The very first Christian Bible was produced by the Catholic Church – compiled by Catholic scholars of the 2nd and 3rd century and approved for general Christian use by the Catholic Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397). The very first printed Bible was produced under the auspices of the Catholic Church – printed by the Catholic inventor of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg. And the very first Bible with chapters and numbered verses was produced by the Catholic Church–the work of Stephen Langton, Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury.
Pope Francis said Wednesday that marriage is a vocation all believers are called to defend, specifically in terms of the complementarity of the union between a man and a woman.
In the account of creation, “man appears for a moment without woman, free and master, but he is alone, he feels alone,” the Pope told attendees of his April 22 general audience.
“God himself recognizes that this reality is not good, that there is a lack of fullness and of communion, and because of this decided to create woman,” Francis said, explaining that when the woman is finally presented to the man, “the man recognizes that only this creature, and only she, is part of him.”
Man doesn’t see woman as a mere replica or reflection of himself, the Pope noted, but immediately recognizes her as someone reciprocal and complimentary to him.
The woman, he said, “is not a ‘replica’ of the man; she comes directly from the creative act of God. The image of the ‘rib’ does not in any way express inferiority or subordination, but on the contrary, that man and woman are of the same substance and are complementary.”
Francis spoke to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his general audience address, during which he continued his ongoing catechesis on the family.
In his speech, the Pope warned that the complementarity between men and women is frequently threatened by “the negative excesses of patriarchal cultures (and) multiple forms of ‘machismo,’” or sexist attitudes.
He noted how the female body is often instrumentalized and commoditized in the current media culture.
While God initially placed his full confidence in Adam and Eve, the devil is the one who sowed seeds of suspicion and distrust in their hearts, leading them to disobey God and destroy the initial harmony of their relationship, he said.
“All of this has increased distrust and the difficulty of a full alliance between man and woman, who are capable of an intimate relationship of communion and respect for differences,” the Pope continued.
Rather than being lived as a reciprocal union, marriage today has been marred by an “epidemic of distrust, of skepticism and even of hostility,” he said.
At the same time, the procreative aspect of marriage has been “devalued, which is always a great loss for everyone. How important it is to revalue marriage and the family!”
When a stable and “fruitful” union between a man and a woman is lacking or underappreciated, it is the young who suffer most, Francis observed.
Despite all of our sins and weaknesses, our vocation “is to care for the covenant of marriage,” which constitutes “a vital and energizing vocation, through which we cooperate with our heavenly Father, who himself always cares for and protects this great gift.”
Pope Francis then turned to God’s mercy, saying that the image of the Father’s tenderness toward a sinful couple “leaves us open-mouthed with wonder” at how he safeguards his creation.
This image, he said, should inspire all believers to make a commitment to defend the “vital and energizing” vocation of marriage and to protect the sacred union that God willed for men and women.
Francis concluded his address by praying that Mary’s example would teach all men and women of today to obey and be strengthened by the first harmony with which they were created and loved by God.
I await the petition to God written by prominent Catholics decrying the Pope's intolerance.
Gay marriage is only the last in a long series of shifts in sexual morality. Why didn’t premarital sex or cohabitation galvanize our attention, like this has? Where were the protests then? How did divorce and remarriage become about as frequent among Christians as in the general population?
When reminded of those higher standards, of not that long ago, people say, “But it would be too hard for divorced people to remain unmarried. It’s too hard to live without love.” Yet that’s exactly what we ask gay people to do. We should at least admit that it is not easy; it is in fact a kind of heroism, and we should honor it better than we do. I don’t advocate relaxing the rules (of the faith) for gays, but I wonder how straight people came to relax the rules for themselves.
So I don’t care what other people do in bed, and I don’t think that a gay couple living down the street undermines the marriages around them. But I do think that gay sex damages the soul, and I’ll tell you why.
My Eastern Orthodox Church teaches that the whole purpose of human life is union with God. It teaches that this is possible even for the most ordinary Christians. Our church has had plenty of practice—centuries and millennia of practice—discerning what helps and what hinders that process. It has long observed (as have most ancient faiths) that sex outside hetero marriage (gay or straight) is one of the things that impede spiritual growth.
