The Bitter Pope : LUSENET : Catholicism -- Uncensored : One Thread

The Bitter Pope

By Ana Simo

JULY 11. On Sunday afternoon, the Pope stepped out as usual on his balcony overlooking Saint Peter's Square to bless the pilgrims gathered below. There were about 30,000 of them that day, not a record, but not too bad either in the sweltering Roman summer. Earlier that day, the Pope, Italian media in tow, had paid a much-anticipated visit to a nearby prison, where he had appealed to governments to show compassion for people in jail.

The prison photo op had been carefully staged, with burly or gaunt, yet lovable cons helping the Pope say Mass. The balcony appearance was to be the follow-up op, the one that would give global media legs to the media-savvy Pontiff's morning message. The Pope, however, was hardly "on message" as he stepped out on his balcony. Compassion and jail inmates had been dislodged from his heart and mind by an overpowering sentiment: bitterness.

A Papal Tantrum The Pope said he felt "bitterness." The cause was 200,000 mostly Italian queers and their supporters peacefully marching through the streets of Rome the day before, against his wishes. Although expressed "on behalf of the Catholic Church," the Pope's bitterness was unmistakably personal.

It was a moment of great poignancy, and pettiness. Here was the most powerful man in Christianity throwing a tantrum in front of 30,000 people who believe he's infallible. Try imagining Jesus in his place.

The Pope had ample reasons to feel bitter. The Vatican had moved heaven and earth to stop gays from meeting and innocuously marching in Rome. It had not just failed miserably, but propelled gay civil rights out of the closet and into the Italian political mainstream for the first time in history.

An absolute ruler who takes defeat personally is a scary thing to watch. The Pope used unusually harsh language to condemn gay rights and homosexuality. Not just the march, but every single event of the week long World Pride 2000 was an "affront" to the church and an "offense to the Christian values" of Rome. Here the 30,000-strong crowd broke into loud applause. Homosexuality was "against natural law." Homosexual acts were "acts of grave depravity." And the clincher: gay folks are "objectively disordered."

Is the Pope a closet Leninist? "Objective" was, after all, Vladimir Ilich's favorite word. Don Gianni Baget Bozzo (the Italians call their priests "Don"), tongue firmly in cheek, missed the Lenin connection, but said the Pope's remark poses "an interesting theological problem." The 75-year old Genovese priest, who marched in Rome on Saturday, told Milan's daily Corriere della Sera that, "theologically speaking, there is no such condition as 'objective disorder'. There is only 'original sin.' So, I wonder if this means that we now have to consider homosexuals as creatures burdened by an original sin that's greater than anyone else's."

Is the Pope Fueling Neo-Fascists? Gay Italian leaders reacted swiftly to the Pope's vitriolic attack. "It's time for the Pope to shut up and stop offending us," fired back Imma Battaglia, president of the Mario Mieli gay cultural association, which organized World Pride 2000. "The gay community is fed up, indignant, and offended," she said, accusing the Pope of siding with "the violent right, the fascists, who find in his words the strength and the courage to attack a peaceful community."

The Pope "is wrong to condemn World Pride, a great popular demonstration," said Franco Grillini, the honorary president of Arcigay, another gay rights organization. "The real offense is homophobia and anti-gay prejudice fueled by the Vatican hierarchy."

The Pontiff's intemperate remarks relaunched the gay rights controversy in Italy. Instead of dying a natural media death after the Saturday march, World Pride 2000 remained big news for at least another two days.

Homophobic right-wing politicians, emboldened by the Pope's words, gay leaders, and the gay movements new-found friends in the left slugged it out on print, radio, and television.

Media Attacked Attacked by right-wing politicians for its extensive, live coverage of the march, the state-owned RAI 3 television countered with a sobering audience survey: 3 million Italians watched the two-hour special (an 18-20% audience share); news coverage after the march by another channel, TG1, captured a whooping 26% of the national audience share. The nascent Italian gay rights movement owes the Pope a big one.

