And so, the anti-gay rants emanating from the Catholic quarters begin again. In his wisdom the new Bishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia has decided to suggest that the premature death of gay Labour MP David Cairns could be related to his sexual orientation. As a good colleague of mine would say, Oh Dear!
Politically incorrect as they may be, I have to admit that while some in the press have gone into overdrive after coming across Bishop Tartaglia's comments, they have not surprised me a tiny bit.
Bishop Tartaglia represents, after all, an institution that until 20 years ago had failed to apologise for its active participation for centuries in the enslaving and exploitation of people across the world. During those centuries, the Catholic Church not only condoned but also participated in the trafficking of human beings, owned quite a few of them, exploited their work as they saw fit, and punished them when they failed to fulfill their tasks.
I say I am not surprised because while the Catholic Church was okay with the traffic of human beings and the exploitation of their work to produce profits, it was never okay with the possibility that people of the same sex could fall in love or have intimate relationships with one another. In simple words, these holy men believed that to their God slavery and human trafficking were acceptable, while homosexuality was a terrible sin.
And of course, they had their excuses to get away with this set of questionable moral values. To start with, to them gay people were mentally and/or physically ill, or worse, they could also be possessed by demons and the like.
Even today you wouldn't struggle to find Catholic priests -and for what is worth protestant ministers too- who in their self-righteous and ignorant perspective of the world, continue to practice exorcisms on gay men and women with the clear intention of "healing" them by expelling these demons out of their bodies. No need to tell here that they can do so because their churches actively believe and preach that homosexuality is a disorder, contrary to natural law and sinful.
I do, however, have to admit that in the midst of this ethereal and deranged view of the world, they have progressed a little bit over the past 200 years. At least now, those deemed to be "ill" or "possessed" are not tortured by faith tribunals and condemned to die on the stake for showing such ungodly behaviours.
Although these improvements are obvious for all to see, we should not be tricked into thinking that this evolution was a willing one. If anything the leaders of Catholic Church resisted practically every humanistic development for the past 200 years, including some coming from within its own ranks. Since the Enlightenment came along in the eighteenth century they have been fighting a losing battle against the forces of progress, science and secularisation.
Bishop Tartaglia's remarks, as those recently made by Cardinal O'Brian comparing same-sex marriage with slavery, are a timely reminder of why it is necessary to continue to build a secularised world where bigot and sexist discriminatory positions as theirs are vanished for good.
Tartaglia, O'Brian, and their pawns should probably concentrate on their own religious matters, and stop trying to force their obsolete, distorted and ill-informed conceptions of the world upon society. More importantly, they should to start showing some respect and some down-to-earth Christian love (as that radiating from the teachings of Jesus Christ) for those whose sexual orientation fails to match their own expectations.