Mexican cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera is a powerful man in the Catholic hierarchy. And, like so many of his ilk, he has some mighty…er…interesting notions about human sexuality and the functions of the body:
The Roman Catholic Church and its most hardcore followers have turned the topic of marriage equality into a crusade of fundamentalism and intolerance toward same-sex couples.
The latest argument denotes absolute lack of understanding of human sexuality, but according to them, sustains their beliefs drawn from the Middle Ages and warns the faithful against the great dangers of gay marriage.
“From the Faith”, the propagandistic organ of Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of the Archdiocese of Mexico, offers a lesson on the function of the anus. The Catholic hierarchy affirms that “the human body is not designed for homosexual relations”.
Without mentioning the source of such scientific information, they touch on the topic of feminine sexuality with absolute erudition:
“The woman has a cavity specially prepared for sexual relations, which lubricates itself to facilitate penetration, resists friction, secretes substances which protect the female body from possible infections present in the semen.” We suppose that this mysterious “cavity” is the vagina, although this is not clarified.
On masculine sexuality, they offer a lesson of technical physiological knowledge, in particular on the anus, very different from the anus of the woman, according to them:
“On the other hand, the anus of the man is not designed to receive, only to expel. Its membrane is delicate, it tears easily, and lacks protection against external agents which could infect it. The member that penetrates the anus injures it severely, possibly causing hemorrhages and infections.”
Applause, please. Everyone on your feet. More applause. Incredible! Now it turns out that the best sexologists are in the Archdiocese of Mexico, with a new and grandiose theory of sexuality never before seen, studied or divulged. More applause, please.
With this, the Archdiocese of Mexico wants to demonstrate that it is better than any institute of health specializing in human sexuality. And it wants to convince us of the good qualities of the anus, which according to them, should only “expel”, which is to say, we can only defecate through the anus, never “receive” anything, much less a penis.
Pardon — here arises a doubt, a question. What about anal sex? What do we do with anal sex? Maybe the cardinal and his propaganda organ — I’m referring to the pamphlet “From the Faith” — don’t know that anal sex exists, nor have they heard of the study of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, which recommends safe techniques for couples, heterosexual or, all right, homosexual, to practise it.
The anus, according to this study, is a “muscular sphincter”, tends to offer resistance, for which reason, at the time of relations, they recommend physical relaxation and above all, the use of lubricants. They also state that penetration must be done gently. And it gives us the recommendation of the use of condoms, since the rectal mucosa is a “path of entry for viruses and bacteria”. Also, it states that after anal coitus, it is better not to penetrate the vagina, so as not to contaminate the intimate region with bacteria, and if one does so, one must use a new condom as well as having proper hygiene. The study says that anal sex offers “great erotic and sexual satisfaction” to all types of couples.
Anathema. Surely, Cardinal Rivera would send the Journal of Sexual Medicine to hell, and its expert sexologists too. Moreover, the cardinal places emphasis in his propaganda organ on the notion that lesbian sex is equally dangerous.
“There could be contagion of sexually transmitted diseases, as well as damage due to penetration by objects which substitute for the male member.” That is, the Church proposes that sexual relations should only be between couples of different sex, and, if possible, in the missionary position and with lights out. What type of sexual relations does the Church accept? Those considered “scientifically safe” according to Christian morality.
In a perverse manner, in this pamphlet, Cardinal Norberto Rivera mixes same-sex couples up with AIDS and other diseases.
“More than 50% of persons with attraction to the same sex who have sexual relations, contract some type of sexually transmitted disease: HIV, herpes, human papilloma virus, syphilis, gonorrhea, etc.”, says the text, and adds: “This is a public health problem because an important portion of homosexual persons are known to have an addiction to sex, and an inclination toward a promiscuous lifestyle.”
This text is a clear example of discrimination. Not only does it promote hatred against homosexuals, but it defames them with lies, half-truths, and manipulations without any supporting medical evidence.
Saying that an “important portion” of homosexuals are “addicted to sex” is generating a false concept in society, in order to generate opposition to equal marriage.
“The church doesn’t hate homosexuals, it loves them, and suffers if they suffer. For this reason it opposes ‘equal marriage’, because those who participate in this type of union have a very high risk of suffering the harms previously noted….The Church opposes (equal marriage) because it does not want anyone to suffer the harms that this type of union tends to provoke: injuries to spiritual, psychological and physical health. Let us consider the damage to physical health.”
Appealing to “physical health” to demonize equal marriage is a low blow on the part of the Catholic hierarchy, in which it shows itself desperate and ready to do anything, even spreading lies and inciting hate, in order to prevent the advance of modernity.
Worse yet, Cardinal Norberto Rivera and his propaganda paper propose not having sex: “Even knowing this, the Church insists, as St. Paul did, in season and out of season, that in continence is the only solution.” Continence is the “virtue” of dominating, controlling and orienting sexual impulses and the “concupiscence of the flesh”.
The Church crusade against equal marriage, and that of its organizations of Catholic parents, is national. Other bishops, such as that of the Diocese of Xalapa, Hipólito Reyes Larios, have joined the disinformation campaign, saying that textbooks “make gays” of children, generating an “atmosphere of libertinage” like that of Sodom and Gomorrah: “Books cause children from pre-school age to become gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transsexuals, since they teach them about sexuality.”
These opinions seem more perverse than those emanating from the flesh and desire. Better not to even speak of homosexual priests, much less of what they think about the scientific Catholic function of the anus.
Fortunately, it’s clear to us that priests and cardinals are not sexologists. Imagine what would become of us if we based our sexuality on their primitive criteria. How much happiness, how much joy, how much pleasure, how much freedom, would they have snatched away from us? God forbid.
So we can see that even as Mexico is moving into the modern era, with marriage equality for same-sex couples popping up all over the place (as indeed it’s doing in other parts of Latin America, as well), the Mexican Catholic church, despite its large number of gay priests, is digging in its heels, opposing what could only be a beneficial trend in the long run.
Most ironically, the hierarchy is ignoring the evidence which points to the dangers of the closet. For no sexually transmitted disease can spread and flourish without widespread ignorance of sexuality in general, and shame about gay sexuality in particular. In the 1970s and ’80s, the backdoor of the closet led straight to the bathhouse, where promiscuity was the norm and safe-sex practices nonexistent. The result: Lightning-fast transmission of HIV and other STDs, and devastation for the gay community as young and seemingly carefree men were decimated. Even monogamous gay men found themselves infected by partners who weren’t, or who hadn’t always been before meeting them, or who themselves had had contact with just one infected person.
The current, largely successful push for marriage equality in North America, and other LGBT rights and protections under law, grew out of the struggles of that era. Today it’s commonly recognized that same-sex marriage has helped to remove the stigma from being gay. When people are no longer closeted, neither do they get the “perverse” (but actually quite unsurprising) urge to throw caution to the winds. When their sexual orientation is seen as just another variation on the theme of natural and normal, they can form relationships and households without fear or deception. They don’t have to marry anyone they don’t love. They don’t have to pretend to be straight. They don’t have to furtively seek out any and all willing strangers to satisfy their hidden urges. With no imperative to conform, there is also no counter-imperative to go sexually berserk, risking life and health for a few moments of pleasure. Result: Lower rates of HIV infection, among others.
Removing the stigma from being gay also removes the obsession with gay sex, as paradoxical as it may seem to the backward theologians of the Mexican Catholic church…who are far more preoccupied with gay men’s anuses than the gay men themselves would ever be. And who are now the butt of many a dirty joke because of it.