Stuff the Pope’s Personal Theologian Says

LifeSite News, a Canadian-based online news outlet with a heavily Catholic focus on abortion, contraception, and the evil gays, has just released a pair of interviews with Pope Francis’ personal theologian (initially appointed by Benedict XVI), Reverend Wojciech Giertych.

If you’re wondering why the Pope has his own personal theologian, you’re not alone. This is the guy, after all, who’s doing his very best to act as the entire world’s personal theologian. You’d think he’d have enough of a grasp on the doctrines of his own religion to get by without needing a consultant.

Apparently not. Giertych (apparently pronounced like “GEAR-tack”) reads over the speeches other, lesser Vatican staffers write for Pope Francis to deliver, checking them for theological inconsistencies so the Pope doesn’t accidentally say something contrary to Catholic teaching. He’s also the person the Pope consults for theologically sound advice or when he feels like bouncing some ideas off one of his colleagues.

Based on the interview videos LifeSite released, it seems pretty safe to assume that the next really offensive thing the Pope says will probably have gotten the green light from Giertych.

The first video, addressing the worldwide same-sex marriage controversy, is entitled “Treating homosexuals with dignity means telling them the truth.” Pretty obvious trigger warning for homophobia here:

Boy, he sure does love using that word “distort” in all its forms. I bet you could base a pretty decent drinking game on that. More to the point, though, it really lays bare his worldview and lets us know a thing or two about the Vatican’s policy policeman.

  • He believes in some kind of global Gay Agenda. “[Acceptance of LGBT people] is a distortion of humanity which is being proposed as an ideology, which is being supported, financed, promoted by those who are powerful in the world in many, many countries simultaneously. The Church is the only institution in the world which has the courage to stand up to this ideology.” (3:26)
  • He doesn’t think gayness is part of natural human variability. “They have the idea of changing humanity, of changing human nature. Human nature cannot be changed; it can be distorted.” (4:01)
  • He thinks the Catholic Church has a monopoly on ethics. “It’s impossible to promote high ethical standards by the state. The Church may promote high ethical standards because the Church has the grace of Christ, has the living word of God. The state lowers the ethical level to the level of the approval of sinful acts, of perversion, of distortion of humanity.” (4:53)
  • He thinks being gay is linked to abortion and birth control. “[People who become gay] are emotionally fragile because they come from broken families, because contraception and abortion has destroyed families, has generated divorces.” (6:20)
  • He sees protections for LGBT people as ’special’ treatment. “A homosexual is a person who has, to some extent, this homosexual condition. [. . .] whereas a ‘gay’ is somebody who says, ‘I am like this, I will be like this, I want to be treated like this, and I want special privileges because I am like this’.” (8:50)
  • He doesn’t recognize that gay people form loving families. “Homosexual activity of gays who are affirming their identity doesn’t lead to permanent relationships, doesn’t lead to the transmission of life. It is a distortion.” (10:44)
  • He’s not apologizing for Church teaching any time soon. “The Church is saying something very normal and humane, which corresponds to the understanding of humanity which humanity has had for millennia, long before Christ.” (11:09)

And, just because that was so much fun, let’s have another one. This video is called — I kid you not — “On contraception and the coming violence.” It’s a little lighter on homophobia, heavier on misogyny, with a couple shots at ‘the entitled generation’ for good measure. (He blames socialism… and the Pill.)

No real surprises here, but a lot of assumptions you probably don’t want to see spread — at least, not if you’d prefer your access to contraceptives to go unchallenged.

