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Benedict XVI: Legalization of same-sex marriage is ‘a distortion of conscience’

Hannah Brockhaus   By Hannah Brockhaus for CNA

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI./ Mazur/

Vatican City, Sep 16, 2021 / 09:15 am (CNA).

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has said that the legalization of same-sex marriage in many countries is “a distortion of conscience” which has also entered some Catholic circles.

In an introduction to a new anthology of his writings on Europe, Benedict XVI said that “with the legalization of ‘same-sex marriage’ in 16 European countries, the issue of marriage and family has taken on a new dimension that cannot be ignored.”

“We are witnessing a distortion of conscience which has evidently penetrated deeply into sectors of the Catholic people,” the pope emeritus wrote. “This cannot be answered with some small moralism or even with some exegetical reference. The problem goes deeper and therefore must be addressed in fundamental terms.”

The introduction, published in the Italian newspaper Il Foglio on Sept. 16, was written for the Italian book “The Real Europe: Identity and Mission.”

Pope Francis wrote the preface to the book, which compiles texts from Benedict XVI written both before and during his pontificate, which lasted from 2005 to 2013.

In the preface, Francis wrote that “beyond so many words and high-sounding proclamations, today in Europe the very idea of respect for every human life is increasingly lost, starting with the loss of awareness of its sacredness, that is, precisely starting from the obfuscation of the consciousness that we are creatures of God.”

“Benedict XVI is not afraid to denounce, over the years, with great courage and foresight the many manifestations of this dramatic renunciation of the idea of creation, up to the current, final consequences, described in an absolutely clear and convincing way in the introductory text,” Pope Francis said.

In his introduction, Benedict XVI said it was important to observe that the concept of “same-sex marriage” is “in contradiction with all the cultures of humanity that have followed one another up to now, and thus signifies a cultural revolution that is opposed to the whole tradition of humanity until today.”

He pointed out that there is no doubt that different cultures have varying juridical and moral conceptions of marriage and the family, such as the profound differences between polygamy and monogamy.

But he emphasized that the basic community has never questioned the fact that the existence of the human being in its male and female forms is ordered to procreation, “as well as the fact that the community of male and female and openness to the transmission of life determine the essence of what is called marriage.”

“The basic certainty that mankind exists as male and female; that the transmission of life is a task assigned to mankind; that it is the community of male and female that serves this task; and that in this, beyond all differences, marriage essentially consists — it is an original certainty that has been obvious to humanity up to now,” Benedict said.

The pope emeritus wrote that the fundamental upheaval of this idea was introduced with the invention of the contraceptive pill and the possibility it gave of separating fertility from sexuality.

“This separation means, in fact, that in this way all of the forms of sexuality are equivalent,” he said. “A fundamental criterion no longer exists.”

This new message, according to Benedict, profoundly transformed men and women’s consciences — first slowly and now more clearly.

From the separation of sexuality from fertility, he continued, comes the inverse: “Fertility, naturally, can be thought of even without sexuality.”

Benedict XVI noted that it therefore seems right to no longer trust the procreation of humans to the “occasional passion of the flesh, but rather to plan and produce the human rationally.”

Thus a human being is no longer “generated and conceived but made,” the retired pontiff underlined, which signifies that a human person is not a gift to be received but “a product planned by our doing.”

He added that if we can plan to make life, it must also be true that we can plan to destroy it, noting that the growing support for assisted suicide and euthanasia as “a planned end to one’s life is an integral part of the trend described.”

The question of same-sex marriage, he continued, is not a question of being “a little more broadminded and open. Rather, the basic question arises: who is man? And with it also the question of whether there is a Creator or if we are not all just manufactured products.”

“This alternative arises: either man is a creature of God, he is the image of God, he is a gift from God, or man is a product that he himself knows how to create,” Benedict XVI wrote.

He said the ecological movement had established that there are limits to nature that we cannot ignore, and, in the same way, a human person possesses a nature that has been given to him “and the violation or denial of it leads to self-destruction.”

“This is also the case with the creation of man as male and female, which is ignored in the hypothesis of ‘same-sex marriage,’” he stressed.

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  1. We read: “This separation [fertility from sexuality] means, in fact, that in this way all of the forms of sexuality are equivalent,” he said. “A fundamental criterion no longer exists.”

    We might almost say a pluralism of equivalent “forms”, not unlike a “pluralism” of equivalent religions. Connect the dots.

