Editor's Note: This column was co-authored by Bob Morrison.
Much of the Internet exploded in wrath over Pope Benedict XVI’s Christmas greetings to the Roman curia. Delivered in those historic halls painted by Renaissance artists, the Pope’s address was given to those tasked with administering the Vatican State and serving the Catholic faithful worldwide.
“Rant!” “Hateful!” “Outrageous!” These were some of the milder expletives cast at the Pope—the ones we didn’t have to delete. This storm of abuse arose because of a papal statement extolling marriage and the natural family.
Let us carefully note what is happening here. The acknowledged leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics is speaking to his brother priests about the essentials of the Roman Catholic faith. He is speaking in a forum recognized to be the sovereign territory of a city-state, known to Catholics as the Holy See.
Even so, even within these walls, the Pope is not free from abuse, much of it obscene. Those who think they can retreat behind their church walls in America, in France, in Britain, or anywhere else on earth, and ignore the world outside, need to pay close attention to what is happening to Pope Benedict XVI’s Christmas message to his brethren.
Leon Trotsky, that old Bolshevik revolutionary, had a point: “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” And here we see it. There is a worldwide reaction—from the U.S. and Canada to Australia and Europe—against what the Pope said. There is a virtual war declared against the 85-year old Pontiff’s words.
Even those who claim to be Catholic have taken the occasion to denounce Pope Benedict’s thoughts.
What are those thoughts that provoke such a violent reaction? He asked pertinent questions:
Does man become himself by living for himself alone and only entering into relationships with others when he can break them off again at any time? Is lifelong commitment antithetical to human freedom?
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