The queer genie is politically out of the bottle in Italy. This is good news for the global gay civil rights movement, particularly in the Catholic countries of Latin America and in the Philippines. The Pope's bitterness, flowing through the vast expanses of the Catholic world, could bring much grief to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) folk in those countries in the short term, but it could also open many opportunities.

As Italian queers have just learned, nothing puts you faster on the map in a Catholic country than incurring the wrath of the big purple bully.

-- Frederick (, August 22, 2000


I thought this one fit quite nicely with the above. (Hope it formats OK...)

Fair Use and all that............

Tuesday September 5 8:58 AM ET
Vatican Rejects Equality of Religions

By VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press Writer

VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Vatican rejected Tuesday what it said are growing attempts to depict all religions as equal, accusing some Catholic theologians of manipulating fundamental truths of the church.

The idea that ``one religion is as good as another'' endangers the church's missionary message, said the 36-page declaration.

``If it is true that the followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the church, have the fullness of the means of salvation,'' said the declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the guardian of church orthodoxy.

Pope John Paul II has made inter-religious dialogue one of the principal goals of his 22-year papacy, but the document made clear that for the Vatican equality refers to the ``personal dignity'' of individuals and not to religious doctrine.

It is the second recent document by the congregation warning against abuses by Catholics in dealings with other religions and denominations.

Italian media have reported the congregation also has warned against the phrase ``sister churches,'' saying that it contradicts the Catholic church's identity as ``mother'' of all churches. That document has not yet been released.

Tuesday's document, and remarks by the congregation's head, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, at a news conference repeatedly referred to a trend toward a ``religious relativism.''

Ratzinger said the ``principle of tolerance and respect for freedom'' promoted by the reforms of the Second Vatican Council are today being ``manipulated' and ``wrongfully surpassed.''

He didn't name any of the errant theologians.

Regarding other Christians, the document said ``there exists a single church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic church, governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.''

But it said ``baptism'' in other denominations ``tends per se toward the full development of life in Christ.''

``The lack of unity among Christians is certainly a wound for the church,'' the document said, saying it hindered ``the complete fulfillment of her universality in history.''

The declaration, a complex theological document, was titled ``On the Unity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church.''

It underlined that it was only reiterating long-held teaching, citing a Second Vatican Council declaration that ``We believe that this one true religion continues to exist in the Catholic and Apostolic Church.''

The Vatican's missionary activity has come under fire in some parts of the world. During a trip to India last year, where he faced protests by some Hindus, the pope called for religious tolerance but said the church had the right to spread its message.

Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore, who is active in dialogue with American Jews, said he didn't expect any problems from the reiteration of the church position. He attended the news conference.


Link to original article: Vatican Rejects Equality of Religions

-- Patricia (, September 05, 2000.


Thanks. You may find the LA Times article about how other world religious leaders are responding to this "bullying" interesting. It even states that Catholic missionaries are subject to harrassment because of their relentless focus on evangelizing and conversion: "Some bishops told John Paul during his visit to India in November that exclusive language about salvation is offensive to Asia's dominant religions--Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam--and provokes violence against Catholic missionaries there. Marco Politi, a papal biographer who reports on the Vatican for the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, said Tuesday's declaration was aimed at shutting off long- standing Catholic theological debate on such questions as whether sacred beliefs or texts of non-Christian religions are inspired by God. 'There are signs that the Vatican is putting on the brakes,' he said. 'The document is a product of fear of the modern world on the part of Vatican traditionalists, who want the next pope to think more like them.'"

-- Frederick (, September 06, 2000.

-- (, September 19, 2001.

Preach it, the Pope is moving his ecunemial hand, to deceive the false religions of the world. Those who follow the truth of the Lord Jesus, shall resist this Satan, antichrist attack on Gods creation. The pope is a worker of iniquity, a white washed tomb whose heart is far from God. We don't need the pope or his ungodly thoughts. We need Gods love, and our cups running over to live. Our minds are our own, we can seek the truth, by in Jesus, study scriptures where ever we are, and our God shall save all who come to his son Jesus, Be encouraged as God is for those who are true!!!

-- Jesus is love (, September 27, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