  • He believes sexual pleasure (without baby worries) causes narcissism. “Sexual activity has been created, devised by God, as a way of transmitting life and expressing love [. . .] Contraception separates the transmission of life which it excludes, and then focuses uniquely on the pleasure, which generates as a result egoism.” (1:19)
  • He thinks he knows whether or not your spouse loves you. “It is not possible for a husband to say to his wife, ‘I love you truly’ if at the same time he demands that she poisons in her body the capacity to transmit life, to be a mother.” (2:37)
  • He doesn’t get feminism. “We’re seeing [...] a violent aggressiveness of women who are discovering that they are being abused as a result of contraception, and so their landing in an aggressive feminism, with rage against men.” (3:31)
  • He (like most pro-lifers) can’t tell an embryo or fetus from an actual child. “Contraception is leading to abortion because it treats the potential child as an enemy, and if something goes wrong and a child is conceived then the child is easily aborted.” (3:43)
  • He blames contraception for all the world’s ills, even the global economic crisis. “I think clearly we can see that the economic crisis which we are observing in the western world is a direct consequence of 1968, of the rejection of Humanae Vitae (the encyclical that reiterated the Catholic teaching against contraception).” (5:47)

Sadly, Giertych isn’t the only one with warped views in this video. The interviewer insists that any discussion about assisted suicide is not about easing the suffering of palliative patients, but about getting rid of old people by pressuring them to die, which he insists is current practice in North America and will only become more common as time goes on (5:13). Giertych just accepts his terms and doesn’t contradict him. In his job, ideology trumps reality every time.

About Sara Lin Wilde

Sara Lin Wilde is a recovering Catholic (and cat-holic, for that matter - all typographical errors are the responsibility of her feline friends). She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where she is working on writing a novel that she really, really hopes can actually get published.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    Wait a second, if sexual pleasure causes narcissism, and by definition thinking that you can tell a world of six billion people who to love, and how to love means one is a narcissist, what has he and the pope been doing behind closed doors? I’m pretty sure that “personally theologian” is code a for a job spent kneeing in “prayer” and “kissing the pope’s ring.”

    Adam and Steve

  • Tim

    Some good news from across the pond. Gay marriage has been approved by parliment for England and Wales.
    And the sun is shining. God must approve. (or perhaps he’ll voice his disapproval in an off target way by causing a flood in India or a wildfire in California or something)

    • J-Rex

      I stubbed my toe today. Thanks a lot, gays.

  • Gus Snarp

    Wait, I thought the Pope’s personal theologian was God….

    • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

      Then does God study himself and what he says? Talk about narcissism.

      • Gus Snarp

        Yes, the Christian God is pretty much the ultimate narcissist. I mean he created a whole species of intelligent beings just to worship him.

        • Len

          As long as they don’t actually apply their god-given intelligence.

    • C Peterson

      Wait, I thought the Pope’s personal theologian was God…

      Which is precisely why he needs a backup. For when God isn’t available to answer his questions. Which is quite often, assuming he’s on his meds.

    • JET

      Yes, I was “taught” that the Pope had a hotline directly to God.

    • The Other Weirdo

      What does God need with theology? He is God. What He says simply is. No thought, no consideration, no debate. Apparently God is starting to see a problem in that.

  • Gus Snarp

    I did not know that “gay” was an official noun with a distinct meaning. For the record, whenever anybody uses “gay” as a noun and is not being obviously ironic, it’s because they’re full of hate and are really thinking faggot.

    I also did not know that wanting to be free from discrimination, abuse, and violence and to have your relationship receive the same legal treatment as other relationships was “special treatment”. I thought it was human rights.

  • Tainda

    My parents have been married for almost 50 years and look how I turned out :P Stick that in your pope pipe and smoke it!

    And I am also confused that the pope-ers isn’t the ultimate theologian on earth. Doesn’t he have god’s back phone line?

  • Lee Miller

    Why do religious people always talk funny?

    • Matt D

      I suspect that it’s done intentionally, in order to make listeners strain to hear/understand them, thus giving the impression everything they say is worth hearing.

    • Rain

      They think they are channeling a “holy spirit” or something.

  • Christopher Borum

    Excuse me, but how does sticking your dick into an 8 year old boy’s ass have anything to do with “transmitting life”? I assume there’s some pleasure involved, at least on one side of the equation. Does that make the priest-rapist a narcissist?

