In a notable contribution to a document on LGBT discrimination and belief for the UN Human Rights Commission, Krzysztof Charamsa lays out all the ways in which the Catholic Church actively discriminates against LGBTI Catholics. It’s not comfortable reading.
One of the key points in my own thinking about the Catholic Church and queer Catholics, came when I heard Charamsa speak at the 2019 conference of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups in Gdansk. Like many others, I’ve been delighted by the notable change in pastoral tone coming from the church, ever since Pope Francis took on the see of Rome. Charamsa’s talk in Gdansk however, was a sobering reminder that notwithstanding the changes in pastoral tone, core doctrines remain unchanged – and these can be extremely damaging, even dangerous, to the emotional, spiritual and even physical health of LGBT Catholics.
In a new interview, a former Vatican official has shed light on how church offices in Rome function and the alarmist posture which church officials have reportedly taken against gender and sexuality issues. Today and tomorrow, Bondings 2.0 will highlight some key points from a much longer interview with the former official that you can read here.
For many years, Krzysztof Charamsa was a priest involved in the inner workings of the Vatican. He worked for both the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as second secretary of the International Theological Commission, as well as teaching at Rome’s Gregorian University. But in 2015, he came out publicly as a partnered gay man in advance of the Synod on the Family. He was immediately removed from his Vatican posts and from the priesthood. To read more about his story, click here.
Charamsa shared information and insights about his time at the Vatican with the online journal Religion and Gender. He spoke about church officials’ ideas about “gender ideology,” their lack of contemporary knowledge, the role of Pope Francis, what he thinks LGBT Catholics should currently be doing, and more.
Full report: Bondings 2.0
Laurent Stefanini’s nomination as ambassador to the Holy See was stonewalled by RomeFrance ended a year-long standoff with the Vatican on Wednesday by announcing that Laurent Stefanini, a gay diplomat whose nomination as ambassador to the Holy See was stonewalled by Rome, had been named the new French representative to UNESCO.
The decision, a serious loss of face for the increasingly beleaguered President François Hollande, was made public in a terse sentence at the end of a communiqué listing decisions taken at the weekly cabinet meeting. It made no mention of the drama that has surrounded the case.It was also a personal defeat for Stefanini, 55, a practising Catholic and deputy head of the French mission to the Vatican who is a respected diplomat and was reported to have the personal support of France’s top Curia cardinal, Jean-Louis Tauran, and Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris.
A news story that sounds like the plot of a Dan Brown novel has been making headlines around the globe as it promotes the idea that Pope Benedict XVI was supposedly forced to resign by a group of gay prelates in the Vatican.
The Guardian newspaper reported:
“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.”
While such a story could be true, the sensationalism, coupled with the paucity of facts, and being based on a “secret” document, all inspire serious doubts about its legitimacy.
Veteran church observer David Gibson downplays the possibility of the report’s veracity on his Religion News Service blog:
“I’m one of those who would say this is pretty massively overplayed. For one thing, Benedict’s resignation was most certainly the result of numerous factors, mainly revolving around the internal problems of the Vatican, of which sexual shenanigans were likely one — but hardly the only one, or even the principal one. His advancing age was the element that pushed it all to the brink.”
Reports such as this one, based on little fact, are dangerous because they perpetuate a myth that gay people are to blame for anything wrong or unusual in the church–the way that gay priests were scapegoated for the sexual abuse crisis. Furthermore, it paints gay people as manipulative, power-hungry, clandestine.
The tragedy is that such myths will continue as long as gay people serving in the church must do so in secrecy. By maintaining such a repressive atmosphere around LGBT issues, the Vatican has helped to foster a climate of suspicion and fear which paves the way for such speculation. Could a “gay lobby” exist in the Vatican? Given the repressive atmosphere, it seems very unlikely that any gay priest or prelate would have the courage to acknowledge his sexual orientation to another priest or prelate.
The sorry scandal of this story, which could be lost in the sensationalism around gay issues, is that power-mongering does indeed exist so blatantly at the Vatican. Whether by gay men or straight men, this power-mongering seriously harms the church’s mission and credibility in the world.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
via Bondings 2.0.
I agree absolutely that these headlines are sensationalist and should be treated with caution. I think it’s absolutely true that there are gay bishops and cardinals at the Vatican, and that some of them are sexually active – just as many priests are gay everywhere, and many priests everywhere have sexual lives, sometimes openly, more usually hidden. But allegations that these are tied up with blackmail, or that the papal resignation was precipitated by blackmail, are no more than rumours, and could be based on no more than mudslinging in the dirty political games to win curial influence. Probably the most important lesson to be drawn from the story, is the urgency of doing away with the ridiculous rule on compulsory celibacy, and an acceptance that some people (and clerics) are gay. When openness is not scandalous, there’s no possibility of blackmail.
It’s also important to note that the La Repubblica report included a much more serious allegation, of widespread financial skulduggery, that most of the sensationalist reports of a gay cabal have totally ignored.
- Gay Men at the Vatican Are Giving the Rest of Us a Bad Name (thewildreed.blogspot.com)
- Pope’s resignation tied to blackmailed gay-lobby within the Vatican: Italian newspaper (news.nationalpost.com)
- The Red Prada Shoe Drops? (dish.andrewsullivan.com)
La Repubblica claim in an internal report, commissioned by Benedict XVI, the pope is leaving his post over the ‘gay lobby’
21 FEBRUARY 2013 | BY JOE MORGAN
An Italian newspaper is blaming the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on the ‘gay influence’ within the Vatican.
Referring to an internal report prepared by three senior cardinals, La Repubblica claims there was an ‘inappropriate influence’ by gay priests in internal Holy See affairs.
Filed by cardinals Julian Herranz, Josef Tomko and Salvatore De Giorgi, it was commissioned by Benedict himself.
The newspaper suggests when Pope Benedict saw the report back in December, it hardened his resolve to quit as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
In the 300-page report, it speaks of ‘Impropriam Influentiam’ on the part of various lobbies within the Vatican, including some of a ‘worldly nature’.
The Italian newspaper specifically referred to Angelo Balducci, who was accused of being a member of a ‘gay ring’ active within the Vatican, as well as preying on choral boys three years ago.
The internal report was commissioned after the so-called ‘Vatileaks scandal’, which ended with the arrest and conviction of the Pope’s butler Paolo Gabriele last year. He was found guilty of having stolen confidential documents from the papal apartment.
La Repubblica did not name its Vatican source, and did not provide a direct quotation from any part of the report.
Speaking to Gay Star News, a Vatican spokesman said they had no comment to make on the allegations.
The report comes as there is wild speculation on whether there is a ‘real’ reason behind the resignation of the pope, the first in nearly 600 years.
While the 85-year-old has cited his age and ill health, experts say his resignation comes against a backdrop of controversy over his extremist stance on homosexuality and, separately, the pedophile priest scandals that have rocked the church.
In the past, Benedict has called gay people a ‘defection of human nature’ and a ‘threat to world peace’.
via Gay Star News.