Jul 30, 2009

Papa Ratzi

Having taken a witty potshot at the fashion sense of the present pope in the photo found below, here is a moving comment about Papa Ratzi from gay Theologian, James Alison:

From my perspective, John Paul as a character was high on bluster and sounding firm and certain about everything, and so the quality of divinely-given “rockitude” was rather more difficult to glimpse beneath the showier elements of his own personality until his last weeks, when he gave a glorious witness to the palpable abundance of eternal life in the midst of his failing. But one of the things I especially like about Papa Ratzi is that he is evidently a much more modest, self-effacing and even timid man, and this enables the rock quality, the authentic Petrine touchstone quality, to shine through rather more perceptibly. He knows that it’s not about him, and yet I think that ordinary Catholics in Italy have sensed rather quickly that the Petrine charism, the surety, is alive and shining in him.

See also James Alison's very moving account of his conversion to Catholicism and subsequent journey as an openly gay priest (though he has since left the priesthood) "Is it Ethical to be Catholic?":

Jul 29, 2009

Papa Luciani and Tolerance for Gays?

Taken from Wikipedia:

(Note: These quotes were removed from Wikipedia, August 15, 2009, then restored in an enlarged section, entitled, The Moral Theology of John Paul I. They are currently under review, awaiting confirmation through appropriate citations.)

Sexual orientation

In 1941, he wrote a thesis, Strategy of a Strange War (currently in the Apostolic Library), in which he discussed human sexuality after observing the sexual behavior of Italian prisoners. He concluded that sexual orientation was essentially unchangeable, and that it was not uncommon for heterosexual male prisoners to engage in same-sex acts, thus illustrating a distinction between sexual behavior and sexual orientation. During his time as Patriarch of Venice he became particularly outspoken on issues of sexuality, and controversially advocated greater tolerance and acceptance in the Church for gay men and women.

LGBT adoption

He permitted the adoption of children from orphanages in his diocese by homosexual couples reasoning in a letter to a colleague, "that we have found that homosexuals will take handicapped and less than healthy and attractive children. Most importantly they will take bastards." It was his lobbying in the Italian Parliament that made it legal for single persons to adopt children in Italy, directly accepting that this would include homosexuals.In a letter to his mother he bemoaned that "There is something terribly wrong with a society that thinks one's sex is what makes one a good parent".

Gay civil unions

Before his death Pope Paul VI even permitted Luciani to address the Vatican cardinals on the possibility the Church might encourage homosexuals to enter into long-term loving relationships. This received a poor reception, but in conclusion he stated that, "The day is not far off when we will have to answer to these people who through the years have been humiliated, whose rights have been ignored, whose human dignity has been offended, their identity denied and their liberty oppressed. What is more we will have to answer to the God who created them"

A spirited discussion of these quotes and their implications can be found at the Wild Reed Blog here.

Jul 28, 2009

I think it is significant that Pope John Paul I, as a bishop, published a paper examining what he called the disproportionate number of pedophiles among the Roman Catholic clergy. He also speculated that a number of closeted gay men in the clergy were drawn to the vocation because they were transsexuals or transvestites. They were attracted by the robes and vestments. (My source for this, however, is the very dubious self-published little book, The Revolutionary Life of John Paul by Lucien Gregoire, which has so many flights of fancy it is difficult to credit.) I append these photos without comment, except to point out the now-famous Prada red shoes:

A photo of the long forgotten Pope John Paul I is in the heading, patron of gay Catholics everywhere (in my humble opinion) and the patron of this blog. He lived a short but symbolically significant 33 days of his papacy before dying under mysterious circumstances which have never been adequately explained. Some believe he was murdered, a view I tend to share, though we will never know for certain. According to credible witnesses, he would most certainly have moved to soften the Church's position on birth control (leaving it an open question, rather than formally reversing it), and in a like manner would also have moved to alter the church's position on homosexuality and women's ordination. However, whatever decisions he might have made, they would have been done in a collegial and prudent manner and would have taken years to implement.

While I have moved far beyond the limited confines of present day traditional Roman Catholicism, I still retain spiritual ties to the tradition which was my home for many years and which birthed my own mystical faith. I was present in Rome for the death of Pope Paul VI, a death also clouded in controversy, remained in Rome for the election of John Paul I and was present in St. Peter's Square when this truly humble man overturned nearly a thousand years of precedent and walked out of St. Peters for his installation mass instead of being carried on the traditional catafalque (sedia gestatoria). A new era had begun. With his mysterious death, all hopes for reform of the institutional Catholic system entered a deep spiritual night and we remain in this night to this day. But this is not a statement of pessimism or despair, but rather one of careful discernment. The significance of his death and all that we have lost because of it is that the Spirit in her infinite wisdom is purifying us of our inordinate attachment to religious institutions and authority and weaning us from over dependence upon false idols of the sacred. We have been taught only so painfully the fallibility of religious leaders and institutions. At this point in history the Spirit of the Sacred is moving many of us beyond these limited, outmoded structures into a new maturity and a new age.