    Fucking hypocrite is hypocritical.

    • Len

      It’s OK as long as they don’t use contraceptives

  • GodlessPoutine

    Yey! LifeSiteNews is my regular go-to-site for Canadian neo-con crazy.

    • Tainda

      Every time you comment I want some poutine :(

  • Gander

    Forward! Into the past!
    They sound more desperate with each passing month.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Man, I hate them. I just hate them so much. I’m at the point where if you willingly place moral authority upon these scumbags, I don’t think we can be friends. I’m not talking about people who are baptized Catholic and just call them-self that without really thinking about it (the majority). If you actually pay attention the the Vatican and make a conscious decision to let them be your moral guide in life…I can’t with you. I just can’t.

  • MD

    How patronising! He says that all this time I wasn’t the one choosing not to get pregnant. It was my husband pressuring me. What a deluded, clueless man. He should go out and have some relationships before he talks about what goes on in a marriage.

    • allein

      “It’s ok, sweetie, the men will make the medical decisions for you. Don’t worry your pretty little head. ”

      *gag* I thought the exact same thing as you.

      • JET

        It’s not just the RCC on this one. See Texas.

    • C Peterson

      He should go out and have some relationships before he talks about what goes on in a marriage.

      The sort of relationships favored by people in his position, those with prepubescent boys, don’t typically lead to any increased knowledge of marriage, healthy sexuality, or contraception.

    • Gus Snarp

      I do love that the Catholic Church requires couples to see the priest for counseling before marrying, because apparently permanently celibate men know how to behave in a marriage.

      • The Other Weirdo

        Well, they have all that experience hiding secrets.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Why is anybody listening to a group of purposely celibate old men when they demand total obedience to their ideas on sex?

  • tsara

    Every time I see someone going on about Catholic natural/moral law, I become more convinced: Catholic natural/moral law is offensive to human dignity.
    *spits*

    • JET

      I’ll see your *spit* and raise a “Fuck you, perverts!”

    • indorri

      “Natural law” as relates to ethics is one of those things I think had to have been thought up in some drug-addled state.

  • Mitch

    So now secular people are encouraging and manipulating elderly people into being euthenized? (second video, beginning around 4:50)

    • allein

      Yes, that’s why we all tried to talk my grandmother out of reversing her DNR before she was put on the ventilator. Oh, wait, no we didn’t. She ended up on the ventilator that she really didn’t want, but it was entirely her decision to reverse it before it was too late. (She thought she could beat the pneumonia, but mostly I think she got scared.) Damn those secular hospitals trying to respect people’s wishes.

      • Mitch

        At least people in the state of Washington won’t have to worry about those hellbound secular hospitals, since the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will control “almost half of Washington’s hospital beds” (quote from the FFRF article on the issue)

        • allein

          After she died and we had a little time to process (we had been expecting it, but still..) my dad said that for someone in her situation, when that alarm goes off, “a good doctor walks slow.” CPR would have just broken her ribs and left her in more pain (if she was even awake to feel it, which she wasn’t at that point). A Catholic hospital would have said that was better. But it was time and we all knew it.

    • Stev84

      It’s a common accusation. Often leveled at the Dutch.

      • Quintin van Zuijlen

        Then again, there’s much to be jealous about.

      • Peter Hardy

        Usually because it is true.

  • Cyanmoon1

    I just posted a comment under the video on youtube-

    This interview is so full of WRONG I don’t know where to start. Maybe with the part (4:50) where he says the church promotes high ethical standards (hah!) but when the state is in charge, standards only get lower and lower. Back that up with some actual evidence, please. Also, gay people are not looking for “special priviledges,” just an end to discrimination. They are fed up with hearing that they are “distorted.”

    but then I saw that it’s pending moderator approval. Ah, well.

