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Rome retreats into fundamentalism

It is clear that the Vatican is fiercely opposed to the claims of gay people for the recognition of their sexual identity (The Age, 1/8). Indeed, its statement revives the old-time homophobic attributes of "depraved" and "deviant" _ although of course it does contain the usual ritual (and may I suggest somewhat hypocritical) disapproval of discrimination etc.

Of course, this fundamental attitude is precisely what encourages and legitimises discrimination and persecution in the Catholic Church and elsewhere; it remains one of the major engines for homophobia throughout the world.

Further, the assumption that the church can direct Catholic politicians, under pain of sin, as to how they vote in the exercise of their public office in the interests of all citizens is repellent and would be rejected by most Australians as a preposterous presumption in the 21st century.

The Catholic Church, particularly in the West, is withdrawing into a fundamentalist fortress. The spirit and promise of the Second Vatican Council has been effectively destroyed. The Vatican cares nothing for open discussion and the views of liberal Catholics. Indeed, it gives the impression that it would rather see those people take their concerns elsewhere. It encourages fundamentalist groups, and looks forward to its future support coming from the Third World.

To say the very least, religious fundamentalism _ whether Christian, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, etc _ has made a pretty dubious contribution to the welfare of mankind.

David McKenna