Pope: Save Rainforest —and Heterosexuality, Too
Benedict's Christmas message decries erosion of 'traditional' gender roles
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2008 8:08 AM CST
Pope Benedict XVI gives his blessing during an audience to exchange Christmas wishes with cardinals and prelates, in the Clementine Hall, at the Vatican, Monday, Dec. 22, 2008.   (AP Photo/Max Rossi, pool)
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(Newser) – Pope Benedict XVI used a Christmas address today to call for a defense of heterosexuality, which he suggested was as endangered as the rainforest.  He called homosexuality and deviance from gender norms "a destruction of God's work." The pontiff said "the tropical forests do deserve our protection; but man, as a creature, does not deserve any less," the Guardian reports.

Benedict's speech focused on the blurring of gender roles, which he said could lead to the "self-destruction" of the human race. A Vatican spokesman said that the pope did not want to attack homosexuality or transsexualism per se, but "was speaking more generally about gender theories." The Catholic church normally distinguishes between gay sex, which it considers sinful, and homosexuality as an identity, which it does not.