The media shockingly misquoted Pope Benedict XVI and suggested he had said that homosexual acts were a worse threat than global warming. Damian Thompson said that the media lied. Pope Benedict XVI had said absolutely nothing of the sort, or anything close to it, but had he done so he would surely have been right. Right, that is, if one accepts the Catholic teaching that these acts are sins.
In the words of Cardinal Newman:
...the Catholic Church holds it better for the Sun and Moon to drop from Heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions on it to die of starvation in extremest agony … than that one soul, I will not say, should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one wilful untruth, or should steal one poor farthing without excuse.
This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
I can understand non-believers finding this idea repulsive and vile. It seemed rather repulsive to me at first reading and did to Newman's Anglican readers. It was intended to. It is probably an example of logic-chopping and sophistry. I cannot think of a situation in which by committing a sin one could save the population of the earth from dying of starvation or even save one person from pain or death. But I cannot fault Newman's logic. It is certainly the case that for Christians sin is a greater problem than global warming or poverty or anything else.
Anyone who doubts that is not fit to be a clergymen. Yet the Archbishop of York complained that the Lambeth Conference used time to debate homosexuality, which would have been better devoted to debating poverty. Whatever your opinion about homosexuality, this attitude is really repulsive. It is indicative too of how welfare considerations (along with the ideal of equality) are taking the place in European culture of holiness and of how to lead a good life.