Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dear Pope Ratz:

[Update 29/12/08]
I see that the wingnuts heard the Pope's 'dog whistle' all too well:

Unless we "listen to the language of creation" he said, we end up with "destruction of the work of God." The Pope suggested that the gender ideology which seeks to redefine the sexes to allow for homosexuality, transgenderism and such things are examples of mankind separating himself "from creation and the Creator.


I believe this makes my point for me.
[/Update]
There are some subjects where it's painfully obvious that you have no idea what you are talking about.

In this case, the subject is transsexualism.

Without actually using the word, Benedict took a subtle swipe at those who might undergo sex-change operations or otherwise attempt to alter their God-given gender. Defend "the nature of man against its manipulation," Benedict told the priests, bishops and cardinals gathered Monday in the ornate Clementine hall. "The Church speaks of the human being as man and woman, and asks that this order is respected." The Pope again denounced the contemporary idea that gender is a malleable definition. That path, he said, leads to a "self-emancipation of man from creation and the Creator.


So just what does the Pope think about people with various Intersex conditions - or has the Vatican given them some kind of a special dispensation? For that matter, the Pope has no idea whether or not transsexuality is a perfectly normal (if rare) aspect of human experience.

His selective condemnation is based on a highly debatable understanding of "natural law" - it is one that assumes that the inner person is defined by their outer appearance. As we all know, it is folly to 'judge a book by its cover', and for this Pope to condemn an entire class of people on the basis that "god-given gender" is fixed and immutable is deeply problematic. How does this Pope claim know what goes on inside the heads of someone who is transsexual? How does he know that a 'female soul' did not wind up in a male body (or vice versa)? The fact is that he doesn't.

For him to claim that 'God doesn't make mistakes' is ridiculous, for one only has to turn to the physically intersexed and realize that such a claim is ludicrous. For the Pope to claim that gender is "immutable" is to claim that it resides only in the genitalia, and yet we know that so much more of the human experience - social, sexual and romantic takes place between the ears - which other than what someone finds a way to express in words or actions is largely inscrutable. There is also a small, but growing body of evidence that suggests that there are physical as well as psychological factors at play with transsexuals.

In short, Pope Ratzinger knows not what he speaks of, and has proven to the world that he is truly a fool for opening his mouth. He would do far better for the world to focus his attentions on the horrors in Africa, rather than spouting off about identities that he is so clearly ignorant of.

2 comments :

Cardinal Pole said...

"In this case, the subject is transsexualism."

Actually, it's "That which is often expressed and understood by the term 'gender'". See the Vatican Information Service's transcript.

"For that matter, the Pope has no idea whether or not transsexuality is a perfectly normal (if rare) aspect of human experience"

All sorts of rare things might happen to be part of human experience. That doesn't make them normal.

"His selective condemnation is based on a highly debatable understanding of "natural law" ..."

Believe it or not, but there are still some people who would argue that the notion that "humanity creates morality" is also debatable. And if 'gender identity theory' is truly a theory then I'm not sure why its proponents become so enraged when someone dares to question it.

" ... it is one that assumes that the inner person is defined by their outer appearance."

???????? The Blessed Sacrament's appearance does not define Its substance. Our Lord's human nature does not exclusively define His "inner person".

"for this Pope to condemn an entire class of people ..."

??????????? Where did he do that? All His Holiness has done is to challenge "That which is often expressed and understood by the term 'gender'".

"How does this Pope claim know what goes on inside the heads of someone who is transsexual?"

I'll give my question mark key a rest and simply ask: where did he say that he did?

"How does he know that a 'female soul' did not wind up in a male body ..."

Sex is not in the soul, so His Holiness can pretty confidently draw that conclusion.

"For him to claim that 'God doesn't make mistakes' is ridiculous ..."

God permits some evils in order to avert greater evils or procure greater goods. He does not make mistakes though.

"For the Pope to claim that gender is "immutable" is to claim that it resides only in the genitalia"

Again, he does not appear to have made any such claim. Obviously, people are capable of disfiguring or excising their genitalia, so that would be a pretty unstable base from which to argue for the immutability of sex.

"In short, Pope Ratzinger knows not what he speaks of ..."

O physician, heal thyself.

"He would do far better for the world to focus his attentions on the horrors in Africa ..."

That's exactly what he did in his Urbi et Orbi address. Like he does every year. As one would expect, since the Urbi et Orbi address is usually much better publicised than the end-of-year address to the Curia:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/12/25/2455096.htm

MgS said...

Actually, it's "That which is often expressed and understood by the term 'gender'". See the Vatican Information Service's transcript.

It still doesn't change my interpretation of what the Pope said - and it's disappointingly trans-hostile.

Vatican Information Service Summary: "It is necessary to have something like an ecology of the human being, understood in the proper manner. It is not a surpassed metaphysics when Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and demands that this order of creation be respected."

When put in the context of past utterances from the Vatican about transsexualism, it's not hard to see that the Pope's words are inherently hostile to transsexuals in particular.

That doesn't make them normal.

But it doesn't make them wrong, either.

Believe it or not, but there are still some people who would argue that the notion that "humanity creates morality" is also debatable.

Ooooh. Nice try - but you haven't refuted the point I made quite a long time ago, either.

Sex is not in the soul, so His Holiness can pretty confidently draw that conclusion.

So sex is gender? Try again. There are a lot of people who do not fit into gender norms - socially or psychologically, even though their physical sex appears perfectly normal. (and, just for giggles, let's not ignore the existence of intersex people in the world)

God permits some evils in order to avert greater evils or procure greater goods. He does not make mistakes though.

Right. Tell that to someone who is living a life of abject poverty because they look a little different, or some birth defect makes it impossible for them to work in our world.

I'm not sure why its proponents become so enraged when someone dares to question it.

Question is one thing, dismissing the narratives of entire populations is another. There is a very real humanity moment here, where people look and say "wait a minute, that's saying I'm invalid" - what do you expect?

Challenge it with facts, evidence and intelligible arguments, not idiotic sophistry about the "immutability of gender".