  2. Benedict XVI has noted:

    “Thus a human being is no longer ‘generated and conceived but made,’…which signifies that a human person is not a gift to be received but ‘a product planned by our doing.’

    This quote brought to mind the similar idea in which Benedict framed the Novus Ordo liturgy in his preface to Msgr. Gamber’s book. There he characterized the NO liturgy as a ‘fabrication,’ compared to the extraordinary form which had grown naturally, organically, for over a millenium.

    Benedict continues (in this current article), “…if we can plan to make life, it must also be true that we can plan to destroy it, noting that the growing support for assisted suicide and euthanasia as ‘a planned end to one’s life is an integral part of the trend described.’

    It seems just as likely that the NOM–as fabrication–contains within its manufactured form the essence of its destruction. Although there is no claim of correlation, the simultaneous sequence of apostasy followed the introduction of the NOM. Since the 1970s in America, an increasing number of Catholics have ceased to: 1) practice the faith by attending Mass and seeking Reconciliation; 2) marry and bear children, 3) baptize then teach the faith to their few offspring; 3) believe in the Real Presence; 4) live moral lives congruent with perennial Catholic teaching, etc.

    About one year ago, the website onepeter5 posted survey results from TLM attendees on their faith beliefs and practices. It was no surprise that they reported beliefs and practices significantly different from those reported by mainsteam NOM attendees. The margins were wide.

    The seeds of destruction are rampant in the Church today.

    • Pardon. Benedict’s comment on the NOM is not in the preface of Msgr. Gamber’s book. I’m mistaken. When I find it–I’ll correctly cite where those comments on ‘fabrication’ of the liturgy appear.

      • Found it. Benedict, as J. Cardinal Ratzinger, DID indeed describe the NOM as a fabricated liturgy in a Preface to Msgr. Gamber’s “The Reform of the Roman Liturgy,” but only in the French edition. The discussion, however, is reproduced on the back page of the English edition published by Roman Catholic Books, Ft. Collins, CO.

  3. Benedict is on to something regards same sex civil matrimony, “Thus a human being is no longer generated and conceived ‘but made’, which signifies that a human person is not a gift to be received but a ‘product’ planned by our doing”. Ideas are generated in a materialist culture by practicality, a form of utilitarianism. Eugenics had its advocacy with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr who wrote in the 1927 decision Buck v Bell – three generations of imbeciles are enough. Most recent source is the biological perfection of humans in reproduction. Benedict’s insight the displacement of the conjugal act from the process itself generated by same sex reproductive impossibility. From pathological imbecility we’ve advanced to moral imbecility. What was alleged by some notables Augustine, Aquinas as some undetermined feature of human sexuality in Original Sin [which this writer isn’t convinced of], nowadays the sensual pleasure of the conjugal act wholly natural created by God is made specific to nothing and invested in everything. Evidence distancing from God leads to disorder.

    • There are too many assumptions and conflations in Benedict’s thoughts on same sex unions, unfortunately. Gay people do not seem to pose a threat to procreation, and they never have. There are too many heterosexual couplings the world over, which continue to increase the global population. Let’s not blame the small percentage of gay people on the planet for modern concerns, such as planned pregnancy. We wouldn’t blame unmarried couples for bringing babies into the world, in the context of the mandate to be fruitful and multiply, surely!

  4. In Matthew 19:12 Christ states “There are three kinds of eunuch…” Being a eunuch is a sexual disposition that has one disinclined towards a woman. Such a eunuch is “born so from the womb.” If one can be born so “from the womb”, who is responsible for such an inclination? Clearly, it is the Divine. For all human birth is from Him. What is the moral status of such an individual, if sexual drive is also given by Nature, by God? The question of same-sex inclination is a horribly diffiult one to resolve. I have written a study on this published by Rowman and Littlefield. No moral theologian has ever addressed Matthew 19:12 till my work. It warns that much of what has been written in moral theology, in failing to addrress this Gospel passage, fails the Matthew 19>12 Gospel passage and what Christ the Lord has said.

