph
Ratzinger said that being gay “is a more or less strong tendency
ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination
itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”