Friday, February 22, 2013

WHO WOULD EVER HAVE EXPECTED...?



A Facebook friend posted a link to an article in the Guardian on a possible reason for the pope's abrupt announcement of his retirement.
A potentially explosive report has linked the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI to the discovery of a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom – the report said – were being blackmailed by outsiders.

The pope's spokesman declined to confirm or deny the report, which was carried by the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.

The paper said the pope had taken the decision on 17 December that he was going to resign – the day he received a dossier compiled by three cardinals delegated to look into the so-called "Vatileaks" affair.

Last May Pope Benedict's butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested and charged with having stolen and leaked papal correspondence that depicted the Vatican as a seething hotbed of intrigue and infighting.

According to La Repubblica, the dossier comprising "two volumes of almost 300 pages – bound in red" had been consigned to a safe in the papal apartments and would be delivered to the pope's successor upon his election.

The newspaper said the cardinals described a number of factions, including one whose members were "united by sexual orientation".
A sufficient number of reports have surfaced to indicate a pattern in which those who protest the loudest against same-sexuality, whether the persons are politicians, government officials, leaders or spokespersons in religious institutions, or otherwise engaged are often enough caught in a web of deceit of their own making.  I don't know all the details of the story of what took place in the Vatican, but I would not be surprised if the existence of the factions "united by sexual orientation" proves to be true, thus the ironic title of the post.
La Repubblica said the cardinals' report identified a series of meeting places in and around Rome. They included a villa outside the Italian capital, a sauna in a Rome suburb, a beauty parlour in the centre, and a former university residence that was in use by a provincial Italian archbishop.
The men alleged to be involved don't seem to have exercised a great deal of discretion in their activities, but their actions were entirely predictable in an environment of mandatory celibacy.  I'm not interested in prying into the sexual activity of consenting adults, except when those same adults condemn the sexual activity of other adults, some of whom have been in faithful, committed relationships for years.  It's the hypocrisy...

UPDATE: The opinion piece by John L Allen, Jr in the National Catholic Reporter, may be more knowledgeable and balanced than the article in the Guardian and my commentary.  I've tried not to be a bitter ex-Roman Catholic, but I'll leave it to others to judge whether or not I've succeeded.

20 comments:

  1. This is not news, really. A friend of mine worked in a gay leather bar in Berlin, and used to see the late Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago swoop in a couple of times a year, in full leather regalia, with a coterie of young leather-clad men whom he assumed were priests.

    I would say that a younger newer Pope might deal with it more forthrightly, but as Canon Law doesn't allow for laicising bishops, the options are few. I don't believe that the Pope can force them all to go into monasteries (perhaps they could go into the same one that Benedict is going into) as I would guess that most of them have not had sex with underage boys (just a guess). It will be interesting to see what transpires in all this.

    Do remember the case of Cardinal Danielou, who dropped dead in the arms of his mistress. That was covered up and forgotten, perhaps because Danielou was straight.

    Reminds me of that old joke: two crusty old retired English colonels were sitting in their club, whiskeys in hand. One said, "You've heard about Smedley, I suppose." The other said, "No, lost touch with old Smedley." "He's been cashiered." "What what? Cashiered? Why?" "They discovered him pleasuring himself with a horse." The second one thought for a moment, took a sip, and said, "A horse, now. Mare or stallion?" The first colonel replied, "Mare, of course. Nothing queer about old Smedley."

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    1. Chris, if there is substance behind the reports, and I suspect there is, I don't think this situation will be covered up. Of course. I could be wrong.

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  2. Here's John Allen's take: http://ncronline.org/node/45836

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    1. Interesting, Jane. John Allen probably knows far more about the inner workings of the Vatican than I, and he may well be right.

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  3. Of course it has to be the gays wrecking things ... whether any of it is true or not, the institution needs someone other than its correct and upright majority to blame for its failings ... Benedict wanted to purge the impure from the ranks, keep only the truly faithful, and do nothing but rail against the sinners out there in the world ... seeing the error and hypocrisy of the church itself was always out of the question ... homosexuals are still an easy target in much of the world, so, of course, whatever is wrong, it must be "their" fault.

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    1. If the institution is to survive, it will need a complete redo, but I doubt the next pope will be the man to do the redo. If there's truth to the story, it appears that there are more problems inside the Vatican than sexually-active gay men.

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    2. Marthe, Charles Pierce has a similar take to yours. You're in good company. :-)

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  4. I think the Pope was about to be outed.

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    1. Do you, Ann? Now that would shock and surprise me.

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  5. "It's the hypocrisy..." INDEED! Never ending hypocrisy is about all that I ever expect from that institution. They have had years and years to perfect smoke screens.

    Chris's joke about old Smedley is delicious funny but probably not Sunday coffee hour fare.

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    1. Yes, it's the hypocrisy, Bonnie. The Church of England is also a ticking time bomb with its campaign against same-sex marriage, even as the leaders look away from its bishops and clergy in semi-clandestine same-sex relationships.

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    2. The Church of England situation bothers me more than the RCC. I don't know why I just expect the CoE to be less entrenched in bigotry and have an intelligent, educated, inclusive position.

      Welby seems to be adopting the fuzzy line in the sand position.

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    3. I'm sorry to say Justin's line in the sand against civil same-sex marriage in England seems clear and straight to me, Bonnie.

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  6. Well well well truth be told at last. This is a great article :)

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  7. D'you see that Cardinal O'Brien, the UK's only cardinal and loud-mouthed figurehead of the RC Church's anti-gay marriage offensive, has now resigned. Sometimes what goes around does indeed come around.

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    1. Yes, I saw the news, Lapin. Another homophobe bites the dust, but all too late. I gather the accusers did not want O'Brien participating in the conclave.

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  8. No, but from what I saw in yesterday's news reports, no cardinal of canonical age (below 80) may be prevented from attending the conclave and voting, so it's O'Brien's call. Cardinal Mahony plans to be there, scandal notwithstanding, and has generously prayed for and forgiven his accusers.

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    1. According to the Guardian, O'Brien will not attend.

      His resignation means the cardinal will not now take part in the election of a successor to Pope Benedict. This will leave Britain unrepresented in the process, as O'Brien was the only cardinal in the British Catholic churches with a vote in the conclave.

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    2. Can't blame us then, can they? Vincent Nichols' fault for being so soft on Teh Gays.

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    3. Lapin, a number of people suggest that the Vatican will continue to point to gay factions as the cause of the alleged corruption in the Vatileaks scandal to distract from the financial shenanigans and other questionable behavior of officials within the Vatican. It's still teh gays.

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