This new message, according to Benedict, profoundly transformed men and women’s consciences -- first slowly and now more clearly.
From the separation of sexuality from fertility, he continued, comes the inverse: “Fertility, naturally, can be thought of even without sexuality.”
Benedict XVI noted that it therefore seems right to no longer trust the procreation of humans to the “occasional passion of the flesh, but rather to plan and produce the human rationally.”
Thus a human being is no longer “generated and conceived but made,” the retired pontiff underlined, which signifies that a human person is not a gift to be received but “a product planned by our doing.”
He added that if we can plan to make life, it must also be true that we can plan to destroy it, noting that the growing support for assisted suicide and euthanasia as “a planned end to one’s life is an integral part of the trend described.”
The question of same-sex marriage, he continued, is not a question of being “a little more broadminded and open. Rather, the basic question arises: who is man? And with it also the question of whether there is a Creator or if we are not all just manufactured products.”
“This alternative arises: either man is a creature of God, he is the image of God, he is a gift from God, or man is a product that he himself knows how to create,” Benedict XVI wrote.
He said the ecological movement had established that there are limits to nature that we cannot ignore, and, in the same way, a human person possesses a nature that has been given to him “and the violation or denial of it leads to self-destruction.”
“This is also the case with the creation of man as male and female, which is ignored in the hypothesis of ‘same-sex marriage,’” he stressed.
Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.