The Pope on Gender


by Sid (Faisal)
24th December, 2008 at 1:51 pm    

Heard the one about the pope and the hijra? No, I haven’t either. The Pontiff however has very strong opinions on gender roles and transexualism as he expressed in his end-of-year address.

“Rainforests deserve, yes, our protection, but the human being … does not deserve it less,” the pontiff said.

It is not “out-of-date metaphysics” to “speak of human nature as ‘man’ or woman’”, he told scores of prelates gathered in the Vatican’s sumptuous Clementine Hall.

“We need something like human ecology, meant in the right way.”

The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage. It teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are.

Which means that the Catholic church regards transexuals as sinners, thus adding its considerable weight to the body of hate-mongering sentiment that transexual and transgender folk are victim to. Not surprisingly, his comments have provoked widespread criticism. This all depends on how you interpret his statement of course. From the Guardian:

Italian newspapers widely interpreted the speech as a specific attack on sex change operations. “I would like an audience with the pope and other transgenders in order to get to know each other,” said Vladimir Luxuria, a transsexual former member of the Italian parliament. “We do not want to be transgressive or provoke, we only want to pursue our own nature.”

Benedict’s main target appeared to be same-sex marriages. He claimed that lifelong wedlock between a man and a woman was like “the sacrament of creation”.

Here’s one interpretation, straight from the Vatican:

Father Lombardi insisted, however, that there had been an overreaction to the pope’s remarks. “He was speaking more generally about gender theories which overlook the fundamental difference in creation between men and women and focus instead on cultural conditioning.”

What do you think “cultural conditioning” means to a hijra? And what indeed do they think of the pope? A repressed ex-Nazi? Very possibly.


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Filed in: 'Honour'-based violence,Sex equality






23 Comments below   |  

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  1. Katy Newton — on 24th December, 2008 at 2:14 pm  

    Good post, Sid.

    Iain Dale also has a good post up about this here.

  2. Rumbold — on 24th December, 2008 at 2:21 pm  

    Are people who attack homosexuals/transsexuals repressed? Possibly. But more likely they are just bigots. Maybe His Holiness is angling for a Stonewall award by attacking transsexuals.

  3. Sid — on 24th December, 2008 at 2:39 pm  

    Perhaps the pope gets all his ideas on TS and TG folk from Julie Bindel, who knows.

  4. Rumbold — on 24th December, 2008 at 2:41 pm  

    He strikes me as someone who reads Cif (formerly Jif).

  5. Amrit — on 24th December, 2008 at 3:50 pm  

    ‘He strikes me as someone who reads Cif (formerly Jif).’

    Oi, there are plenty of sensible people on Cif too, you know *coughs and looks in the direction of Sunny, Nesrine et al*

    ‘“He was speaking more generally about gender theories which overlook the fundamental difference in creation between men and women and focus instead on cultural conditioning.”’

    LOL. In short, he likes women to be women and men to be men. Never mind that that means fuck-all! I quote myself: ‘life is not fixed and stable as we would like it to be, but fluid and perpetually in flux. Sex and gender are a part of life and are thus equally subject to change.’

    I’m not sure what the hell ‘cultural conditioning’ has to do with a boy who’s felt that he was in the wrong body since he was 5 years old, for example.

    Same shit, new polish from the CC’s head cheese. :-D Hey Benny, it’s Christmas. Chill the fuck out, and have a read of this:

    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/environment/pope-calls-for-cap-on-gay-emissions-200812231477/

  6. Katy Newton — on 24th December, 2008 at 4:03 pm  

    Well, I have recently begun to wonder about the repression thing. This whole line of “you just have to resist temptation” is ridiculous. It’s not as if straight people repress their urges, is it? I’ve never been tempted by the opposite sex, because it’s just not part of my makeup, but I do want a boyfriend (goodbye feminist credentials). I assume that if I was attracted to women I’d want a girlfriend in the same way, and I don’t think it would be easy not to think about it. So when it comes to people like the Pope pounding the table and calling upon homosexuals to resist temptation, I can only assume one of two things:

    (a) They actually find their own gender extremely attractive, spend their entire lives struggling against it either out of religious feeling or out of a fear of social censure, and therefore expect everyone else to do the same, or

    (b) They are as straight as a die, have no trouble resisting the opposite sex, and don’t take homosexuality seriously enough to understand that a gay person’s urge to have sex with someone of their own gender is as strong and primal as a straight person’s urge to have sex with a member of the opposite gender.

    I can’t pretend to understand it. The world would be a much better place if people minded their own business when it comes to other people’s sex lives.

  7. Indrak — on 24th December, 2008 at 4:34 pm  

    #6:
    entering into regions…

    -We are as moths to a flame, that is the kernal I believe for a materialist, flame not to be anulled;
    whereas fro the idealist..

    -that’s the nub, should like to expound, but off to the garage now for our christmas party.

  8. Ala — on 24th December, 2008 at 4:35 pm  

    How does the Pope account for Hermaphrodites? Not everything is black and white, male and female, and there’s plenty of evidence in nature for this: asexual reproduction etc. I know Islam likes this kind of binary reduction when the Quran says, ‘we created everything in pairs’. This is why religious folk fear the blurring of these antipodes, as it would result in the collapse of their society by messing up the gender hierarchy. I personally want to apply a blazing torch to this hierarchy.