This is not a theoretical belief, but an observation based on practical experience. So it can’t change. But why should other people care what I believe? If I saw someone smoking a cigarette, I might worry that he’s harming himself, and he might suspect I disapprove. But we don’t have to have an argument about it. He’s free to do what he wants, and I’m free to have my own opinion. Live and let live, I say.
But mark this: I also expect my church to be free practice this faith. While there is much more to the process of soul-healing than sexual activity—anger and pride, for example, are much more frequently addressed—that doesn’t make the sexual morality obsolete. So we uphold it, whether gay or straight. Everyone in my church is there voluntarily; everyone is free to leave at any time. We all struggle with one temptation or another, and support each other on the path. If any attempt is made to restrict what people of faith believe, teach, preach, and practice, this country will have a much bigger fight on its hands.
I’ve resisted joining up with the “defend marriage” movement for a long time, and you might wonder why I’d change my mind now. It’s not that I think I have anything fresh to add to the conversation. People aren’t listening anyway; to gay advocates, I am just another hater. When I tried, a few years ago, to put my “live and let live” perspective into words, a gay blogger responded with a post stating, “Frederica says I don’t deserve to be loved.”
No, I’m joining the fray because it looks like the battle is lost. That means it’s time to stand together. It’s not hard to predict what happens next: winners silence their opponents, and losers are hounded, misrepresented, and punished for their views.
Well, what did we expect? What we are saying seems nonsense to the secular world, and is felt as actively antagonistic. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).
This past Good Friday I was struck by the scripture that says Christ suffered “outside the gate,” as an outcast, beyond the city wall. Why should we be any different? As the Scripture says, “Let us go forth to him outside the camp, and bear the abuse he endured” (Hebrews 13:13). It’s time. Let’s go.
Thought provoking and unsettling words purposed in pointing out that defending marriage isn't just about opposing gay marriage.
Religious persecution of Christians is rampant worldwide, as Pew has noted, but nowhere is it more prevalent than in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where followers of Jesus are the targets of religious cleansing. Pope Francis has repeatedly decried the persecution and begged the world for help, but it has had little impact. Western leaders — including Obama — will be remembered for their near silence as this human rights tragedy unfolded. The president's mumblings about the atrocities visited upon Christians (usually extracted after public outcry over his silence) are few and far between. And it will be hard to forget his lecturing of Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast about the centuries-old Crusades while Middle Eastern Christianswere at that moment being harassed, driven from their homes, tortured and murdered for their faith.
A week and a half after Obama's National Prayer Breakfast speech, 21 Coptic Christians were beheaded for being "people of the cross." Seven of the victims were former students of my friend and hero "Mama" Maggie Gobran, known as the "Mother Theresa of Cairo" for her work with the poorest of the poor. She told me these dear men grew up in rural Upper Egypt and had gone to Libya seeking work to support their families. They died with dignity as they called out to their God, while the cowardly murderers masked their faces.
Rather than hectoring Christians about their ancestors' misdeeds, Obama should honor these men and the countless Middle Eastern Christians persecuted before them.
Monday, there was more horrifying news: ISIL terrorists released a video purporting to show more religiously motivated killing. According to CNN, before beheading and shooting two groups of Christians in Libya, a speaker said, "The Islamic State has offered the Christian community (the opportunity to convert to Islam or pay a tax for being Christian) many times and set a deadline for this, but the Christians never cooperated."
Obstetricians, doctors, and midwives commit this procedure on infants every single day, in every single country. In reality, this treatment is performed almost universally without even asking for the parents' consent, making this practice all the more insidious. It's called infant gender assignment: When the doctor holds your child up to the harsh light of the delivery room, looks between its legs, and declares his opinion: It's a boy or a girl, based on nothing more than a cursory assessment of your offspring's genitals.
We live in a society that assumes gender based on genitals. When we are born, we are categorized as a gender based on the appearance of our genitals.
“Transgender” is a word that generally refers to people who do not identify with the gender they were categorized as at birth.
