Pope Benedict XVI has drawn fire for using his Christmas address to denounce gay marriage, which he called a "manipulation of nature" that will destroy the "essence of the human creature."
According to the Associated Press, Benedict said in his annual Christmas address to the Vatican bureaucracy:
"People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given to them by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves."
The pope has previously described gay mariage as a threat to world peace, just like abortion and euthanasia, the AP wrote.
Benedict quoted the chief rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, in saying that moves to grant homosexuals the right to marry and adopt children was an "attack" on the traditional family of father, mother and children.
LGBT activists reportedly protested Benedict’s statements in St. Peter’s Square.
The New York Daily News cited a coalition of Catholic organizations in the US that supports gay marriage called Equally Blessed as saying in a joint statement that Benedict’s "rigid and outmoded" view of gender identity contrasted with the reality in America — same-sex couples creating happy homes for kids and transgender people living "healthy, mature, and generous lives."
The Daily Beast pointed out that roughly 59 percent of American Catholics are in favor of gay marriage, adding that on Sunday in Illinois, more than 250 clergy members endorsed legislation that would allow same-sex couples to marry.
RTL news cited a Dutch gay rights lobby, COC, as calling on its government to campaign to have the Vatican lose its special position within the United Nations.
"Wars are raging and people are dying of hunger, and the Vatican chooses to condemn people who love each other. And when it comes to Uganda, where the most terrible anti-gay legislation is being introduced in the name of religion, the Vatican says not a word."
Dutch foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans as criticizing the pope's message, as carried by his representatives elsewhere around the world.
"If every person is unique, as the pope’s representative said in Dublin last week, then why should that unique person not have the right to stand up for their own sexual orientation?. Why can Romeo marry Juliet but not Julius? Marriage between two people of the same sex is having respect for the uniqueness of the individual."