Title: THE VATICAN'S MEDIEVAL DICTUM Vatican issues medieval dictum on lesbians, gays By L
Title: THE VATICAN'S MEDIEVAL DICTUM
Vatican issues medieval dictum on lesbians, gays
By Leslie Feinberg
The Vatican issued a letter on July 23 intended to rally U.S. bishops to
actively block lesbians and gay men from winning basic civil rights or
domestic-partner benefits. In classic double-speak, the letter claimed that
laws barring lesbians and gay men from adopting children, working as teachers
or joining the military are not "unjust discrimination."
By what authority do the cardinals rally the wealth and power of the church
apparatus to stymie the fight for elementary social justice? Was it a voice
from on high? Or is it a struggle launched from a much lower altitude?
The letter was circulated by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of
Faith--the actual historic successor to the Inquisition. Today they are not
land-owners in crimson robes, as they were under feudalism. They are bankers
in clerical garb, inextricably tied to monopoly capitalism.
The wealth of this institution is staggering. A decade ago Fortune magazine
reported that the church's assets in the U.S. alone were more than three times
that of AT&T.
The new Vatican directive to U.S. bishops is consistent with the actions of
this vast monied institution as a right-wing, anti-communist spearhead of
reaction. For instance, the U.S.-engineered selection of the current Polish
pope facilitated its pro-imperialist role in the counter-revolutionary
struggle in Eastern Europe.
It's never bothered the papal upper crust that Solidarity leader Lech Walesa
called for the extermination of lesbians and gay men after his
counter-revolutionary clique came to power in Poland.
`An act of hatred'
Catholic supporters of lesbian and gay rights blasted the Vatican's letter
as an "act of hatred." They charge that the church hierarchy is waging a
counter-offensive against the enormous social gains and social enlightenment
the modern lesbian and gay movement has won.
This support was reflected in recent polls that proved church members are
way to the left of the papal brass. A recent Gallup poll showed that 46
percent of Catholics believe same-sex love is "morally acceptable" and 78
percent oppose job discrimination.
The Vatican letter states "there is no right to homosexuality." Says who?
Isn't it an elementary human right for a woman or a man to love someone of the
same sex without suffering persecution as a result?
The letter claims that ending discrimination against lesbians and gay men
may have "a negative impact on the family and society." The system of monopoly
capitalism--which is socially and economically ravaging the nuclear family and
society asunder--is thus offered heavenly absolution.
The Vatican letter does offer a solution for lesbians and gay men who suffer
discrimination in areas such as employment and housing. It "suggests" living
"chaste lives." Those who "do not want or see no reason for their sexual
orientation to become public knowledge" will be relieved of these earthly
Live under the crushing weight of isolation, guilt, shame, fear and threats
of extortion? No thanks. Trying to stuff tens of millions of gay men and
lesbians back into one big closet would only intensify the oppression that the
modern lesbian and gay liberation movement and its supporters are fighting to
Big business as a whole would like to reverse the gains made by the Third
World liberation movements, and the fight for lesbian and gay rights and
reproductive freedom. They are using Vatican edicts and right-wing Protestant
shock troops as political weapons.
But those who are exploited and oppressed are not waiting for pie in the
sky. They are fighting to win justice right here on earth.
(Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint granted if source is
cited. For more info contact Workers World,46 W. 21 St., New York, NY 10010;
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank