Benedict XVI: “A fundamental criterion is gone.”


The legalization of same-sex marriage in many countries is “a distortion of conscience,” according to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. In a new anthology of his writings on Europe, Benedict XVI stated that “the issue of marriage and family has taken on a new dimension that cannot be ignored.”

A distortion of conscience has clearly penetrated sectors of the Catholic people, the emeritus pope wrote. “No amount of moralism or exegetical reference can answer this. The issue is deeper and must be addressed fundamentally.” The introduction, written for the Italian book “The Real Europe: Identity and Mission,” appeared in “Il Foglio” on September 16.

The book includes texts from Benedict XVI written before and during his pontificate, which lasted from 2005 to 2013. In the preface pope Francis explains, “beyond words and lofty declarations, today in Europe the very idea of respect for every human life is increasingly lost, beginning with the loss of awareness of its sacredness, that is, precisely beginning with the obscuring of consciousness that we are creatures of God.” “Benedict XVI does not hesitate to denounce, with great courage and foresight, the many manifestations of this dramatic renunciation of the idea of creation, up to the current, final consequences.”

That same-sex marriage is “in contradiction with all the cultures of humanity that have followed one another up to now” is what Benedict XVI said in his introduction. He noted that different cultures have different legal and moral conceptions of marriage and family, as evidenced by the profound differences between polygamy and monogamy. “The basic community has never questioned that the existence of human beings in their male and female forms is ordered to procreation,” he said.

To date, humanity has known that mankind exists as male and female, that the task of transmitting life is assigned to mankind, that the community of male and female serves this task, and that marriage is fundamentally based on this original certainty.

For the pope emeritus, the contraceptive pill’s ability to separate fertility from sexuality was the catalyst for fundamental change. This separation means that all forms of sexuality are equivalent, he said. “A fundamental criterion is gone.”