    • Eunuchi has a clear fixed usage. It refers to men born without testicles, men who had them removed in childhood, and men who embrased celebacy becoming spiritual eunuchs. Other words existed. Puer, for example. It is not used here. The understanding of scripture in the Catholic church is based on a 2000 year tradition, founded in Patristics and practice. St Paul clarifies perfectly what the tradition means in practice. The only way to change sacred tradition would be to place a Pope on the see of Peter and have him poo-poo the New Testament where it is in discord with Free Masonic Protestantism. At which point he would clearly be unorthodox and subject to suspicion of heresy in the light of every other Pope and Sacred Tradition. Eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom is not Jesus advocating LGBTQ. He is advocating a form of ascetism that is more suited to a monastic setting than down town freemason land.

      • I would add that Jesus himself appears to have lived in a strict monastic community, and the Catholic Church he founded was rooted in the dessert experience… The confrontation of the spiritual battle and self-mastery. Our monastic tradition grows from Matthhew 19.12. To read the text with eyes clouded by the successful return to paganism instilled in the so-called modern world, is shameful.

      • Clement, in his Stromateis, identifies the eunich in Matthew “born so from the womb,” with the Roman centurion’s male concubine. The Lex Juliana also identifies eunuch with one whose secual preference is for the male. You may want to speak of the tradition etc. of the RC Church. I, however, am a scripture scholar who goes to the text in its original language and looks at a term as it was understood at the time of its usage and appearance in a Scripture passage. Same-sex behavior is wrong because did everyone practice it the human species would end. I have posed the question that the Matthew passage makes quite troublesome: since Christ acknowledge that sexual preference is from the womb, and eunuchs are born so, why would the Divine allow for such an occurrence. Till this day no one has answered that question. Knowledgeable as I am in the languages of Holy Writ, I certainly would not expect anyone coming to this site to have the intllectual ammunition to resolve this question. I happened here by chance and am confident that the answer to my question will come in eternity and not in any prejudicial, uncharitable, and dare I say uneducated manner that internet web sites usually forster and abet.

    • Would like to hear more about this…

      An internet search reports that an author by this complete name (a German rabbi) lived from 1906 to 1972, and that a monograph matching the above description (“Same Sex in Scripture”) was first published posthumously, by someone, in 2009.

      Wondering what the book might have to say (a) on birth defects in general (God or Nature), or (b) on any culturally acquired dispositions toward the active homosexual lifestyle (not quite the same as dormant “sexual disposition that has one disinclined towards a woman”), or (c) how Matthew 19:12 fits alongside recent research into the human genome regarding only certain markers, but not genes (See Note: below). But also wondering, with the commenter (either not named but writing in the first person, or simply reincarnated), what is meant by Matthew 19:12.
      Note: From the news release: Five of the genetic markers were “significantly” associated with same-sex behavior, the researchers said, but even these are far from being predictive of a person’s sexual preferences. “We scanned the entire human genome and found a handful – five to be precise – of locations that are clearly associated with whether a person reports in engaging in same-sex sexual behavior,” said Andrea Ganna, a biologist at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Finland who co-led the research.

      “He said these have ‘a very small effect’ and, combined, explain ‘considerably less than 1% of the variance in the self-reported same-sex sexual behavior.’ This means that non-genetic factors – such as environment, upbringing, personality, nurture, [early sexual abuse] – are far more significant in influencing a person’s choice [!] of sexual partner, just as with most other personality, behavioral and physical human traits, the researchers said.”

      • Amazon carries a few books authored by “Robert Geis.” One, titled ‘Same-Sex in Scripture,’ was apparently published in 2008. Amazon shows only one (5-starred) review whose writing reminds suspiciously like the V. Rev. himself. We may obtain a copy of one of the “Mass Market Paperback” versions for a mere $768.57.

        Fraud alert. Fraud alert. Fraud alert. Fraud alert. Fraud alert. Fraud alert.
        Spiritual and economic. Spiritual and economic. Spiritual and economic. Spiritual and economic.

    • This misrepresentation of Matthew 19:12 is evidence of the extent to which the current narrative has distorted the teaching of far too many in the Catholic hierarchy. The gospel passage obviously refers to the physical condition and not to any “inclination” or “sexual disposition”. This is not just a simple misinterpretation. It’s a deliberate intent to reclassify sodomy as a virtuous behavior.

    • But saying “God wills every condition one is born with” means he wills every birth defect, etc. These things, like same sex attraction, are accidents that befall people due to the effects of original sin. They are not things God wills in the positive sense, but evils he permits. You seem to imply they God wills same sec attraction, but that is plainly not true. Moreover, “eunuch” does not mean disinclination toward women; it means inability to perform the sexual act. So you seem to be misrepresenting what Jesus said.

