Outside the United States (and Latin America), where the validity of homosexual marriage is still being contested, the Western world marches determinedly toward codified degeneracy -- and inevitable collapse and ruin. It often seems that there is but a solitary figure in Europe holding the line against the advancing Goliath. This past December the Vatican made bold to publicly and vociferously oppose a United Nations declaration submitted by France. The proposed declaration condemns "discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity," and calls on the world's governments to "decriminalize homosexuality" by ensuring that "sexual orientation and gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties." Sodomy is punishable by law in more than 85 countries and is a capital offense in Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen -- Islamic countries all.
Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican's envoy to the UN, explained the Holy See's opposition by stating that France's declaration would "add new categories of those protected from discrimination." The declaration's rebound effect would be reverse discrimination and the targeting of those who promote and defend traditional marriage as a union between a man and a woman. It would, reasoned Archbishop Migliore, "create new and implacable discriminations. For example, states which do not recognize same-sex unions as matrimony' will be pilloried and made an object of pressure." The Archbishop's prediction has already come to pass in California (see the preceding New Oxford Note) -- it is not farfetched that the same scenes would play out throughout the Continent.
Archbishop Migliore excoriated the declaration in harsh terms -- harsher than we've become accustomed to. According to a report from LifeSiteNews (Dec. 3, 2008), he called France's declaration "sad and outrageous," describing it as a form of "modern savagery" that would "dismantle our society from the inside out."
But bold stands provoke equally strong reactions, and various movers and shakers and opinion-makers let loose their own condemnations. Margherita Boniver, a high-profile member of Italy's Democratic Party, called the Vatican's reasoning "alarmingly anachronistic." Rome's La Repubblica newspaper said the Vatican's stance "leaves one dumbstruck." Not to be outdone, Italy's La Stampa newspaper called the Vatican's reasoning "grotesque" and accused the Holy See of supporting the death penalty for homosexuals.
Franco Grillini, president of Arcigay, Italy's leading homosexualist lobby group, said the Vatican's opposition was "unprecedented," denigrating it as "total idiocy and madness." The French declaration, he said, "has nothing to do with gay marriage. It is about stopping jail and the death penalty for homosexuals." And a spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry said that, contrary to Archbishop Migliore's assertion, the proposal is "based on existing texts. The idea is not to create new rights. The idea is to make decriminalization possible."
Even the rabble got into the game. According to LifeSiteNews, about twenty homosexual activists -- yes, twenty was all they could muster -- gathered to demonstrate in Genoa, under a banner that read, "The Vatican is an Accomplice in our Martyrdom." As Anne Barbeau Gardiner notes in her article "The Case of Vanini" in last month's issue, homosexuals love to claim for themselves the mantle of martyrdom -- even while still living.
Jeff Israely of Time magazine seized this opportunity, just before Christmas, to liken Pope Benedict XVI to Ebenezer Scrooge. In an article titled "The Pope's Christmas Gift: A Tough Line on Church Doctrine" (Dec. 3), he describes Benedict as "the 82-year-old Pope" -- highlighting his age -- who is "quite willing to play the part of Scrooge to defend his often rigid view of Church doctrine." Israely then cites an unnamed Rome-based priest who is "disappointed" in the Vatican's opposition to what Israely calls a "rather innocuous" proposal. The priest -- perhaps submitted as Bob Cratchit to Benedict's Scrooge -- tells us that the Church will "lose credibility" with this stand, and that it's "better sometimes to keep quiet." In Dickens's novel, the "rigid" Scrooge undergoes a conversion of heart. Keep on dreaming, Jeff.
To its immense credit, the Vatican didn't back down, nor would it pipe down. Through the din of hyperventilating outrage, the calm voice of reason filtered to the top: Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi rallied to Archbishop Migliore's defense, saying, "Obviously, no one wants to defend the death penalty for homosexuals, as some would insinuate. The well-known principles of respect for fundamental human rights of the person and the rejection of all unjust discrimination -- recognized clearly by the Catechism of the Catholic Church itself -- evidently exclude not only the death penalty, but all violent or discriminatory legislations in relation to homosexuals." The passage he refers to (#2358) states that homosexuals "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."
