I really should learn to ignore Andrew Brown and his nonsense articles in the Guardian. But that’s hard to do, because, really, he keeps opening his mouth and shoving his foot in it in public, and that’s hard to ignore. One of his latest is a defence of the pope. I don’t think there’s any excuse at all for Pope Ratzinger, so when Brown tries to tell me that the pope didn’t say something that he did say — something that is offensive and stupidly prejudiced to boot — I find myself, almost as though it were a reflex, writing my response to the nonsense. Whether Brown recognises that what he says is stupid, or whether he just thinks lying in public is a great thing to do — who knows? Since he does it all the time, perhaps it’s an obsessive-compulsive thing, but still, since the Guardian will go on publishing him, his idiocies need to be rebutted. Here’s the latest.
In an address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See (typing that itself is enough, almost, to cause me to lose my breakfast), Pope Ratzinger said this:
Among these [he's talking about the place of "settings" in the education of children], pride of place goes to the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman. This is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself.
You can read the whole, frighteningly pompous and presumptuous piece of pontificating here in Vatican black and gold.
In response to this, Andrew Brown, unbeliever, we are to understand, to his fingertips, says this:
So far as I can see, Pope Benedict just didn’t. He did speak in favour of the family “based on the marriage of a man and woman”. He did say that “policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself”. But there was no suggestion that gay marriage was the most important of these and he didn’t mention it at all, whereas he did take up several other sexual issues.
Can’t the man read? No, the pope doesn’t mention gay marriage at all, but he does speak about “policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself,” in a context where the heterosexual family — as the place where education for the future is to take place – that is, the restriction of marriage to a man and a woman (and the issue of that relationship), is the issue, and we know, from what the bishops in New York were up to recently (as the most salient recent case that I can think of), that when Roman Catholics say this, what they’re saying is that the very idea of gay marriage undermines the family, threatens human dignity, and the places the future of humanity itself in danger. Does Brown need to have this spelled out to him, or can he simply not read?