Well, you’ve got to accept that Pope Benedict XVI isn’t afraid to tell people what he thinks.
The recent furore about his comments that the church should be exempt from UK equality laws, because it would “impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs” is pretty chilling. Cue a shot of loads of people on the street with banners saying that Catholics should have the ‘freedom’ to discriminate against gay and transgender individuals because of their beliefs. The message: that strongly-held beliefs should exempt you from having to adhere to the same rules of equality as everyone else, and to discriminate against anyone you like so long as you believe it’s right, or that a book (or rather, your interpretation of it) tells you that it’s ok.
I’m amazed that some people can’t see the blatantly obvious flaw in this argument. If strongly held beliefs were a viable excuse for treating other people badly, then most of the atrocities in the last century could be excused too, if the people committing them truly believed their doctrine of choice advocated it. Where’s the line? I suspect the answer is ‘wherever the Pope wants it to be’.
A bigot in a fancy robe and quoting doctrine is still a bigot. There is never any excuse for treating your fellow human beings as anything other than equals, and if your religion tells you otherwise, you might want to update your thinking by, I don’t know, maybe a couple of thousand years or so. The rest of society’s moved on a tad in that time, such us not hacking each other apart with swords, or burning people at the stake for curing the local donkey. Being a decent human being to other people regardless of their race/sexual orientation etc kinda came out of that whole transition - you might want to give it a shot sometime.