    • allein

      We should probably be glad they didn’t turn off commenting all together…

      • Cyanmoon1

        I agree to a certain extent, but on some level ‘no comments from anybody’ seems more honest than ‘comments open to all who agree with the moderator.’

        • allein

          True. I actually thought about that after I posted.

  • C Peterson

    This is what passes for intellectual reasoning in today’s RCC. This is high academia in the Vatican. Ten minutes of theobabble, lacking in intellectual coherence, lacking in meaning, lacking in humanity, failing to resonate in any way with the moral codes of modern society.

    No wonder the Church is collapsing in all of the developed world.

    • JET

      While ignoring/hiding/advocating the rape of little boys to satisfy their own sexual perversions. Why would anyone turn to the RCC for advice on human sexuality?

      • Art_Vandelay

        Or anything for that matter. I mean is there anything besides “path towards eternal salvation” that humanity or science doesn’t already have a better answer for than the RCC? Even on that…their answer is dubious at best.

  • Kevin Sevcik

    So clearly Hemant’s next video in the Atheist’s Voice series should be “Treating Catholics with dignity means telling them the truth.” It’s certainly the stance JT takes on the purpose of debating and arguing with theists.

    • SJH

      You would be correct. Treating them with dignity would mean having a conversation with them and trying to let them know that they are wrong. That is the point of patheos.com is it not? I guarantee he would agree with that statement.

      • Pofarmer

        Good luck having any sort of a two way conversation with the Catholic bloggers on Patheos, or most Catholics, for that matter. The brainwashing is very strong.

        • Stev84

          The Catholic bloggers in Patheos are actually a lot different from most ordinary Catholics. They are a unique kind of batshit craziness who would be indistinguishable from Protestant fundamentalists if they didn’t parrot Vatican doctrine or mention “natural law” all the time. But many run of the mill Catholics don’t actually follow their church’s commands very closely.

          • Pofarmer

            Well, I know some of both. Unfortunately, I know too many of the batshit crazy ones who are more than willing to substitute Vatican doctrine for brains. The thing about Catholic craziness is that it is very wordy. Just go read anything by Longenecker, then they throw in the extra added level of batshit craziness in the Catechism. I tried to read it once, and didn’t make it 30 pages in before I simply couldn’t take it any more.

            • Peter Hardy

              That surprises me, I’ve read it a couple of times- it’s very clear, it’s not like reading Kant or anything. You need to go into further detail than that if you want to criticise sophisticated defences of Thomism.

              • Pofarmer

                It’s not that it’s not clear, it’s that it’s nuts.

          • Kevin Sevcik

            That matches my experience as an ex-Catholic. I wasn’t ever serious or invested in it, however. Sunday school was another thing the folks wanted me to do with stuff to memorize and regurgitate. Which is largely how I treated it and why I had an entirely easy transition. There was definitely a large spectrum of intensity of belief in our Church, near as I can tell.

        • Peter Hardy

          I’m a Catholic and I really am very shocked and disgusted by all this. (The contents of the article I mean, if you want to generalise about Catholics in a condescending way you are free to do so.) I’ve heard a lot of crazy shit from fundies about contraception in my time, but this really takes it to another level. It doesn’t follow from what church doctrine actually is, nor does his intolerance of homosexuals. (Obviously, I’m not claiming it’s not against both contraception and homosexual acts, it is, but it doesn’t nearly justify these statements). And I am pro-life, but because I’m a feminist, because I’m a socialist, and because I take science seriously. But those of you who were saying most of us don’t agree with things like the prohibition on contraception are correct,

          • Peter Hardy

            I mention that I’m pro-life because I want to emphasise that it really annoys me when fundies hijack human rights issues like abortion for attacking women and don’t back up their demands with calls for better provision of care services by the government. While the name ‘pro-life’ appeals to me in a broader sense improving the condition of humanity after birth, to be fair that isn’t how conservatives are using the term, they are using as an abbreviation for the phrase ‘pro-life with reference to the foetus in the issue of abortion’. Which is fair enough.