    • “Clearly, it is the Divine” is an assumption. “From the womb”, is still existent on earth, and earth, unlike Heaven (The Divine), is a domain of impurities. One can say (easily) that prenatal, in utero infiltrations of unclean spirits are possible, and yes that God permits that, but they do not accord with Holy Perfect Will.

      There is a lot to learn from exorcists in the Church, who have laid out how souls can become possessed. There are basically four ways and two of them are involuntary. But possession by the latter cases does not also suppose no reaction or helpless compliance with the effects. It is a mystery of suffering. Jesus reveals the immense mystery of creation in Mt. 19-12 (and deliberately leaves it incomplete, for future revelation?), …but, it is not a divine blessing of satanic disfigurement.

      Does prenatal possession absolve an individual from countering resulting misconfiguration? No. But, the situation, as with any (of the numerous) sexual misconfigurations from early life, is horrible, pondered outside the present moment.

      Yet, nothing is impossible for God, nothing is impossible for grace. Which is why God allows them, for His great glory, in their eventual conquering.

    • Rev Chrysostomos. Born that way has varied meaning. For example, is it pathological due to some physical deficiency? Or is it otherwise, what is medically called asexual with no medically determined reason that the person has no attraction but doesn’t lack sexual desire? Or born that way spirituality as we would assume John the Baptist, and Christ? However, Christ was tempted in every way we are but never sinned. That issue has been addressed in controversial films, spiritual writings apparently for some not entirely resolved. Except, “I answer that, Christ wished to be tempted; first that He might strengthen us against temptations. Hence Gregory says in a homily (xvi in Evang.): It was not unworthy of our Redeemer to wish to be tempted, who came also to be slain; in order that by His temptations He might conquer our temptations, just as by His death He overcame our death” (Saint Thomas Aquinas ST 3 41 1). Adam and Eve prior to the Fall were not subject to concupiscence. Nonetheless, they were subject to temptation. As we assume the new Adam was. Is it then a mystery, or a matter of fact, or perhaps ironically both? Perhaps the best example of your understanding of ‘born that way’ is John the Baptist and Christ. John already in the womb responded with joy to Christ, present through the very recent conception in Mary’s womb. Apparently filled with the Holy Spirit somewhere from conception and born with a deep seated spiritual disposition yet presumably still subject to temptation. Otherwise there would be no merit whatsoever in resisting temptation, as when Christ was tempted by Satan in the desert. John no less subject. Otherwise his long contemplative life in the desert in preparation as the Voice in the Wilderness would lose its rationale.

      • I never heard a gay culture advocate, especially in Christian venues, willing to tackle the question of why it is that 98 percent of gays are pro-abortion. Are they “born that way” to favor the crushing of the unborn?

    • The V. Rev. asserts his inference without hesitation: ‘If one can be born [a eunuch] so “from the womb”, who is responsible for such an inclination? Clearly, it is the Divine.’

      I should like to know the name of that ‘divinity.’

    • That S.S.B. after your name? It typically designates a member of the female order of Brigidines. Are you then,V. Rev., in fact a woman?

  5. Once human beings had the capacity to prevent conception, sexual intercourse became “recreative” rather than procreative. This has led to the distortion of God’s plan. “Be fruitful and multiply” has become “enjoy yourselves with no regard to the consequences.” Same-sex “marriage” is the worst of oxymorons.

    • Very good point, Donna. I will use it in conversations I have with those who disagree with the Church. Everyone is a hetersexual but some have learned homosexuality for self satisfaction only. I don’t like to call these poor souls “gay”, I like to say they are Hetersexuals with Homosexual Tendencies. These poor souls need our help not our approbation. We need Conversion Therapy back again. Thank you, Donna, again for your comments.

      • No. There is an essential difference between something being “broken” and an act that cannot achieve the end desired. A blind person is not “disordered” in the traditional sense of the word, as his eyes are indeed ordered toward sight, but are lacking something that would help them achieve the end for which they were created (sight). Homosexual acts cannot achieve what genitalia and the reproductive system are made for (oriented toward): reproduction. This, by the way, is also why male-female acts of sodomy are also disordered, etc. There is more to it, of course, but that’s a quick 101 explanation.

