Pope Benedict’s Final Address To The Roman Curia And The Decline Of Western Civilization -- By: Denny Burk

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 18:1 (Spring 2013)
Article: Pope Benedict’s Final Address To The Roman Curia And The Decline Of Western Civilization
Author: Denny Burk

Pope Benedict’s Final Address To The Roman Curia And The Decline Of Western Civilization

Denny Burk

Editor, Journal for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

Boyce College

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Louisville, Kentucky

The Pope’s annual address to the Roman Curia has been dubbed “The State of the Union” for the Roman Catholic Church. These speeches are not necessarily big media events, but Pope Benedict XVI’s final address turned out to be a headline-grabbing speech—for all the right reasons.

News reports and punditry focused most of their attention on the speech’s implications for gay marriage—namely that the Pope opposes same-sex unions of any kind. Nevertheless, the focus on the legal question of gay marriage is a rather shallow analysis of the speech. Make no mistake. The Pope’s words are nothing less than a broadside against any notion of same-sex marriage. But what he said actually goes much deeper than that.

He argues that there is a “crisis” threatening the very foundations of the family in the western world. The crisis is not merely about a particular social construct, but about what it means to be “authentically human.” The family is in crisis because mankind in the Western world has forgotten what it means to be created in the image of God as male and female. The Pope takes on not merely homosexual marriage, but the entire foundation of modern gender theory—the idea that gender is something that you choose, not something that you are. I think it’s worth quoting him at length on this point:

The very notion of being—of what being human really means—is being called into question… According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature,

given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is ...

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