So far I've failed on my resolution to start holding you accountable for my goals. I'm going to try that for the new year. But alas, I digress...
Pope Benedict XVI went on a tirade against same-sex marriages again last Friday. In his annual Christmas message, the pontiff called same-sex marriages a "manipulation of nature" to be deplored and claimed that they are destroying the very "essence of the human creature."
Those of you who know me know that I was born to two Roman Catholic parents, and that I practiced in that faith for years - until I was about 25 years old. One thing that's always struck me, looking back, is how controlling the pope's views are. I must admit that the lack of a pope in the Episcopal church was one of the major reasons for my shift in denominations.
Nothing puts the Christ back into Christmas like attacking gay people! There's no greater challenge to "Peace on Earth, Good Will to All" than the gay couple living next door, is there? At a time when Catholic bishops are being convicted for concealing sexual predators and church membership is in worldwide decline, why is the Pope focusing on attributes like sexuality, when we are all made in the likeness of God? Many people probably think that I want the Catholic church to fail, that each of us would like to see our neighboring congregations shrink and become unhealthy so that our membership will increase. I see it differently - I want my neighbors to succeed and become strong so that we can all share the Good News together.
My main prayer for this Christmas season is for world peace, just like Gracie Lou Freebush in Miss Congeniality. But high on my list is for the Roman Catholic church to be silent on gay marriage, and to take the time to clean and address the internal problems they face - a clerical shortage, a mass disillusionment with the established religion, a lack of women in the hierarchy, and a critical failure to protect children from sexual predators. Take care of these problems, your Holiness, and then address world poverty.
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. Share the Good News with your families, friends, neighbors, and even strangers. May you each be blessed and have a peaceful Christmastide!