  6. Romans 1:26-27 spells out plainly how God views homosexuality! There should be no debate on the matter!
    God is Holy and His desire for His creation is for us to walk in holiness!
    When Gad calls an act detestable it is his judgement that prevails! No matter how much mankind tries to explain away the detestableness of homosexuality… we will ultimately be faced with judgement of God Almighty … The author and creator of life! There’s no use in trying to dress up or put lipstick on a pig! It’s still an unclean pig!

      • Deuteronomy, Chapter 14:8-10:

        And the pig, because it has a split hoof, but does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You shall neither eat of their flesh nor touch their carcass.

          • Yes. A typically competent teacher of high school English would teach the meaning of figurative speech.

            Zahn used metaphor, likening a homosexual act to an unclean pig. You asked what one should do with an unclean pig.

            Scripture provides an answer: We are to neither eat the flesh of unclean animals nor touch its carcass.

  7. Purification …a great part of the humanity destroyed … yet our Fathers having the same Heart of that of The Father that all be saved and ? thus to be rewarded in accordance with their Good Will in Onenness ..
    Ours a Kingdom prepared before the foundation of the world – a bit more glimpse into the depth of those words , in rereading and still trying to take in the mysteries as revealed in The Divine Will , how our Lord has redone all human acts , we have to do our share , in making them our own , a comforting thought as for a child invited to step along The Footsteps – as discerned in these writings , hoping to avoid errors too –

    Likely too that both of our Fathers in relation to the above article are well familiar with the above and trying to convey its aspects , in the style of gentle wisdom and caution and to be fitting enough to the level of most laity .

    May same be thus seen as a blessing and invitation ..for the flock to follow
    The Shepherd ..
    FIAT !

  8. One of the biggest arguments against same sex “marriage”, which the alphabet people have not been able to answer, is if marriage is simply reduced to consent and people should be allowed to marry “whoever they love”, why not also incestuous marriage? Or Polygamy? Or child marriage? Or, if we are too take Peter Singer’s arguments seriously that animals enjoy the same rights as us, why not marriages to animals?

    Where do we draw the line? Where does it stop?

    • Or, perhaps for many insurgents, the concerns you raise are in the long run arguments for same-sex “marriage”? Just as agitation for merely civil unions were really only a transitional step toward same-sex marriage. Those who said otherwise were lying. Welcome to the really BIG LIE.

  9. Several of the commentators in this chain take the position that every disease, defect or deviation from an idealized, perfect human form – and these commentators count homosexual orientation as one such deviation — is the result of the Fall of Man / Original Sin. But according to Genesis, God saw that the world he made before the Fall was “good”, not that it was perfect. In fact, God could not make a perfect world – any more than he could make a nonsense entity start such as a square circle or a triangle with four sides – because in doing so he would have to make a perfect copy of himself, and thereby contradict and destroy the perfection of his own unicity.

    Therefore, not every imperfection we perceive in creation is the result of the Fall. And it seems to me that there is no basis in scripture to classify homosexual activity or orientation as consequences of the Fall. In fact, biologists have determined that homosexual behavior – while of course not the norm in any species – does occur with some regularity in over 1500 species of a non – human animals. This suggests that while homosexual behavior or orientation, while not, to be sure, making the same direct contribution to the propagation of any species as heterosexual behavior, must serve some sort of goal or purpose in nature. This also suggests that homosexuality is not, as the commentators referenced above have claimed, an unmitigated evil imposed upon the human race as result of the Fall.

    Further, none of the commentators in this chain have addressed the sources cited by Robert Geis demonstrating that the “eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb” referred to in Matthew 19:12 are those born with a homosexual orientation. As Geis explained in his own comment shown above, in the 2nd century AD Clement of Alexandria identified the “eunuchs from the womb” described in Matthew’s gospel with male concubines kept by Roman army officers. Geis also cites the Lex Julia — a Roman legal code initially promulgated at at a time when Christ was still walking the hills and fields of Galilee, Judea and Israel — considered eunuchs to be males who preferred
    other males as sex partners.

    Thus the commentators who have objected to Robert Geis’ conclusion concerning the “eunuchs from the womb” passage have fallen silent and failed to address the sources and reasoning
    Geis offers in support of his conclusion. Therefore, in accordance with the ancient maxim qui tacet consentire videtur (he who makes no response to his opponent’s argument will be held to have agreed with the opponent’s conclusion), the commentators’ objections to Geis’ conclusion should simply be disregarded.
    — James Condon

    • James, thank you for your rebuttal to the constant wave of confusing and contradictory messages about what homosexuality means to Christians.

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