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Church and 2012

• Pope Benedict XVI, in a new year address, claimed gay marriage was one of several threats to the traditional family that undermined "the future of humanity itself".

One wonders if the irony is not lost on the ageing pontiff (and his sycophantic minions) that one of the threats to the traditional family that undermines "the future of humanity itself" is clearly the Catholic Church's archaic and dogmatic policy regarding condom use, especially in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Figures from the World Health Organisation show couples using condoms led to an 80pc reduction in HIV/AIDS incidence (Weller & Davis-Beaty, 2007). Such figures can only help keep the family unit together.

Considering the most recent, and still very current, clerical sex-abuse scandals (and subsequent cover-ups) involving children, it would be more than advisable for the most celibate cleric to remain reticent regarding the sex lives of others, and get his own mansion in order first.

Gay marriage has now been legal in the state of New York since June 2011, and it has yet to disappear from the face of the Earth or slide into the Atlantic Ocean under the supposed "threat" of homosexuality.

The disgraceful discrimination shown by Catholic adoption agencies in the UK is yet another example of the church putting dogma and scripture over and above the lives and immediate needs of children. Are we seeing a pattern emerging here? These are not policies "which promote the family and aid social cohesion", as the Pope told invited diplomats.

Moreover, the fact that the Pope would openly, and actively, oppose two people in love seeking to confirm this most natural and obvious union only goes to further illustrate just how out of touch he really is in today's cosmopolitan, enlightened, and, dare I say secular (yes, I dare), 21st-Century world.

Gary J Byrne
IFSC, Dublin 1

Irish Independent