A person with a penis would be classified as a boy, but will identify as a woman. Therefore, this person is a woman. Likewise, someone with a vagina might identify as a man.
Many people do not feel like solely a man or a woman.These people often refer to themselves as non-binary.
Trans* people can experience gender in a number of different ways.
As such, the existence of people who identify as transgender essentially challenges the idea that gender = genitals.
Unfortunately, the conflation of gender with genitals is deeply rooted in society.
It is seen as “normal” and “natural” to identify with the gender associated with one’s genitals. As a result, transgender people are often labelled unnatural or abnormal, and are oppressed, marginalized, and underrepresented by society.
Cisgender people – people who identify with the gender they were categorized as at birth – enjoy a range of privileges over trans* folk.
We often use the word “transphobia” to refer to a range of negative attitudes towards trans* folk.
While the difference between cissexism and transphobia is not entirely clear, and many people use the terms interchangeably, cissexism is often thought to be a more subtle form of transphobia.
By “subtle,” I mean that it is less visible to cisgender people. Despite this, it is no less damaging.
In fact, it could be argued that it is more damaging as fewer people notice it – while most decent people would be quick to condemn physical attacks on trans* folk, fewer people would notice how harmful it is to assume that only women have vaginas.
However, the very attitude that regards cisgender as the norm and others the trans* community leads to the denial of trans* people’s rights.
Our society regularly makes cissexist assumptions.
It assumes that all people identify with the gender they were categorized as at birth, based on their genitals. Assuming all people are cisgender results in cisgender people being seen as “normal” and “natural”, while transgender people are seen as the opposite – “abnormal” and “unnatural.”
This attitude toward the trans* community is what leads to discrimination and transphobic attacks.
"As we all know, sexual difference is present in many forms of life, in the long ladder of the living," he noted. "But only man and woman carry within them the image and likeness of God."
Genesis, he explained, not only explains that man and woman individually bear this likeness to God, but also together as a couple.
"The difference between man and woman is not for opposition, or subordination, but for communion and creation, always in the image and likeness of God."
The 78 year old Pontiff went on to say that without the mutual enrichment in their relationship, neither can truly understand what it means to be man and woman. While modern culture has opened new ways and freedoms to understand these differences, the Pope noted that it also introduced "many doubts and much skepticism."
"I wonder, for example, if the so-called gender theory is also an expression of frustration and resignation, which aims to erase sexual difference because they can no longer deal with it. Yes, we risk taking a step back," he said.
"The removal of the difference, in fact, is the problem, not the solution. To solve their relationship problems, man and the woman should instead talk more, listen more, know more, [and] love each other more. They must treat each other with respect and cooperate with friendship."
The Pope went on to call on intellectuals to not abandon the importance of this theme, which he said has become secondary.
When the Pope feels the need to directly address this issue, you know that it's crossed the fringe realm and entered mainstream thought.
The Pope went on:
The collective mistrust in God, he said, gives way to incredulity and cynicism and connects to the crisis between man and woman. This division is exemplified in the creation story in which this covenant is broken once sin entered.
"In fact, the biblical story, with the grand symbolic fresco of the earthly paradise and original sin, precisely tells us that the communion with God is reflected in the communion of the human couple and the loss of trust in the Heavenly Father generates division and conflict between man and woman," he said.
Concluding his catechesis, Pope Francis said that the Church has the responsibility of rediscovering the beauty of God's design in the covenant between man and woman.
"Jesus encourages us explicitly to give witness to this beauty, which is the image of God," he concluded.
God help us form a moat between right thinking and twisted thinking that's becoming more and more prevalent.
As I walked down the street, I noticed in the window of a shop a decal advertising the so-called “Human Rights Campaign,” the organization agitating for a redefinition of marriage to include homosexual unions. I was a little shocked somebody would be proud of that association, for I had heard the news that the founder of the Human Rights Campaign (and a major financial backer of President Obama), Terry Bean, was recently arrested in Oregon for sexually abusing a 15 year-old boy. Maybe that story was not broadcast as widely as it should have been—I can only guess why; if the president of the NRA had shot someone, certainly that would make the news.