          • Pofarmer

            Well then, the Church says you’re not really a Catholic

            • Peter Hardy

              Nah, the church endorses freedom for conscientious objection to things that aren’t solemn dogmas. And who gets to define ‘Catholic’ anyway? I’m certainly not a Protestant.

  • NickDB

    Human nature cannot be changed huh? Guess that explains a lot about the church, it still thinks we’re the same as 2000, 20000, 200000 years ago.

  • CultOfReason

    I don’t mean to drag this conversation down to the gutter, but this guy sounds very constipated. Perhaps a little dose of laxatives will help him see things more clearly.

    • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

      He doesn’t believe in laxatives. If God wants to block your intestines worse than D.C. rush hour traffic, that’s God’s prerogative. Ex-Lax thwarts God’s will.

    • Bob Carlson

      I thought he sounded a bit inebriated.

  • SJH

    I’m not sure that I understand the purpose of your post. You highlight many of his statements and your interpretation of them but offer no alternate opinions or arguments. Perhaps you are simply pointing out his statements to garner camaraderie with fellow atheists? Maybe you should pick a topic and have a discussion about it. Then maybe we can educate each other.

    • Michael W Busch

      The fallacies of Giertych’s statements are obvious to anyone who has actually learned about homosexuality, contraception, feminism, and physician-assisted suicide.

      It is not necessary to repeat Human Sexuality 101, Reproductive Rights 101, or Human Rights 101 here. You have access to the internet, and to Wikipedia and its sources. Please go and actually learn what you are talking about, rather than immediately jumping to ad hominems and logical fallacies.

      • Stev84

        What else do you expect from a known troll and homophobe?

    • Gus Snarp

      Move along then.

    • JET

      I would imagine that the purpose of the post was to point out that, once again, the RCC has their collective heads up their asses when it comes to human sexuality and basic human rights. The OP assumed that readers were intelligent enough to not need her to rebut the garbage that they spew. Some of us don’t need to be told what or how to think.

    • Tainda

      Your education is flawed

    • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

      There is no need for a rebuttal. The correct response to anyone who believes the contraception lead to violence against women is to point and laugh.

    • Matt D

      Right. You know I’m always puzzled when I attend a soccer game and the attendees refuse to hear my opinions on “alternate” games, like baseball, football, hockey, etc.
      .
      Strange, isn’t it? It’s almost as if they see *me* as some kind of intruder even though I’m just opening their minds to the possiblities!

    • indorri

      Let’s go with an easy one: “special rights” for gay men and women.

  • Guess

    This isn’t really a surprise to anyone, is it? The Catholic Church has invested too much energy in being against homosexuality and contraception to ever back away from it. Meanwhile, the rest of the world moves on and even their own parisioners don’t follow their rules or agree with their teachings. I look forward to the day when they can be dismissed as an irrelevance.

    So yes, stuff the Pope’s personal thelogian!

  • chris

    can we please stop using ‘pro-life’, it really should be anti-choice. the other side isnt anti-life.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      I accept pro-forced birth as a name for the anti-choice side as well, since that’s also what they are.

    • Helix Luco

      they’re pro-childhood-poverty-and-starvation, right? since most people who get abortions and/or use birth control already have kids that they’re trying to take care of..

      me, though, i am anti-life MUA-HA-HA!

      • Compuholic

        Me too. And I mean this in all seriousness. The less offspring we produce the better for this planet. Although to be fair it has to be said that most of the offspring is produced in developing countries.

        One of the greatest archivements of science has been to pretty much eliminate the leading causes for child mortality. And in the last 40 years we approximately doubled the number of people living on this planet. This alone is madness. Combine it with the increasing per capita energy consumption and we are headed for disaster.