  9. David — on 24th December, 2008 at 4:52 pm  

    This whole line of “you just have to resist temptation” is ridiculous.

    It certainly is, but celibacy is venerated by the catholic church. Pity that its own clergy can’t live up to its own ideal; still their clamping down on vow breakers now, but then lawsuits do focus the mind somewhat.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7700710.stm

  10. persephone — on 24th December, 2008 at 5:21 pm  

    david @ 9 That link was interesting – I especially would like to know what the test means by priests having a “positive and stable sense of one’s masculine identity”. i.e. they do not mind wearing dresses to work? :-)

    I have lots of questions about the test:

    If a priest fails the test do they get the opportunity to re-sit it? Or are you banned from the Church forever?

    Has the pope taken the test?

    Will the church, in the UK, publicise test results as part of the freedom of information?

  11. MixTogether — on 24th December, 2008 at 5:50 pm  

    Heading off shortly for the festive season with my future deshi in-laws.

    Since this seems to be the closest PP will get to a seasonal post, Happy Christmas from the MixTogether crew!

  12. Sid — on 24th December, 2008 at 5:52 pm  

    I wonder if the pope thinks any of his prelates are hot?

  13. Dr Shaaz Mahboob — on 24th December, 2008 at 7:00 pm  

    It really shouldn’t matter what the Pope or a Fatwa-prone Mullah says about Gays, Lesbians, Transgender persons etc. What does really matter is how their views are taken in by their followers and how they impact on the relations between people who are considered “normal” and those according to the Church and other organised religions are “abnormal” and “sinners”…

    Therefore, the responsibility upon these religious leaders is immense since their thoughts might prompt others to act in a certain manner, which unfortunately can be quite disruptive to the social fabric of the communities we cohabit.

    People should be and are free to act upon their conscience and their natural tendencies, as long as they are not beyond the boundaries of law, nor should it influence public policies in a manner which discriminates against people of a certain “category” and definitely not put them at risk of harm and social alienation.

  14. Indrak — on 24th December, 2008 at 10:14 pm  

    To be serious, how this is taken as serious unless damning is perplexing at best. Certain people would do well to acquaint themselves with the Opus Dei affiliations of, say some recent ex-ministers, ex- so as to minister to their families apparently.

    To the point at hand, it’s probably of greater sense to to have the majority reconfigured as homosexual, with but a eugenic minority to procreate.

  15. DavidMWW — on 24th December, 2008 at 11:59 pm  

    Hey Sid:

    I wonder if the pope thinks any of his prelates are hot?

    You mean like Gorgeous Georg Gaenswein, the pope’s … (ahem)… “right hand” man?

  16. Clairwil — on 25th December, 2008 at 12:07 am  

    Hmm a celibate man who is the head of an all male clergy of virgins hardly sounds like a natural element of ‘human ecology’ himself does he?

  17. Don — on 25th December, 2008 at 12:42 am  

    Merry Christmas.

  18. leon — on 25th December, 2008 at 5:09 am  

    Put simply, the pope can fuck right off. A former nazi who can’t fuck has no right to be telling me or anyone who we can or cannot fuck.

  19. Desi Italiana — on 25th December, 2008 at 8:37 am  

    Dr. Mahboob:

    “What does really matter is how their views are taken in by their followers and how they impact on the relations between people who are considered “normal” and those according to the Church and other organised religions are “abnormal” and “sinners”…”

    Totally agree. The Pope can sputter his inanities all he wants, but what’s even more important is how many people toe his line. Politics in heavily Catholic countries (either historically, culturally, or in name) like Italy and Spain have a ways to go w/r/t gay rights, but I would say that tolerance outweighs intolerance in terms of the general population (though Spain did witness some outcry from certain segments of the population when Zappatero legalized gay marriage.)

    “People should be and are free to act upon their conscience and their natural tendencies, as long as they are not beyond the boundaries of law,”

    Problem is that homosexuality is actually against the law in some places, so I would not place such an undue emphasis on staying within the parameters of the law if the law itself is unjust.

  20. Munir — on 25th December, 2008 at 9:13 am  

    The funny thing is when the Pope was attacking Muslims a couple of years back he was everyone’s darling and they were on his side. Now he’s attacked an in group (gays) he’s a bad guy.

    The hypocrisy is comical

  21. graylion — on 25th December, 2008 at 10:21 am  

    Well, if Father Lombardi is correct then Ratzinger was on about emancipation and the evils thereof. He seems to want Kinder, Küche, Kirche.

    And Munir: read up on that statement about Islam. He was rather making the opposite point and his statements were taken out of context.

  22. fug — on 25th December, 2008 at 11:07 am  

    allow the pope. President Ahmedinejad is giving the alternative Channel 4 Christmas address.

    Almost enough to make me want to switch over from Press TV

  23. persephone — on 27th December, 2008 at 6:50 pm  

    why is it that (professional) non fornicators put it upon themselves to preach on how & with whom to fornicate?

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