In his Feb. 12 op-ed column, “Pope Benedict’s legacy,” E.J. Dionne Jr. said that two recent statements of Pope Benedict XVI “and perhaps of Catholicism, itself,” were paradoxical, as if the Catholic Church might be confused. Mr. Dionne lauded the pope’s (and church’s) position on fighting poverty and upholding the dignity of every human being, but he criticized the pope’s (and church’s) denunciation of gay marriage as being against human nature.

The two positions are not paradoxical but consistent and non-contradictory. Human beings have innate self-dignity, by virtue of being made in God’s image. But when they engage in unnatural sexual behavior, such as homosexual acts under the protective coloration of a phony “marriage,” they lose that dignity and sin mortally.

Mr. Dionne mentioned that he’s a ”liberal” Catholic. Usually, that means a Catholic who does not give intellectual assent to all the official teachings of his church. I hope he rethinks his position.

John A. Knight, Springfield

The Feb. 12 editorial assessing Pope Benedict XVI [“A pope retires”] called him “reactionary” for his “uncompromising adherence to past doctrine” regarding such matters as homosexuality and a celibate male priesthood. Clearly, The Post sides with those “progressives” who would overturn age-old Catholic principles and practices.

As a non-Catholic, I have no standing to instruct the church on matters of faith and morals. I find it incomprehensible that The Post, a secular institution, presumes to do so.

Barry Mackintosh, Lincoln, Calif.

The Catholic Church will always proclaim the gospel “in season and out of season” — whether popular or not — no matter who the pope is. The church is called not, as The Post’s editorial put it, to “remain relevant to an increasingly secular world” but rather to proclaim the good news of salvation to this troubled world of ours, which longs for happiness and purpose in this life and beyond. The church reveals to each of us the answer to our quest — the love and mercy of God who, as Saint Paul reminds us, “wishes all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” Until the end of time, the church will continue in its mission to bring God to man and lead man to God as Christ has ordained.

Philip C. Wehle Jr., McLean