In Pope Benedict’s address of December 12th, 2012, he again reaffirmed the value of the family and rejected the gay lifestyle and same sex marriage, stating: “People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.” I think when most people think of this subject, they think only in terms of an individual or a couple of individuals. Sometimes the social ramifications are forgotten. And one of the most profound ramifications is mankind’s suspiciousness. We live in a cynical time, where truth is denied, where certainty is rejected – where human pleasure determines what is right and what is wrong. There is no better example of this than what is going on today within the Christian single community. Instead of treating each other with dignity and respect, everybody is treated with suspicion. “How do I know he’s not gay?” I think “comfort” is the word that could serve as commentary for this generation, a generation that bows at the feet of pleasure and artificial happiness. Suffering has become a foreign concept. I know there are decent Christians left, but it’s getting harder and harder to find them. As Pope Benefict noted: “Man’s refusal to make any commitment – which is becoming increasingly widespread as a result of a false understanding of freedom and self-realization as well as the desire to escape suffering – means that man remains closed in on himself and keeps his “I” ultimately for himself, without really rising above it. Yet only in self-giving does man find himself, and only by opening himself to the other, to others, to children, to the family, only by letting himself be changed through suffering, does he discover the breadth of his humanity.” We do indeed live in a generation of suspicion where man has closed himself to others, where goodwill has been replaced by cynicism – where homosexuality has caused neighbor to be suspicious of neighbor, sister to be suspicious of brother, church member to be suspicious of church member, friends to be suspicious of other friends, wife to be suspicious of husband, employer to be suspicious of employee, and on and on. Relationships based on trust, faith, and dignity are an absolute requirement for civilization. These characteristics are part of a Christian person’s creation, are part of his very nature. As Pope Benedict noted: “The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned.” In order for a Christian society to survive, trust in each other must be embraced, just like tree roots embracing the ground in search of water. We must acknowlege that all of these natural processes are part of God’s creation – just as much as the trees, rocks, and sand. When these essential elements of the human experience are lost, so is civilization. It is my hope that trust can be rekindled, that we can openly communicate with each other, and that the closed doors of suspicious minds will be replaced by open doors of respect and civility.