News & Politics

Happy St. Valentine's Day! Pope Benedict's 7 Most Unromantic Pronouncements

As the pope heads for the exits, he leaves behind a strong legacy of making us feel positively squeamish about some otherwise pleasant subjects: love, sex, and marriage.

Photo Credit: © Eugenio Marongiu/


Happy Valentine’s Day! For those of you who are getting sick of those corny catchphrases inside all those annoyingly warm and fuzzy Hallmark cards, try these ones on for size. While the soon-to-be former Pope Benedict XVI may be retiring from his global platform of spreading backward-looking rhetoric, he leaves behind a strong legacy of making us feel positively squeamish about some otherwise pleasant subjects: love, sex, and marriage. Should you need a reminder that absolutely nothing about your love life is acceptable, you can always rely on the good old Catholic Church for a solid unreality check. Here are seven cheery quotes you won’t find in any Hallmark card this Valentine’s Day. 

1. Cohabitating? Your lifestyle is “gravely sinful, not to mention damaging to the stability of society.” (March 2012) 

2. Have you ever used condoms, birth control, or any other form of artificial contraception? Well, you’re basically a serial killer:

"How many children are killed who might one day have been geniuses, who could have given humanity something new, who could have given us a new Mozart or some new technical discovery?" (November 2010)

3. But sometimes birth control makes sense, right? Like to prevent the spread of AIDS? According to Benny:

"[AIDS is] a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems." (March 2009)

4. And to all you smug married (straight) couples out there, he’s talking to you, too. Married couples that opt for any birth control method outside of Rick Santorum’s questionable “Rhythm Method” (which successfully created eight children) are “negating the intimate truth of conjugal love.” (October 2008)

But you straight married couples shouldn’t worry too much. We have much more serious problems. On to the gays…

5. You know those feelings you have about members of your own gender? Here's the pope:

“Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered to an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.” (1986) 

(Good thing he’s being objective!)

 6. We all know the pope thinks marriage is pretty great. But gay marriage? 

“[It's] an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace.” (December 2012)

7. Okay, Benedict. So I think we all understand now that sex without a baby in nine months is pretty evil. So maybe we can find some common ground—sexual abuse in the church! It’s a terribly serious problem, right? Oh wait:

“I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign, as the percentage of these offenses among priests is not higher than in other categories, and perhaps it is even lower …” (December 2002)

Have you buried your face in your palms yet? Don’t let him kill the mood entirely -- after all, he’s resigning! Maybe the next pope could take a more progressive stance, allowing us all to enjoy future Valentine’s Days without the burdensome Catholic guilt that some have been forced to endure, and that continues to play an aggravatingly influential role in our government and laws. Well, we can always dream…



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