Pope Benedict: an Enemy of the Queer Community.

Posted by Wayves volunteer Hugo Dann, March 21, 2013

Pope Benedict: an Enemy of the Queer Community.

by Gerard Veldhoven

The resignation of Benedict XVI as pope of the world’s one billion Catholics, will not impact the church’s stance on equal rights for the queer community. As a matter of fact, reports indicate a continuance of the conservatism that has been firmly placed in Roman Catholic doctrine.

Benedict and his predecessor, John Paul ll, have on many occasions rejected any acceptance of members of the LGBT community. Before going further, I must mention that I have made friends with many Catholics here in New Glasgow, Amherst and many other places. They have opened their homes and offered friendships that I treasure.

In recent weeks, I have learned that the hierarchy, the pope, cardinals, bishops and other leaders, will stay on the path set forth years ago. Various announcements from the Vatican have indicated that LGBT rights and relationships will not be recognized, but LGBT people are welcome as members of the church. In other words, the R.C. Church does not allow us the right to love the person of choice. The hypocracy is clear and well established.

I do not have a religious affiliation and as an atheist I respect and embrace all human kind. I do believe in equal treatment and the right to freedom of religion and expression that is void of hate. I also believe one should take care not to deny the existence of those who are not born in the “perfect” mold that the Vatican apparently has set as a standard. In other words, we are not all equal in the eyes of the church.

The same may be said of women and nuns who continue to be second class beings according to church law; women will never be allowed to become priests under present rules and are subservient to an exclusively male hierarchy. With the continuation of these rules, the bullying, beatings, suicides and murders of young LGBT teens will continue, as people are under the influence of religious that view homosexuality as a sin.

The new Pope, as world leader, remains a popular influence and if he chooses to be inclusive and rules with love instead of intolerance, many of the ills will disappear. But the Pope Benedict XVI was not a friend to the queer community.

The conclave of the Catholic Church elected a new pope this past Thursday, (March 14th). Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, as Pope Francis I, became the first 'New World' pontiff in history to occupy the seat of St. Peter. The result, however, will do absolutely nothing to take the church into the 'new age'. This ultra conservative minded man has had a history of denouncing LGBT people.

The Argentine government approved same-sex marriage, but not before a run-in with Bergoglio, who adamantly opposed this move of equality. He said, "Let's not be naive, we're not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God".

Another sad statement from this Cardinal in 2010 made waves as he pronounced that, "Gay adoption is a form of discrimination". A change of leadership in the Vatican will see the continuation of discrimination and homophobia within the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, no one expected a change as most of the Cardinals were appointed by the last two popes who were also ultra conservative.

The flames of intolerance keep burning and there is little to celebrate with a new pontiff. The dwindling numbers of church goers may eventually have some impact, but it has already been announced that doctrine regarding the LGBT community, the equal treatment of women and married priests is not up for debate. Our fight continues.

Gerard Veldhoven is a well-known LGBT Activist in Central Nova Scotia. He is a frequent contributor to Wayves.

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