Catholic Culture Podcasts
Catholic Culture Podcasts

What the Pope don't know, nohow

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jan 07, 2004

E.W. Scott, the former Anglican Primate of Canada, has a very high respect for the family -- I mean, of course, for "the family unit."

On the Sunday before New Year's, in his weekly comments in St. Peter's Square, the Pope said that giving same-sex couples access to civil marriage has "disturbed the nature of the family institution" and he called on "those who believe in the importance of the family based on matrimony" to unite. In Canada, I take it that the call is to unite in opposition to legal changes that would extend civil marriage to same-sex couples across the country.

With all due respect to His Holiness, and my respect for him is great, I cannot respond affirmatively to this invitation. This is not because of lack of respect for the family on my part, but because of the very high respect for the family unit that I hold. In the light of the high rates of suicide by gay and lesbian youth compared with their heterosexual peers, I cannot help asking, "Would permitting civil marriage to same-sex couples not strengthen the family rather than weaken it?"

For centuries, which included those in which the Bible came to be, there were no such concepts as "sexual orientation" or being "gay" or "lesbian." All human beings were assumed to be heterosexual and in many, but not all, cultures homosexual behaviour was viewed as evil or wrong. Today, new knowledge that is available to us makes it impossible to easily accept that gay and lesbian people are automatically evil.

"Automatically evil"? Can anyone help me understand what it means for a person to be evil, not objectively, or incorrigibly, but "automatically"? It defeats me. If I follow his argument aright, Dr. Scott is telling us that before the advent of the new knowledge it was indeed possible for us -- for him, anyway -- to easily conclude that gays are automatically evil. Astonishing. Now, presumably, it's impossible to do so easily but still achievable with the right amount of effort.

To use Dr. Scott's own lingo, I cannot help asking what the suicide rate by gay and lesbian youth was, say, in Manitoba, in 1953, when the ascendancy of homophobia was absolute.

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