Tis the season … to denounce gay marriage? Pope Benedict XVI used his annual Christmas message to tell his followers that gay marriage is a “manipulation of nature” that will destroy the “essence of the human creature.” Gay marriage, the pope said Friday, is a threat to world peace—just like everyone’s other favorite issues, abortion and euthanasia. LGBT activists protested Benedict’s statements in St. Peter’s Square. Roughly 59 percent of American Catholics are in favor of gay marriage, which may be why the pope felt he had to reaffirm the Church’s stance against it. Meanwhile, on Sunday in Illinois, more than 250 clergy members endorsed legislation that would allow same-sex couples to marry.