His Emptiness, Pope Benedict XVI, has named a new archbishop for San Francisco, Oakland Bishop Salvatore Cordileone. What makes this an unerringly unfit appointment is Cordileone’s militant homophobia. He was instrumental in orchestrating the Catholic Church’s opposition to gay marriage in California, and he is also one of only 18 prelates who have signed something called the Manhattan Declaration, a pledge to protect “the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty,” even if doing so means violating the law.
So what has Benedict done? Installed one of the most prominent anti-gay Catholic officials in the United States in one of the gayest cities in the 50 states. If that isn’t a slap in the fact to gays and lesbians, then it is one of the most ignorant actions a pope has taken in some time. It is clear the Church intends to continue to make life more difficult–if it can, and that’s questionable–for gays who still believe in the pablum the Church calls its magisterium, its teaching authority.
The Church hierarchy has, for centuries, declaimed same sex attraction as a sin. That is true even though homosexuality was rampant in the religious orders of both genders. They still cling to the damnable lie that gay sex is wrong. But they have let go of the other sins in the Old Testament, like killing witches (“A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.” Leviticus 20:27) or trimming your beard (“Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.” Leviticus 19:27).
The Catholic Church pursues this issue even though nothing in the New Testament indicates that Jesus had anything to say against gay men and women. That might be because the whole concept of sexuality was different in those times. The term ‘homosexuality’ was not even coined until the late 19th century. And still they persist.
While the Church avers that homosexual acts are the devil’s work, the truth is just the opposite. It is the Church that is the devil, pursuing what may be its final quarry because they have lost so much ground on the tenets of their faith. Very few Catholics in the US pay attention to the Church’s pronouncements. And why should they? The rantings of the old men in the Curia and an octogenarian pope who have never had sex (at least, that’s what they tell us!) have no relevance to the rest of us.
If you think about the issue of religion long and hard, and especially about Christianity, you will reach the point where you stop believing in god. And if there is no god, then all of the other crap churches, mosques, and synagogues have been broadcasting means absolutely nothing. The Catholic Church is now one of the enemies of progress, but unlike in the Middle Ages, when it had real power, it is a shadow of its former self. Benedict himself has proposed a smaller church with more hardcore believers, and the smaller the better.
For my brothers and sisters who still cling to the fantasy that is religion and are willing to suffer abuse and discrimination in this life in the hope of having an eternity of joy in heaven, I have two words for you: Stop It! It is bunk!