Friday, 8 October 2010

Religious persecution continues

Several years ago, while my wife and I were still actively involved in a Catholic prayer group, we were confronted by the story of a tragic death involving the son of one of our oldest members. Emotionally torn and upset, Fred (not his real name) shared how this death had deeply affected him on several conflicting levels. Tearfully our eighty plus year old friend and father, revealed how his son’s grief had shown him for the first time how much his son had loved his partner who had now suddenly passed away. Wiping away his tears, Fred admitted to us how guilt and church teachings had taught him that love between two members of the same-sex was wrong. He even expressed how these negative feelings had strained the relationship between him and his son for many years. Perhaps, it was his fault that he had raised a child with homosexual tendencies. Or, maybe God was punishing him for his past sins. He had led quite a rugged life, indifferent to others, and so on. But his son’s grief was so real, so honest and so revealing of a relationship that consisted of a love between two caring and giving individuals.

Roman Catholics and several other religions do not seem to understand the difference between LOVE and SEXUAL PERVERSION particularly as it applies to gays. People opposed to a gay lifestyle will quickly point out various scripture passages, such as Romans 1:26-32, that convinces them that God condemns such behaviour. Such individuals apparently believe that St. Paul’s warning about sexual perversions does not apply equally to heterosexual persons. This distorted view is not only held by some but endorsed by numerous institutional religions. When these messages are espoused by religious institutions, they take on a whole new level of unjustified hatred and condemnation. The recent suicide by the gifted Rutgers University student is but one example of the ongoing message of hate.

In a Christian context it remains a complete mystery why religious institutions have been unable to grasp the simple message from Jesus when he said, “Don’t judge!” The Catholic Church, in my opinion, has been unrelenting under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI in their unchristian attitude towards gays. What most Catholics don’t seem to know today is that prior to their election, the Catholic Church held a cmpletely compassionate opinion on the matter. The New Catechism – Catholic Faith for Adults (1973) had this to say about ‘The Homosexual’: It is not the fault of the individual if he or she is not attracted to the other sex. The causes of homosexuality are unknown . . . .” Furthermore the text goes on to say: “The very sharp strictures of Scripture on homosexual practises (Gen. 1; Rom. 1) must be read in their context.” This Catechism received an official Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur in September 29, 1969. This understanding changed dramatically under both John Paul II and especially Pope Benedict XVI. The present Catechism takes a most inhuman and therefore unchristian attack on homosexuality by calling such unions a perversion. This claim is endorsed with the warning that those who are in opposition with Church teachings shall be proclaimed heretics and anathema. These threats are identical with the commands issued by Pope’s hundreds of years ago when they launched religious persecutions such as the Crusades, Inquisition, burning of witches, etc.

However, with the power these institutions knowingly wield, they could easily and immediately bring Christ’s healing to this shameful issue. How? By reversing their present stance on homosexual unions and recognizing the bond of love and conferring God’s blessing on that union. It is really no different than for two heterosexual people. Think of what this could mean to Fred, his son and thousands, perhaps millions of others Finally, I ask readers does a Christian perspective have anything to do with condemnation and hatred?’

NOTE: As of 2008 the Vatican has refused to sign a UN Declaration to Decriminalize Homosexuality - Canada and many other countries, except USA (under Pres. Bush) did.

NOTE: During April, 2010 Pope Benedict's number two man, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, called homosexuality a "pathology" and linked it directly to sexual abuse of children.

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