Nevertheless, Fr. Lombardi said, there is more to France's proposed UN declaration than what meets the eye: "It introduces a declaration of political value that could result in systems of control, according to which, every norm -- not only legal, but also related to the life of social or religious groups -- which does not place every sexual orientation on exactly the same level could be considered as contrary to respect of human rights."
Indeed, what Fr. Lombardi warns of has already come to pass in Canada, where the Human Rights Commission (HRC), funded by the Canadian government, has actively sought to suppress criticism of homosexuality and the homosexualization of Canadian culture. Notably, the HRC issued an order in November 2007 prohibiting Alberta news media from publishing Protestant pastor Stephen Boisson's comments on homosexuality. The HRC had determined that Boisson's 2002 letter to the editor in the Red Deer Advocate newspaper, in which he warned of the effects of homosexual activism on the social order, particularly among children, exposed homosexuals to "hatred and contempt." Boisson was forbidden by the HRC to preach sermons critical of homosexuality and was ordered to pay $7,000 in fines, in addition to his court costs.
In another noteworthy case, Canadian Catholic Insight magazine has spent over $20,000 since late 2007 defending itself before the HRC against accusations that it "targeted homosexuals" with "hate speech" by publishing articles that reference Catholic teaching on homosexuality and quote the Catechism. The HRC dropped the charges against Catholic Insight in July 2008, but the complainant filed for a judicial review in August, and the HRC's investigation resumed. This is a sure way to bleed a Catholic publication dry. (In a telling twist, the HRC ruled in 2003 that a song by heavy-metal rock group Deicide, which includes the lyrics, "Kill the Christian / You are the one we despise / Day in day out your words compromise lies / I will love watching you die," did not constitute hate speech against Christians. Go figure.)
On December 18, 2008, France's UN declaration was signed by 66 nations, including all 27 members of the European Union, as well as Japan, Australia, and Mexico. The U.S. was the notable exception among Western nations, abstaining from signing due largely to concerns that the declaration might force the federal government to impinge on matters that fall under state jurisdiction.
Piero Tozzi of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute reports that, despite its non-binding status at the UN, homosexual advocates were "quick to portray the French/EU declaration as a victory." The declaration will likely reappear "in a more permanent form, perhaps as a General Assembly resolution." Boris Dittrich, a homosexual activist and member of the Dutch parliament, called it a "historical event" and a "step forward in the decriminalization of sodomy laws." Rama Yade, France's Junior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, said that the declaration is "just a starting point and not an ending point," and that the "final objective" is "universal decriminalization."
In this day and age, it's not enough for sinners to sin; they found fellowships of sinners and seek the approbation of their sin from legislative agencies. Toleration morphs smoothly, almost imperceptibly, into enforcement.
The Catechism teaches that homosexual acts are "acts of grave depravity" and are "intrinsically disordered" (#2357). They are "contrary to the natural law" and "under no circumstances can they be approved." Why then should anyone be surprised when the Church rejects a declaration that ultimately aims to give legal sanction to that which can never be approved, that gives international legal status to that which is contrary to the natural law? Whose reasoning is really "mad" and "grotesque"?
France is known fondly as the Catholic Church's "eldest daughter." Yet this once-favored child still counsels her sisters into rebellion against Holy Mother Church. And so it is fitting that among the nations of the Old World only the Vatican raises her lonely voice against the enshrinement of immorality into law and as a result becomes the target of public scorn and ridicule. Jesus warned His disciples that they would be despised by all nations for His name's sake, that inasmuch as the world hates His Church, it hates Him all the more.
"And this is the condemnation, that the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, lest his deeds should be reproved" (Jn. 3:19-20).
DOSSIER: Homosexuality & the Homosexual Rights Movement