Reports of Benedict’s remarks yesterday were pretty clear: that he described abortion and gay marriage as “insidious2 threats” to society. I know from previous press fusses, that there is often a disjunction between his words, and the reports. This is why I delayed before commenting., and then responded only indirectly.
I have now found what appears to be the full text of his remarks to the pastoral care organizations, and guess what? He does not mention gay marriage – not directly:
I express my deep appreciation for all those social and pastoral initiatives aimed at combating the socio-economic and cultural mechanisms which lead to abortion, and are openly concerned to defend life and to promote the reconciliation and healing of those harmed by the tragedy of abortion. Initiatives aimed at protecting the essential and primary values of life, beginning at conception, and of the family based on the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, help to respond to some of today’s most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good. Such initiatives represent, alongside numerous other forms of commitment, essential elements in the building of the civilization of love.
Yes, there is an indirect implicit attack on gay marriage: the “initiatives” to protect the family presumably include those aimed at preventing gay marriage. However, it is a mistake to conclude that these words have said that gay marriage is itself an “insidious threat”. That may have been the intent, but it is not what was said.
If I misrepresented his words in my earlier posts, I apologise.