Regardless, it also struck me how utterly debased the notion of human rights had become if an entire genus of moral claims could be reduced to a grotesque assertion made on behalf of one-percent of the population. Yet, I also saw that it is the epitome of the contemporary zeitgeist in which a “right” is nothing other than a sentimental imperative, as Alasdair MacIntyre has put it: on the one hand, it is nothing other than a bold and impulsive desire; yet, this is compounded with the tyrannical demand that others submit to your insistence that that desire be satisfied. This meretricious notion of rights debases them by placing individual desire ahead of objective value, a move which ineluctably reduces to nonsense any and all claims to have rights. I thought I might make a test to determine just how dedicated the shop owner really was to this notion of human rights: did he in fact agree that subjective desire implied the sort of right he seemed to claim for himself? In other words, would he allow me to redefine reality to conform to my own desires?
The store was a tidy gift shop full of knick-knacks of no intrinsic value, but it was presided over by a tall, thin man with a penciled beard running the ridge of his jaw line and an imperious aquiline nose. I quickly found a small plaster dog, and presented it to the register for purchase by commenting approvingly, “This looks just like my son!”
Not given to suffering fools—or customers deemed unworthy—gladly, the proprietor grasped the dog with his spidery fingers and superciliously replied, “Your son? Really?”
“Well, I consider him my son. I am planning on being able to claim a child tax credit for him next year—or soon at least. The government has no right to tell me who my child is. After all, I love him like a son! That’s all that matters.”
Not knowing what to make of me, the owner quickly rang up the item without comment, and announced, “That will be $20.”
I pulled out a $10, and giving it to him, reached for the bag. “I am sorry, sir,” he said. “That’s a $10 bill.”
With this, of course, he unintentionally got to the heart of the issue. I protested, “That’s okay—I see this as being worth $20. What I mean is that, to me, that is the same as a $20 bill is to you.” Seeing him hesitate, I insisted, “Please don’t impose your values on me: I have the right to judge the value of things in relation to my money, and you judge it in relation to yours. I consider this to be $20, though you may call it what you will.”
“But you cannot just change the worth of a $10 bill! These prices are meant to be for everyone—changing them according to your whim ruins the whole system.”
“As I said, I am not changing the price. I consider the money I am handing you to be worth $20. You are getting exactly what you ask for.”
Slowly, as if here were explaining this to a child, he retorted, “Sir, you cannot redefine reality. It is an obvious fact that a $10 note is not the same as a $20 note—that would be a contradiction in terms! Simply calling a $10 a $20 does not make it so. Regardless of what you call them, they are not the same. You cannot simply go around changing the value of money. It is a fact that $10 is worth $10, and $20 is worth $20.”
“How can you be so unsophisticated?” I replied. “Isn’t the value of money just a convention anyway? I mean, there is no objective foundation for how much one piece of paper is worth against another—they are all just pieces of paper. If it is all just a convention, I should not be bound by your arbitrary traditions.”
“Price is a number, is not a ‘convention,’ sir. It is what the thing is really worth. $20 is just what $20 is, period. You can’t change that. So you do have to pay what I say.”
“So you think these prices indicate a value independent of what people want to pay?”
“Of course! The value of money is not arbitrary! If that were the case, you could give me a penny in place of $100—if you did that, you would debase even the most valuable things. Why, money would have no meaning at all if we had to redefine it anytime someone wanted to! Sir, get real: you can’t have everything you want unless you can afford it.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church gets a lot of flack for using the term “disordered” when it comes to homosexual acts. News flash: Homosexuals do not have a monopoly on disordered actions. I am a straight, married man with kids. Check out how disordered I am!
2351 Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.
I am disordered.
1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods;
I am disordered.
2424 …The disordered desire for money cannot but produce perverse effects. It is one of the causes of the many conflicts which disturb the social order.
I am disordered.
2520 Baptism confers on its recipient the grace of purification from all sins. But the baptized must continue to struggle against concupiscence of the flesh and disordered desires.
I am disordered.
1394 As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charitywipes away venial sins. By giving himself to us Christ revives our love and enables us to break our disordered attachments to creatures and root ourselves in him