Saturday, 25 July 2015

Ideological colonisation?

During his visit to the Philippines in January, Pope Francis warned against an "ideological colonisation" of the family - Pope says "ideological colonisation" threatens traditional family.
Pope Francis on Friday warned against an "ideological colonisation of the family," a reference to gay marriage around the world and to a heated debate in the Philippines about a government population control plan.
The Pope made his impromptu comments at rally for families in Manila on a day that began with an appeal to the government to tackle corruption and hear the cries of the poor suffering from "scandalous social inequalities" in Asia's most Catholic country.
It is interesting in this context to watch Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta's response to  US President Barack Obama's comments on gay rights, during a press conference. It can be found in the second embedded clip of the BBC News report: Kenya: Trials would aid fight against corruption - Obama. (There is a certain disingenuity in President Obama's reference to "love", the term "love" here being typically undefined).

More recently, President Obama urged world leaders to heed Pope Francis' call in Laudato Si for action on climate change: Obama calls for world leaders to heed Pope Francis’s message.
“We have a profound responsibility to protect our children, and our children’s children, from the damaging impacts of climate change.”
But Laudato Si, n.155, reads as follows (emphasis added):
Human ecology also implies another profound reality: the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature and is necessary for the creation of a more dignified environment. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of an “ecology of man”, based on the fact that “man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will”. It is enough to recognize that our body itself establishes us in a direct relationship with the environment and with other living beings. The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation. Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology. Also, valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different. In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment. It is not a healthy attitude which would seek “to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it”.
A reference from this paragraph refers to Pope Francis' General Audience catechesis of 15th April 2015, during which Pope Francis discussed the significance of the "alliance between man and woman":
God entrusted the earth to the alliance between man and woman: its failure deprives the earth of warmth and darkens the sky of hope. The signs are already worrisome, and we see them. I would like to indicate, among many others, two points that I believe call for urgent attention.
The first. There is no doubt that we must do far more to advance women, if we want to give more strength to the reciprocity between man and woman. In fact, it is necessary that woman not only be listened to more, but that her voice carry real weight, a recognized authority in society and in the Church. .....
A second reflection concerns the topic of man and woman created in the image of God. I wonder if the crisis of collective trust in God, which does us so much harm, and makes us pale with resignation, incredulity and cynicism, is not also connected to the crisis of the alliance between man and woman. In fact the biblical account, with the great symbolic fresco depicting the earthly paradise and original sin, tells us in fact that the communion with God is reflected in the communion of the human couple and the loss of trust in the heavenly Father generates division and conflict between man and woman.
Across all three - President Obama, President Kenyatta and Pope Francis - there is an intriguing similarity of themes, but also a striking difference.

President Kenyatta appears to have articulated a very competent resistance to the colonisation of the culture of his country by an issue that is not foremost in the minds of its citizens.

[Whilst decriminalisation of homosexual activity might well be a step that the Catholic Church would consider desirable, I think we should recognise that the agenda represented by President Obama's remarks goes further than that.]

No comments: