On the eve of his homecoming visit to Germany, Pope Benedict XVI has launched a full-frontal attack on the rights of gay people.
Speaking to a delegation of visiting Canadian bishops, Benedict once again showed his determination to interfere in the secular political process.
The Pope castigated the Canadian government for legalising gay marriage and abortion, saying that they are ignoring the “Creator’s divine plan.”
Benedict’s election last year was welcomed by hardline Catholics who want the Church to take a tough stance against equal rights and respect for LGBT people.
The Pope mocked the concept of tolerance in his address to the bishops, called the idea of gay marriage a folly, and attacked Roman Catholic politicians for following the wishes of their constituents.
His comments about politicians are particularly contentious, as many Roman Catholic office-holders have to contend with voters who worry that they will vote against measures the Church views as unacceptable.
While the grip of the church has been broken in Catholic countries such as Ireland, Spain and Italy, the new religious wars in the USA have provided Benedict with an opportunity to extend his influence on the political process.
During the 2004 presidential election, Democratic candidate John Kerry was refused communion because of his support for limited abortion.
This spiteful move by the Church caused Kerry harm among religious voters across America, and was a factor in the re-election of George Bush.
The Pope, leader of the most dictatorial major Christian religion, then went on to share his views on the nature of democracy.
The former member of the Hitler youth told bishops that, “democracy succeeds only to the extent that it is based on truth and a correct understanding of the human person. Catholic involvement in political life cannot compromise on this principle,” according to Reuters.
“They are particularly damaging when Christian civic leaders sacrifice the unity of faith and sanction the disintegration of reason and the principles of natural ethics, by yielding to ephemeral social trends and the spurious demands of opinion polls,” he said.
The social trends Benedict was referring to are the moves across the developed world to grant LGBT people equal rights.
His comments are an attempt to influence democratic elections to be held across the US in November, when many commentators expect the Republicans to lose seats as part of a backlash against the war in Iraq.