GAY rights campaigners in Britain have hit out at controversial comments by Pope Benedict XVI, accusing him of homophobia and saying his remarks encouraged attacks on gay people.
In his end-of-year speech at the Vatican, the Pope denounced gender theory, saying it blurred the distinction between male and female, and called for "an ecology of the human being" to protect mankind "from his own destruction".
Campaigners including some priests from the Church of England have taken this as an attack on homosexuality. Reverend Sharon Ferguson, chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, said the Catholic leader's comments were "totally irresponsible and unacceptable in any shape or form.
"When you have religious leaders like that making that sort of statement, then followers feel they are justified in behaving in an aggressive and violent way because they feel that they are doing God's work in ridding the world of these people," she said.
Reverend Doctor Giles Fraser, president of pro-gay Anglican movement the Inclusive Church and vicar of a parish in London, said: "The Pope is spreading fear that gay people somehow threaten the planet. And that's just absurd.
"As always, this sort of religious homophobia will be an alibi for all those who would do gay people harm. Can't he think of something better to say at Christmas?" And rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said that the Pope had "lost his moral bearings" by choosing to focus on homosexuality instead of issues like hunger, war and homelessness.
Gender theory explores how society designates fixed roles to people based on their gender and many gay groups see it as helpful to improving tolerance and understanding. The Catholic Church has repeatedly spoken against it. (December 24, 2008 , Article from: Agence France-Presse )
Merry Christmas again to that very holy Pope!