Monday, March 8, 2010

OMG check out that huge plank in the Vatican's eye!

From the New York Times:

A singer in an elite Vatican choir and a jailed Italian public works executive who served as a papal usher were let go by the Vatican this week amid allegations that they were involved in what prosecutors believe was an organized network of gay prostitution, Italian news media reported.

Ghinedu Ehiem, a Nigerian who sang in a choir that performs at St. Peter’s Basilica, was dismissed after the center-left daily newspaper La Repubblica reported Wednesday that he had procured men, including seminarians, for Angelo Balducci, a former member of the board of Italy’s public works department who was arrested and jailed last month on corruption charges.

After his arrest, Mr. Balducci was removed from his Vatican post in The Gentlemen of His Holiness, an elite group of ushers who serve at the Apostolic Palace when visiting dignitaries meet the pope, the ANSA news agency reported Thursday, citing Vatican sources.
Raise your hand if any of this surprises you. Yeah, that's what I thought. I suppose what's most shocking about this recent revelation of sub-holy behavior on the part of the Catholic Church is that the prostitutes in question were actually adults.* But seriously, here's what Ratzinger had to say about the gay back in 1986 (back when he was just Cardinal Nazipants):
The Church, obedient to the Lord who founded her and gave to her the sacramental life, celebrates the divine plan of the loving and live-giving union of men and women in the sacrament of marriage. It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good. A person engaging in homosexual behaviour therefore acts immorally.

To choose someone of the same sex for one's sexual activity is to annul the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals, of the Creator's sexual design. Homosexual activity is not a complementary union, able to transmit life; and so it thwarts the call to a life of that form of self-giving which the Gospel says is the essence of Christian living. This does not mean that homosexual persons are not often generous and giving of themselves; but when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.
Now, there are those who might argue that the Church is not being entirely hypocritical in this situation, as it promptly removed both the man-loving usher and his choir-boy pimp from their positions. But those people would be wrong. The fact is that the Church is full of gay people. There are communities of gay Catholics who, unable to come out to their parishes (and often families), find each other. These communities are not often talked about, nor are they known to the greater public, but they don't exist without notice. In my life, I've known gay nuns, gay cantors, and a whole host of lay gays who actively participated in both Church and gay life. These are people of faith who, had they revealed their sexuality to the community at large, would have been removed from their positions within their own churches faster than you can say "not my Pope."

Which makes sense, of course, because the Catholic Church condemns homosexual behavior. And really, if that were the whole story, it would be fine. The Catholic Church has a right to hold its particular definition of sin and enforce it. As discussed in the previous post, however, the Vatican chooses to enforce its definition of sin selectively. You'd be hard-pressed to find a person, even within the Church, who would argue that consensual gay sex between two adults is a worse sin than an adult using his power within a church community to sexually abuse children. Why then would the Church, a supposed pillar of morality, choose to immediately fire two lay participants guilty of the former while willfully protecting scores of priests guilty of the latter? WTF is even up with that?

It becomes more and more clear to me every day that the singular purpose of the Catholic Church is to maintain its own hierarchy. The Vatican clearly does not care about lay people. After all, they tell us from birth that we are filled with sin and need to atone; they condemn practices associated with good sexual health (the kind that exists in reality); and they sit in what is perhaps the grandest palace on Earth knowing full well that if they sold off their vast collection of priceless art and artifacts, they could do a lot more in their so-called quest for social justice than they've ever been able to do in the past.

No, the Vatican cares about itself. It cares about the priests who are willing to support the hierarchy, even if they can't fight the urge to rape babies now and again, and works to suppress the members of the clergy who don't (like how it's investigating America's nuns for being too awesome).** So while they, the members of the Vatican, sit pretty in Rome engaging in and indulging all kinds of unsavory behavior, the rest of us are condemned and ostracized for simply being who we are. This is not the Church in which I thought I grew up.

Matthew 7:1-5 says:
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
You know the Bible, Pope Nazipants, and so do your cronies. Perhaps, then, it's time that you heeded some of its more relevant passages. WTFWJD?


**Kind of like the Mafia


Seattle Mama said...

Is it really that shocking that the Vatican would shut down a prostitution ring (homo- or heterosexual) operating in it's ranks? I don't see any hypocrisy here.

Jocelyn said...

I tried to explain why it's weird, but perhaps I didn't do that great a job. The issue here isn't that they shut down a prostitution ring (which, actually, they didn't do. They just fired two people involved in it). The issue here is that lay people participating in for-profit sex between consenting adults is apparently a much bigger problem in the eyes of the Vatican than the epidemic of priestly pedophilia.

If they axed all those countless priests who abused who knows how many children the way they got rid of these two dudes, there would be no issue at all. Unfortunately, however, that's not the way the Vatican is handling things. The priests enjoy the endless protection of the Church while these guys are thrown to the lions for what is, in my eyes, not as bad a thing to do as molesting kids. It's selective enforcement of the law, which in any governing body points to corruption.

Seattle Mama said...

This is part a huge investigation into the Mafia, the Italian government - it pretty much goes all the way to Berlusconi's door - it wasn't a Vatican investigation that uncovered the sex thing. Anyway, the two issues aren't fungible, the Vatican is a pretty big organization. They probably have enough people to work on two things at one.

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