Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Pathetic Vatican Performance At The UN

The Vatican's representative to the UN Archbishop Tomasi demonstrating the logic in claiming human rights abuses against those who perpetrate human rights abuses.

Here's the full address of Archbishop Silvano Tomasi to the UN Human Rights Commission concerning the rights of homosexuals. It's beyond pathetic in it's reasoning.  No wonder 64% of practicing Catholics support gay rights.

 "Mr. President, the Holy See takes this opportunity to affirm the inherent dignity and worth of all human beings, and to condemn all violence that is targeted against people because of their sexual feelings and thoughts, or sexual behaviours.

We would also like to make several observations about the debates regarding “sexual orientation”.

First, there has been some unnecessary confusion about the meaning of the term “sexual orientation,” as found in resolutions and other texts adopted within the UN human rights system. The confusion is unnecessary because, in international law, a term must be interpreted in accordance with its ordinary meaning, unless the document has given it a different meaning. The ordinary meaning of “sexual orientation” refers to feelings and thoughts, not to behaviour.  (That's a new one on me.  I'm pretty sure the American Psychiatric and Psychological Associations have a more inclusive definition that includes behavior.)

Second, for the purposes of human rights law, there is a critical difference between feelings and thoughts, on the one hand, and behaviour, on the other. A state should never punish a person, or deprive a person of the enjoyment of any human right, based just on the person’s feelings and thoughts, including sexual thoughts and feelings. But states can, and must, regulate behaviours, including various sexual behaviours. Throughout the world, there is a consensus between societies that certain kinds of sexual behaviours must be forbidden by law. Paedophilia and incest are two examples.  (What a clever way to equate gay sex with incest and pedophilia. There is no bar too low for the Vatican when it comes to gay sex.  I'm surprised he left out bestiality.)

Third, the Holy See wishes to affirm its deeply held belief that human sexuality is a gift that is genuinely expressed in the complete and lifelong mutual devotion of a man and a woman in marriage. Human sexuality, like any voluntary activity, possesses a moral dimension : it is an activity which puts the individual will at the service of a finality; it is not an “identity”. In other words, it comes from the action and not from the being, even though some tendencies or “sexual orientations” may have deep roots in the personality. Denying the moral dimension of sexuality leads to denying the freedom of the person in this matter, and undermines ultimately his/her ontological dignity. This belief about human nature is also shared by many other faith communities, and by other persons of conscience.  (Uhmm, I guess this means there is no such thing as a heterosexual orientation or identity.  Just a moral use of our biological apparatus, and in the case of women no choice about pregnancy, ontological dignity be damned.)

And finally, Mr. President, we wish to call attention to a disturbing trend in some of these social debates: People are being attacked for taking positions that do not support sexual behaviour between people of the same sex. When they express their moral beliefs or beliefs about human nature, which may also be expressions of religious convictions, or state opinions about scientific claims, they are stigmatised, and worse -- they are vilified, and prosecuted. These attacks contradict the fundamental principles announced in three of the Council’s resolutions of this session. The truth is, these attacks are violations of fundamental human rights, and cannot be justified under any circumstances.
(Unless they are aimed at gays and then it's just too bad because those gays could have stayed in their closets like us priests.)


So there we have another dose of Vatican logic and even a spoonful of sugar won't make that go down.  But there is another intriguing aspect to this story.  It involves the US State Department and Latin American countries blaming the US for misrepresenting the Vatican position.  They voted yes on the gay rights declaration because they thought the Vatican now approved it.  Say What? 
Somehow the US State Department convinced twenty more countries to vote for the declaration on gay rights because some of these countries say the US misrepresented the Vatican's position.  It strains my imagine to believe any Latin American diplomat would believe the Vatican changed it's homophobic mind, but it doesn't strain my imagination to believe they might blame the US for misleading them into voting for this declaration rather than admitting it was the right and just thing to do in spite of the fact it wasn't the Catholic thing to do.  

No wonder, given the pathetic logic of the Vatican,  that 64% of practicing Catholics in the US now support gay unions or marriage. It may not be the Vatican's Catholic thing to do, but it's the right Catholic thing to do.


  1. So, to follow the Holy See's reasoning, it is acceptable for an individual to have thoughts of mortal sin and feelings of mortal sin, but those thoughts/feelings are forbidden to become actions.

    I recall a certain Nazarene arguing with jewish scholars on that idea.

    "You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Mat. 5:27-28)

    and, further:

    "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man;" (Mat. 15:18-20a)

    I feel compelled to question the standing of any person or organization's positions regarding things which they are, by definition, incapable of experiencing.

    Further, I must question the moral standing of any person or organization which is presently embroiled in a global scandal which hinges on the institutional approval of sexual behaviour which is condemned by societal consensus.

    *sighs heavily* My heart goes out to those thinking, attentive and feeling Catholics (both practicing and non).

  2. Colleen wrote, "Somehow the US State Department convinced twenty more countries to vote for the declaration on gay rights because some of these countries say the US misrepresented the Vatican's position."

    This was supposedly from "unnamed sources" which to me means it's, at best, suspect; at worst just another lie from the Religious Right.

  3. This is so depressing. The Catholic Church says that it opposes discrimination against gay people. They need to prove it. These men are embarrassments. How many of those guys in Rome are gay? Many of them are sexually active gay men. Don't they realize how stupid it makes them look when they make statements like this? Is it that important to them to satisfy the bigots and those that hate gay people?

  4. Mareczku I think the most important thing is to keep their place in the scheme of things and for a gay man who came of age in the thirties, forties, fifties, and sixties, the priesthood was not just a good deal, but a great deal. It gets to be a really great deal as one moves up the ranks.

    For most of these guys the usual path to wealth and connections, if you weren't born into it, was the military. The military was not a good place to be for gay guys, but the Church, that offered the same kind of wealth and connections without the emphasis on machismo or any of the inherent risks to life.

    If the price of maintaining your wealth and status is to attack other gays, that's not much of a price. Especially if you can convince yourself that you are doing good for the majority, who are after all, heterosexual. That's why I personally feel all this gay bashing is more the pathetic hypocritical action of hugely insecure men, rather than truly homophobic.

    A guy like Raymond Burke would never enjoy the lifestyle he currently does in other field and he knows it. That he flaunts it is galling.

  5. Tim your observation about the thoughts of a certain Nazarene went through my mind as well. It's amazing how the actual teachings of Jesus can be ignored or over ridden for the sake of the teachings of men.

    Betty, I don't know what went on there, but what ever it was, there are now twenty more yes votes for the UN declaration. I just know it's a very clever way to placate both your secular and Catholic populations--vote yes and blame it on the the States.

  6. Yes, it certainly is galling how he flaunts it. Would that God would send him a boyfriend who could change his heart. (Forgive me for saying this.)

  7. His predecessor Celestino Migliore was more liberal and more competent: he told the UN that the Vatican does not support criminalizing consensual adult sex.

  8. When it comes to the priesthood the Vatican doesn't seem to support criminalizing no consensual actual criminal sex.