Saturday, February 23, 2013

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "If There Is a Gay Lobby in the Vatican, They Have to Be the Most Unsuccessful Lobby Ever"

David, responding to the Commonweal thread by Paul Moses now discussing the media flurry about the secret report of cardinals Benedict appointed to investigate the Vatileaks situation, and which is said to contain sensational allegations of a gay cabal in the Vatican:

I have to agree with the Irish Times reporter Paddy Agnew. If there is a gay lobby in the Vatican, they have to be the most unsuccessful lobby ever.

David makes an excellent point, and with good wit. Note what we're being asked now by some commentators to believe: that there's a gay lobby powerful enough to influence curial and papal decisions inside the governing structures of a church whose top leadership is rabidly anti-gay, and which has grown draconianly anti-gay under the leadership of the current pope. 

This is Alice through the looking glass stuff. But the Vatican itself is Alice through the looking glass--and so anything seems possible with this bunch, in my opinion, including halls full of looking glasses each of which distorts every image it captures in powerful ways.

As I suggested yesterday, one distinct possibility (to my mind) is that these rumors are being carefully floated right now precisely to play an anti-gay card as the papal election nears, and to do so for any number of reasons. Playing that card could justify the election of a "clean-the-stables" pope to the right of Benedict on sexual moral issues, for instance. 

Dirty tricks of this sort are far from unprecedented when it's the Vatican we're talking about, and especially when a secretive, rich, powerful, right-wing group like Opus Dei holds such power within the Vatican, and wants at all cost to bolster and extend that power as a new pope is elected. 

This kind of rhetoric can also be floated to provide sympathy (and cover) for Benedict--to deflect attention from Benedict and whatever lies behind his abdication: "Poor, poor Benedict with all those homosexuals running around in the Vatican! Who would have believed it? Did you hear what I just said? They're claiming there are homosexuals in the Vatican. What in God's name will we discover next?!" 

There's some of this Chicken Little stuff right there in the Commonweal thread in which David's witty (and right-on-target) comment appears: Chicken Little stuff which shows you precisely how susceptible the "educated" and "thoughtful" centrist commentariat of American Catholicism remains to deeply seated homophobia, as well as how totally out to lunch it remains about what has really been happening in the inner circles of the Catholic church for quite some time now, and how oblivious its members are to the effect of what is emanating from the inner circles of the Vatican on their brothers and sisters who happen to be gay (educated Catholic folks talking about these issues: gay is the term by which we prefer to be called these days).

So we have Alice heading through the looking glass while Chicken Little screams that the sky is falling and homosexuals are suddenly appearing everywhere--"And did you hear they're in the Vatican?!"--and I'm left wondering when we'll finally discover the identity of the Red Queen. 

Now that might be a revelation that would get Chicken Little really clucking. 

P.S. I really appreciate the links about this story that readers have been leaving me right and left the past two days. I'm a little behind on reading them, since the weekend is always a time for housework and other chores for us, and I am only getting back to my computer as the day moves towards evening.

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