Pope still Catholic

Jessel, the Tri-felge Putenard, is the subject of part IV of my Bishops Gone Wild series. This means the bishops of the Catholic Church and the Church of England are now neck and neck after a promising start by the C of E: come on Anglicans, put your backs into it!

Jessel was reported as saying that saving humanity from gayness was as important as saving the rain forests. There’s no official English translation of his remarks, but a comment on Ruth Gledhill’s blog provides a translation from a papal fan-site (yes, really), and the BBC has translated some extracts.

Various postings here on LJ have been saying the media have got the wrong end of the stick, and that the speech didn’t mention gays at all. However, Reuters reports that the term “gender” in Italian is “a broad term that includes anyone who doesn’t identify entirely with their assigned sex and can include homosexuals, bisexuals, pansexuals and others.” Anyone out there know some Italian?

The rest of the talk about sex in the speech sounds like the usual natural law stuff. Humanae Vitae gets a mention, so you can read that if you want to see an example of the reasoning here, such as it is.

What with this stuff and all that substance/accidents transubstantiation stuff, the church does seem rather wedded to Aquinas and his scholastic friends (although transubstantiation is also What the Bible Says). I hope for some sort of slow reform, whereby they’d gradually change to using more modern incorrect physics: perhaps there’s mileage in the idea that prayers are transmitted via the luminiferous aether because God is the Absolute. Or something. I’m hoping to work phlogiston in there too.

andrewducker says that we shouldn’t be surprised when theists say the funniest things. Perhaps not, but inasmuch as the Pope has some influence on people’s lives, he deserves the storm he’s called up.

2 Comments on "Pope still Catholic"

  1. With respect to What the Bible Says, this ESVSB note may be useful:

    1 Cor. 11:29 Without discerning the body is usually understood in one of two ways. Some hold that it means “not understanding that the bread represents the body of Christ that was sacrificed for us,” with the result that such people do not act in a Christlike, self-sacrificial way. Others note that Paul does not mention the blood, and because of this they conclude that Paul has moved beyond the meaning of the bread to the idea of the church as a gathering of the body of Christ (see 12:12–27; cf. 10:16–17). According to this second view, “without discerning the body” would mean “not understanding that Christians, since they are the body of Christ, should act like Christ when they assemble.” On either view, these people do not recognize the spiritual reality of what is happening at the Lord’s Supper, and therefore they are acting in a way that dishonors Christ. Eats and drinks judgment on himself is a sober warning that the Lord will discipline those who dishonor the Lord’s Supper (see 11:30), and therefore it should not be entered into lightly.


  2. It seems pretty clear what he means by ‘gender’.

    “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.”

    ie All the things people mean by gender issues result in people freeing themselves from God’s law (which usually says “Don’t do that!”).

    This is hardly a surprising opinion for the Pope to hold, after all.

    There were a couple of other points in the speech which I thought were unexpected.

    For example, he recommends reading the Bible in a fundamentalist way, as if it is directly speaking to you now:

    “We have understood that, of course, the Biblical texts were written in specific times, and therefore constitute in this sense a book from the past. But we also saw that their message does not remain in the past nor can they be kept there. God fundamentally always speaks in the present, and we will have heard the Bible fully only if we discover the ‘present’ of God, which calls to us now.”

    – ie even though the Bible was written in the past you should read it as if it is speaking to you now.

    It’s all very fuzzy and circumlocutious (is that a word?), but it does sound a change from the traditional Catholic emphasis on the Bible as interpreted by the church and the tradition. And it’s a challenge to theologians who consider the Bible in historical context.

    Also, the Pope is joining forces with other Judeo-Christian theists, once the worst enemies of the Catholic Church:

    “there is a Pentecost even today – that the Church speaks in many tongues, and this, not only in the external sense that all the languages in the world are represented in her, but in an even deeper sense: in her are found the multiple ways of experiencing God and the world, the richness of different cultures…

    “A precious contribution was the address of a rabbi on the Sacred Scriptures of Israel, which are our Sacred Scriptures too.

    “And an important moment for the Synod was when Patriarch Bartholomew, in the light of Orthodox tradition, and with penetrating analysis, opened for us another way of access to the Word of God.”

    The ‘Church’ here sounds like it doesn’t mean just the Catholic Church. He allows that there are “multiple ways of experiencing God” and values contributions from the Jewish and Orthodox traditions.

    Maybe this is part of a wider movement in which theists close ranks against the evil atheists?


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