From Reuters today: VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said on Monday that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction. "(The Church) should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed," the pontiff said in a holiday address to the Curia, the Vatican’s central administration. "The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less." ... The pope said humanity needed to "listen to the language of creation" to understand the intended roles of man and woman. He compared behaviour beyond traditional heterosexual relations as "a destruction of God’s work". -- Reuters
The Reuters story has a misleading headline: "Pope likens ’saving’ gays to saving the rainforest." But it is humanity, says the pope, that requires "saving" from homosexuality.
Here is John Thavis, the superb CNS reporter, on the same story:
[T]he pope said, the church’s teaching on ecology needs to be understood as arising from God -- the "creator Spirit" -- who made the earth and its creatures with an "intelligent structure" that demands respect. Because of faith, the church has a responsibility for protecting the created world and for proclaiming publicly this environmental responsibility, he said.
The pope then explained why the human being must be at the center of the church’s ecological concern.
"The church must protect not only the earth, the water and the air as gifts of creation that belong to everyone. It must also protect man against self-destruction," he said. "The tropical forests certainly deserve our protection, but man as a creature does not deserve any less."
By "self-destruction," the pope said he meant "contempt for the Creator," and he said examples could be found in so-called "gender" issues today. He offered a case in point: Marriage as a permanent union between a man and a woman was something instituted by God as "the sacrament of creation."
Although the pope didn’t specifically talk about same-sex marriage, the meaning was clear enough to prompt some unusual headlines about rain forests and homosexuals. --CNS
James Martin, SJ