Pope's Anti-Gay Remarks Spur Controversy

World | December 23, 2008, Tuesday // 00:00
Pope's Anti-Gay Remarks Spur Controversy: Pope's Anti-Gay Remarks Spur Controversy In an end-of-year speech to senior Vatican staff the pope urged the world to defend heterosexuality. Photo by BGNES

The pope has sparked controversy saying the world must defend heterosexuality, which was as important as saving the world's rainforests from destruction.

Speaking in a holiday address to the Curia, Pope Benedict XVI described behaviour beyond traditional heterosexual relations as "a destruction of God's work" and urged respect for the "nature of the human being as man and woman."

His remarks were immediately denounced as "totally irresponsible and unacceptable" by gay groups across Europe.

"It is more the case that we need to be saved from his comments. It is comments like this that justify homophobic bullying that goes on in schools and it is comments like this that justify gay bashing," the chief of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement chief, Sharon Ferguson, has said.

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