Notes The Advocate . And yes, that just about covers it in the short run. The long run is bit different.
Ah the 70’s! Used to run into priests all the time at the baths back then. Some were remarkably good in bed. Others so terrified they just sat there babbling. Being a polite young man I put on my towel and slipped out of the room quietly without further comment.
The church itself never really interested me, save as spectacle. (Great sets, geat costunes, the music is beautiful, but the book needs work. ) And that’s largely because the Sky Pixie held no special place in heart. And as I never went to Catholic school I wasn’t subject to priestly rape. I could tell how unhappy they all were, however and how pathologically mean the nuns who taught after school Catechism classes. Not very good advertising for a religion. By the time I’d come of sexual age I’d long put its nonsense aside, save as camp –most beautifull rendered in Ronald Firbank’s masterpiece Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli
The Church itself, as The Advocate notes, had no sense of humor, particularly under the guidance of the just-departed.
The Church’s own “living out” was to be rigorously ignored. hence the cascade of priestly corpses produced in the early years of the AIDS epidemic were buried lickety-split, with all traces of the deceased’s sexual histories buried with them.
Wow. Faster-acting than Original Sin !
The “risk” of love. The “risk” of human happiness. The “risk” of a life well-lived in Truth and Honesty.
It is legitimate and necessary to ask, “shouldn’t his holiness put down the pocket mirror?”
The Catholics of Boston, Ground Zero for the long-simmering pedophile priest crisis that finally split wide and very publically open only a few short years ago, would certainly seem to think so.
But, Dr. Post said, “His behavior in response to the sex abuse crisis disappointed many Catholics. He seemed very reluctant to remove Cardinal Law or accept Cardinal Law’s resignation. His personal relationship with the cardinal seemed to stand in the way of his being willing to address the problems of the archdiocese.”
Dr. Post said Boston Catholics appreciated some of what the pope eventually did, including meeting with American cardinals about the crisis.
“But when he brought Cardinal Law back to Rome and gave him the appointment at Mary Major, that was more than puzzling – it was deeply disturbing to Catholics in Boston,” Dr. Post said. “It seemed that he was being rewarded for bad behavior, and run-of-the-mill ordinary Catholics just saw this as de facto an insult to the people of Boston.”
Rather than face the music, and quite possibly prison, Law was rewarded with a more exalted office at the vatican, where he will shortly vote for the next Pope. Neat, hunh?
But Bernie McDaid, who said he was abused by the Rev. Joseph E. Birmingham, was one of those wrestling with conflicting feelings. Father Birmingham, who died in 1989, was accused of molesting dozens of boys.
“I do not dislike the pope personally – he’s probably a good man – but as far as this issue is concerned, there’s been so much misunderstanding and fear,” said Mr. McDaid, who along with a group of victims sought a meeting with the pope two years ago, and instead met with a Vatican official in Rome.
“They raped and robbed my soul, and there’s almost a shame and a fear to acknowledge this and deal directly with this issue,” he said. “I certainly felt stonewalled all the way up from the Boston diocese to Rome. I don’t want to come off as callous and full of malice. But I had personally hoped that this pope would have been the one to come out publicly on this issue.”
Father Cuenin said he expected that the new pope would be “a little more moderate, and perhaps someone who’s not going to be pope for a long time.”
“They have a saying in Italy now that the new pope will be old, Italian and not like to fly,” he said. “Sometimes a shorter papacy is desired so the church can shift gears a little bit. And there is another saying that after a thin pope, you need a fat pope.”
Or maybe No Pope at all.
Fellini, deeply marked by Catholicism, yet proundly irreverant towards it, begins his film by replacing a statue of Christ with a statue-like pseudo-oriental dancer in a Roman night club. This cheapjack deity is himself a stand-in — marking time for the appearance of a True Goddess, Anita Eckberg. But no sooner has she departed than we’re whisked away to the pandemonium surrounding a phony “visitation of the Virgin” that looks like a dry run for the Terri Schaivo uproar in which we were asked to believe that twitching corpse was a real live woman, and that a cerebral cortex was as optional as a tonsil. Catholic priests littered that Felliniesque scene too. But they barely kept pace with “fundamentalist” hysterics and right-wing snake-oil slaesmen of all sorts. Even a corpse-coveting Jesse Jackson joined the fray for good measure.
Thankfully that circus has left town, though its stench remains. And so does the stench of horror wafting across the middle east where murderous adepts who claim Islam as their calling murder each other as enthusiastically as they do the troops sent to do the bidding of BushCo’s oil-lusting business masters.
But that’s a much larger subject. Let’s think instead of the Pope whose expiration wasn’t as happy as that of Firbank’s Cardinal Pirelli, expiring froma heart attack brought on by chasing an altar boy too strenuously.
Somebody leave the cage open.