By Carlos Alberto Montaner
Pope Francis has created a stir. Everything that has to do with sex and the Catholic Church interests many people. The most read headline affirms that the Argentine “supports civil unions between homosexuals.”
In fact, the support provided by the Supreme Pontiff is very limited. His solidarity doesn’t go beyond “civil unions.” It has to do with inheritances and health insurance. There are places where same-sex couples, even if they have been together for 20 or 30 years, don’t have the right to inherit or receive the usual marital benefits. “It’s more of the same,” a journalist who usually follows the news coming from the Vatican told me.
By no means does the pope defend, as he should, procreation by insemination or adoption by same gender couples, despite that homosexuality is not transmitted by imitating one’s parents, according to a study published by the prestigious American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), integrated by about 8,700 psychiatrists.
The study clearly states, “It is the quality of the parent/child relationship and not the sexual orientation of the parents that influences the child’s development. Contrary to popular belief, children of lesbian, gay or transgender parents do not tend to be more homosexual than children of heterosexual parents.”
The Pope cannot skip this issue, which is central within the institution he heads. There is a certain sector within Catholicism that demands the end of celibacy or a more prominent role for women. Why can’t women be bishops or even popes? If in the diocese of Stockholm Swedish Christians of Lutheran origin were able to elect Eva Brunne, a lesbian “bishop” married to another woman, why does Catholicism remain in such a conservative position?
Catholicism faces a double problem. On one hand, it’s male chauvinistic and on the other, it’s anti-LGTB. Deep down, it doesn’t quite admit that women have the same rights as men. Likewise, lesbians, gays, transsexuals, and bisexuals do not freely decide who they are attracted to, but rather it is something embedded in their own nature, such as being left-handed or red-haired. This trait cannot or should not be eliminated through psychological treatments, much less by more severe methods, as the Nazis or the Castroists did for many years.
On the other hand, there is a very high number of homosexuals who take refuge in an organization that excludes women or grants them a very subordinate role. According to the French journalist Frédéric Martel, in his book In the Closet of the Vatican
, 80% of the clergymen around the Pope in that small city are homosexuals, which leads him to say that “not even the Castro district in San Francisco has so many homosexuals ”. (Martel, by the way, is not homophobic at all since he is openly gay).
Martel doesn’t claim that the percentage of homosexuals among priests and bishops reaches 80%, only those who live in the Vatican. However, he suggests that Benedict XVI, a magnificent theologian, the predecessor of Pope Francis, was homosexual. It will never be known, but perhaps that was one of the reasons of his unexpected resignation from the papacy in 2013. According to this guess, he knew that he had to face the serious problem of homosexuality within the Church and, as he was a serious person, he preferred to exclude himself and resign. He left that task to Francisco. ©Firmas PressCarlos Alberto Montaner is a journalist and writer. Born in 1943 in Cuba and exiled, Montaner is known for his more than 25 books and thousands of articles. PODER magazine estimates that more than six million readers have access to his weekly columns throughout Latin America. He is also a political analyst for CNN en Espanol. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Montaner as one of the fifty most influential intellectuals in the Ibero-American world. His latest novel is A Time for Scoundrels. His latest essay is "The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected." His latest book is Sin ir más lejos (Memories), published by Debate, a label of Penguin-Random House.