        • Helix Luco

          well, like bill gates says, people in developing countries who have lots of kids mostly just want to have a couple kids who can survive to adulthood, reducing childhood mortality has a decent chance of actually reducing population growth, at least in a few areas. closing the wealth gap between the richest and poorest should help too, people who have a shot at giving their kids a middle-class life will have just a few kids in order to dedicate more resources to their education, as they have done in the US and other wealthy countries. but i have a feeling we’re going to have to redefine what wealth means.

  • GCBill

    “And so by focusing on Christ, we have the Supreme Answer™ – about anthropology, about pedagogy, about psychology, about morals, you know.”

    Actually, no I don’t know. I’d wager this is false about psychology – just look at the APA consensus about homosexuality vs. the Church’s views. About archaeology, I don’t think the Bible’s claims have always played out on that front either (though I’m aware some have). As far as pedagogy goes, the Catholic Church pioneered the University, but virtually all the contents of that university education turned out wrong. And for morals, one just needs to run the Euthyphro dilemma, then demonstrate the incoherency of the inevitable appeal to Divine Simplicity to solve it.

    • Guest

      I may be only an undergrad anthro student, but I can tell you they’re just flat-out wrong about physical and cultural anthropology too. And they seem unaware that words can mean different things, especially to different people/cultures, so that’s a linguistic fail too.

      • Guest

        EDIT: I don’t know where you’re from, but in the States archaeology is part of anthropology as well, so consider it an expansion, not a correction. :)

  • Pofarmer

    I’ve been “involved” with the Catholic Church now for about 18 years via my wife. For about the first 10 of those years everything was pretty tolerable. Then we had kids, and Pope Benedict, and I don’t know what is which or what started who, but the Church in the U.S. under Archbishop Dolan is really ramping up teh crazy for the troops. They want to draw a distinction about themselves. The whole kerfluffle over Obamacare is nothing more than the Church trying to flex it’s political muscles.

  • Guest

    Derp. Nuff said.

  • eric

    “It is not possible for a husband to say to his wife, ‘I love you truly’ if at the same time he demands that she poisons in her body the capacity to transmit life

    What universe does he live in? In this one, its overwhelmingly women who demand the pill, not men.

    “[People who become gay] are emotionally fragile because they come from broken families, because contraception and abortion has destroyed families, has generated divorces.” (6:20)

    It appears the RCC thinks that the pill’s evil magically traveled back through time, creating gays throughout recorded history, even though the pill itself wasn’t invented until the 1960s.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Shhh! You’ll give away our (the liberal, secularist, feminist secret cabal) secrets!

  • JohnMWhite

    The ‘entitled generation’ would like to remind the Catholic Church that their priests are not entitled to rape us nor are their teachers entitled to tell us lies nor is their Pope entitled to control our lives.

  • Rain

    So everything is contraception’s fault? What a maroon.

  • Rain

    Can you imagine someone commenting here and arguing that contraception is to blame for everything? Right away you know it would be futile to argue at all. The “kook factor” is just too strong. Dumbest conspiracy theory ever.

  • flyb

    The title is fine at just “Stuff the Pope”

  • Ryan Hite

    ….. What?

  • Robster

    The catliks must have a mold somewhere that’s used to churn out strangely vacant theologians (jeez, it’s like giving nonsense a fancy name) and on drying newly minted ones out they’re released into reality on a mission to spread even more nonsense “eat more yummy jesus flavoured crackers this Sunday” etc. It really must be stopped. Can the Italians cut the vatican loose and hope it floats away, perhaps to join Atlantis? And what do theologians do in college during the 20 minutes needed to learn the trade?

  • Jerry Reiter

    The Catholic church is running back to the future towards a new Dark Ages.

  • Peter Hardy

    Although I disagree with a lot of their positions, as I’m against most abortion I generally find Life Site News tolerable, they had a very good article on pornography last week, for instance: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/65000-reddit-users-flock-to-forum-founded-by-atheist-to-quit-pornography-ma


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