I know I’m late, but my pope gave me a note…

March 14, 2007

Okay, now this is just ridiculous. Pope Benedict XVI, in his position as God’s proxy server to the catholic church, has issued an apostolic exhortation – apparently the second toughest encyclical note issued by his office:

Pope Benedict XVI strongly reasserted Tuesday the church’s opposition to abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage, saying that Catholic politicians were “especially” obligated to defend the church’s stance in their public duties.

“These values are non-negotiable,” the pope wrote in a 130-page “apostolic exhortation” issued in Rome, forming a distillation of opinion from a worldwide meeting of bishops at the Vatican in 2005.

Now I don’t want to get into an argument over the morality of abortion or euthanasia. They are incredibly emotionally charged issues that challenge notions of morality and legal frameworks of society irrespective of religious belief – or lack thereof. But I couldn’t help but notice that gay marriage got slipped in there. How does that work? As far as I can see the only moral objection that the church has to same sex marriage is a dogmatic one, and as such puts it in a very different category to the other two. Attempted guilt by association? Or perhaps it is just that the dogmatic reasons are the most important ones to this papacy?

And “not negotiable”? Says who, and by what criteria? How can you arbitrarily pick and choose which parts of the Bible should be taken literally and which should not?

Such cherry picking is intolerant and discriminatory sure, but not really a surprise – here however is something interesting:

Consequently, Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce laws inspired by values grounded in human nature.

And there we have it.

To put it another way, catholic legislators should feel obliged to ignore that silly old secular church-state separation thingamy, and lobby for religious dogma to be enshrined in law. Is he actually allowed to call for that?

Sure, you can get away with that sort of thing here in Australia, but what about a country like the US where, despite a powerful Christian lobby, church-state separation has constitutional protections?

And finally:

In the document, the pope also repeated that celibacy remains “obligatory” for Catholic priests.

Fine by me. They have chosen to take his orders, and can opt out if they disagree. It’s just a shame that with the Pope’s call to legislators, we could lose the same chance.

2 Responses to “I know I’m late, but my pope gave me a note…”


  1. […] we get when we have no constitutionally mandated separation between church and state. I’ve blogged before about this, when the Pope issued an apostolic exhortation compelling politicians of the Catholic […]


  2. […] here we are again. And again. What would be the reaction if a political candidate said that he (or she) wanted to […]


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