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December 29, 2008

Here's What the Pope Really Said About Rainforests

The California Catholic webiste carries this interesting article, another example of how some media seem to intentionally distort papal statements with the apparent goal of stirring up even more opposition.  

“A gay-bashing tirade?”

Both mainstream and homosexual media around the world launched into a full-court and often vicious attack on Pope Benedict XVI following his Dec. 22 Christmas address to the Roman Curia. The furor began after the Holy Father said that protecting humankind from self-destruction was as important to Catholics as protecting the tropical rainforests. Although the pope nowhere used the word “homosexuality” in his discourse, homosexuals and others seized on a portion of his description of the Catholic understanding of the created natural order in which he described the “sacrament of creation” as “matrimony - which is the lifelong bond between a man and a woman.”

Various media called Benedict XVI’s address to the Curia a “gay-bashing tirade,” a “homophobic attack,” an “anti-gay message,” and a “toxic Christmas message.” In the interest of clarity and justice, California Catholic Daily has excerpted the portion of the Holy Father’s speech that prompted the widespread outrage (it was only a brief part of an address that covered many other topics). We leave it to our readers to decide whether there was any legitimate justification for the attacks on Pope Benedict XVI.

Relevant excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI’s Dec. 22 address to the Roman Curia:

“First of all, there is the affirmation that comes to us from the start of the story of Creation, which tells of the Creator Spirit that moved over the waters, created the world and continuously renews it.

Faith in the Creator Spirit is an essential element of the Christian Creed. The fact that matter has a mathematical structure, is full of spirit (energy), is the foundation of the modern science of nature.

Only because matter is structured intelligently, our mind is able to interpret it and actively remodel it. The fact that this intelligent structure comes from the same Creator Spirit that also gave us our spirit, implies a task and a responsibility.

The ultimate basis of our responsibility towards the earth is our faith in creation. The earth is not simply a property that we can exploit according to our interests and desires. It is a gift of the Creator who designed its intrinsic order, and through this, has given us the orientative indications to follow as administrators of his Creation.

The fact that the earth, the cosmos, mirror the Creator Spirit also means that their rational structure -- which beyond their mathematical structure, become almost palpable through experimentation - carries in itself an ethical orientation.

The Spirit that shaped them is more than mathematics -- it is Goodness itself, which, through the language of creation, shows us the road to correct living.

Since faith in the Creator is an essential part of the Christian Creed, the Church cannot and should not limit itself to transmitting to its faithful only the message of salvation. She has a responsibility for Creation, and it should validate this responsibility in public.

In so doing, it should defend not just the earth, water and air as gifts of Creation that belong to everyone. She should also protect man from destroying himself.

It is necessary to have something like an ecology of man, understood in the right sense. It is not outdated metaphysics when the Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and asks that this natural order be respected.

This has to do with faith in the Creator and listening to the language of creation, which, if disregarded, would be man's self-destruction and therefore a destruction of God's work itself.

That which has come to be expressed and understood with the term 'gender' effectively results in man's self-emancipation from Creation (nature) and from the Creator. Man wants to do everything by himself and to decide always and exclusively about anything that concerns him personally. But this is to live against truth, to live against the Spirit Creator.

The tropical rain forests deserve our protection, yes, but man does not deserve it less as a Creature of the Spirit himself, in whom is inscribed a message that does not mean a contradiction of human freedom but its condition. . . .
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