In a reference critical to gay marriage, Pope Francis on Friday warned against an ideological colonization of the family, during his five-day visit to the Philippines, Asia’s most Catholic country.
At a rally for families in the country’s capital of Manila, the popular pontiff spoke of an “ideological colonization that we have to be careful about that is trying to destroy the family,” the pope said through a translator. Many people understood his remarks as a reference to same-sex marriage.
“The family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life,” Francis said at a Mass in Manila. “These realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces, which threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation.” Read more.
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Although Pope Francis is speaking of numerous forces that undermine or reinterpret the traditional institution of marriage, the fact remains that an ‘ideological colonization’ which can ‘disfigure God’s plan for creation’ by redefining ‘the very nature of marriage’ obviously includes same-sex marriages. The pope is well and truly pastoral towards queer persons in many respects, but he obviously still needs to speak ex officio against homosexuality in any and every form. He is, at the end of the day, subject to existing systemic forces and arrangements. I am not insisting that the pope approves of same-sex marriage, especially because such approval does not need to be solicited by persons who are already guided by love, justice, egalitarianism and mutuality, both personally and communally, to commit to each other. Rather, I would have liked to hear an openness to greater dialogue on this issue, as I do on issues pertaining to wo/men’s bodies, abortions, contraception, women’s ordination and married priests.
– Joseph N. Goh
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