The Dutch foreign minister has criticised Pope Benedict for his opposition to same-sex marriage – quoting comments by a papal envoy in Ireland last week to support his case for freedom of sexual orientation.
minister, Frans Timmermans, a former diplomat, responded in unusually
strong terms to the Pope’s Christmas speech in which he denounced gay
marriage as destroying the very “essence of the human creature”.
Timmermans referred to an address by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the
Vatican’s secretary for relations with states – a post seen as the
equivalent of Foreign Minister of the Holy See – at the meeting of the
Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Dublin.
his speech the Archbishop quoted the Pope, saying: “Good governance has
to follow natural law that is written in the heart of every human
being. Pope Benedict XVI expressed this view very clearly during his
recent visit to Lebanon: ‘In God’s plan, each person is unique and
irreplaceable . . .’. ”
To this Mr Timmermans, who also attended
the OSCE conference, replied: “If every person is unique . . . then why
should that unique person not have the right to stand up for his or her
own sexual orientation?”
In 2001, the Netherlands became the first
country in the world to legalise same-sex marriages.