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"We don't have any explanation of what 'gay lobby' means"
June 12, 2013 8:04 AM   Subscribe

This past Sunday, while privately meeting with a delegation of clerics from Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious, Pope Francis reportedly confirmed the existence of a "gay lobby" within the Curia. The delegation's notes of the meeting were published by Reflection and Liberation, a Chilean website focusing on liberation theology. While the Pope's statements were not public remarks, the question puzzling most Vatican watchers is not whether he made the remarks, but rather what does gay lobby in the Vatican mean? Rocco Palmo from the blog Whispers in the Loggia. Columnist Jimmy Akin from the conservative National Catholic Register.

The mention of a "gay lobby" in the Vatican appeared earlier in the year when Pope Benedict resigned.
posted by TrolleyOffTheTracks (49 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I imagine a gay lobby would have really nice decor.
posted by ShakeyJake at 8:11 AM on June 12, 2013 [24 favorites]


"Pray for me that I make the fewest mistakes possible."

When he took the job, did no-one mention to him that he was infallible?
posted by monkey closet at 8:22 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


He's only infallible when he goes ex cathedra which is kind of like super saiyan
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:24 AM on June 12, 2013 [54 favorites]


I imagine a gay lobby would have really nice decor.

Dan Brown novels would be infinitely more interesting if the ultimate goal of the global religious conspiracy was to redecorate.

(That hat? With those robes, and that staff? Oh honey, no.)
posted by mhoye at 8:24 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fifty years from now, somebody is going to be able to make the best TV show about the ins and outs of the late 20th century/early 21st century Vatican. But like living through the Mad Men era, it sort of sucks for the oppressed to have to live through it.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Akin might have created my least favorite listicle in the history of the Internet with his "Pope Francis and the Vatican "gay lobby"—10 things to know and share"
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:24 AM on June 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


monkey closet: "When he took the job, did no-one mention to him that he was infallible?"

And what's the deal with mattress tags, amirite?
posted by boo_radley at 8:25 AM on June 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


Have you even seen those shoes?

Charles P. Pierce: The Gay Lobby In The Vatican
I would like to believe that this revelation will lead the pope to the conclusion that a vast, secretive bureaucracy modeled on a Renaissance court is anathema to spirituality and a positive breeder reactor for intrigue and criminality
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:25 AM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


In other words: You guys better knock it off. You need to go to ground and shut down the network.

This could be understood both in terms of illicit sexual activity by members of the network and any attempts to exercise influence by it.


I think we can all agree it's very important that these gay men stop having gay sex with each other. No wait, the other thing. Unlikely. It's very unlikely
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:27 AM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


mhoye: "Dan Brown novels would be infinitely more interesting if the ultimate goal of the global religious conspiracy was to redecorate. "

In Portugal there's a gay lobby; it's called Opus Gay. (sorry, the site is in Portuguese only)
posted by chavenet at 8:29 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, Jimmy Akin might have created my least favorite listicle in the history of the Internet with his "Pope Francis and the Vatican "gay lobby"—10 things to know and share"

I seriously considered putting an "Offensive" warning at the end of that link.
posted by TrolleyOffTheTracks at 8:29 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I imagine a gay lobby would have really nice decor.

I love what you've done with this chapel...
posted by y2karl at 8:32 AM on June 12, 2013


Could we stop with the fag jokes? Jokes about how gay people are really good decorators are still fag jokes.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:41 AM on June 12, 2013 [50 favorites]


TrolleyOffTheTracks: "I seriously considered putting an "Offensive" warning at the end of that link."

I appreciate that. But of course that would made me click it even faster. Like that albino in The DaVinci Code I'm a glutton for punishment.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:49 AM on June 12, 2013


In response, Susan Calman (@susancalman) has started her own homosexual cabal. (Sorry, don't know how to direct link a specific tweet). She notes that "Mine is a very liberal and positive homosexual cabal. We'll probably just spend our days watching box sets and complementing each other." Also "1) There will be T shirts 2) No subscription Fee 3) Heterosexuals welcome 4) Cats welcome." Equal marriage, cakes and biscuits will also be on the agenda.

I think this is the kind of gay lobby we can all get behind. (She's clarified: dogs are also welcome).
posted by jb at 8:49 AM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


I misread this at first and thought you were calling the National Catholic Reporter conservative. Was about to post a bewildered reply, then realized you were talking about the Register. Carry on.
posted by duffell at 8:52 AM on June 12, 2013


A gay lobby? Sort of on the way into a gay hotel where the gay folk can all sort of hang out and be fabulous, I would have thought.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 8:54 AM on June 12, 2013


When he took the job, did no-one mention to him that he was infallible?

It's super-meta-ironic to see people joking about the doctrine of papal infallibility when they don't understand it.

The Pope is only considered to be infallible when speaking Ex Cathedra, and this has happened...twice.
posted by DWRoelands at 8:58 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


It says a lot about Metafilter (or at least the threads I hang out in) that I think the two most useful subject-matter additions to the FAQs would be "Trans 101" and "When is the Pope fallible?"
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:02 AM on June 12, 2013 [20 favorites]


Fifty years from now, somebody is going to be able to make the best TV show about the ins and outs of the late 20th century/early 21st century Vatican. But like living through the Mad Men era, it sort of sucks for the oppressed to have to live through it.

The Borgias reboot. Based on JJ Abrams current trajectory the pope will be a newborn and the Vatican will be a nightclub..
posted by srboisvert at 9:03 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


<drstrangelove>Gentlemen, there's no loving one another in the Gay Lobby!</drstrangelove>
posted by zippy at 9:03 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


"13. Is the Pope infallible in the woods?"
posted by cortex at 9:04 AM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Pope is only considered to be infallible when speaking Ex Cathedra

Point taken, and I apologise. But I am now confused - your second link begins 'The exercise of infallibility takes several forms...' and goes on to say that 'Popes have made many, many infallible pronouncements, without making ex cathedra statements'. What have I missed?
posted by monkey closet at 9:04 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


On first reading I thought "Ahh, finally, there's a group of priests pushing for gay rights and acceptance within the walls of the Catholic church"

Turns out it's priests blackmailing others for power-- Jesus would be proud.
posted by Static Vagabond at 9:05 AM on June 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


It looks to me that the "gay lobby" is probably nothing more than a convenient boogeyman to blame for any particular mishap. As an institution with a large proportion of deeply closeted men, the idea of a gay lobby becomes ridiculously difficult to define.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:08 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm really confused by the specific term "gay lobby". Is this a translation problem? Do we have the original untranslated quote (in Latin? Spanish? Italian?)

In American English, "lobby" implies a political group that's organized and fighting for its common interest. A "Vatican gay lobby" would be a group of out gay bishops who are trying to change Catholicism's anti-gay policies. But that's not what's alleged, is it? Instead we have articles saying " blackmail was taking place within the Vatican against high-ranking prelates who are gay"; that's not a "gay lobby", that's a group of victims. The salacious Italian papers talk about high ranking Vatican officials hanging out at gay bathhouses, procuring boys. But that's not a "gay lobby" either, that's just powerful horny men getting laid.

Bigot Jimmy Akin seems just as confused as me, so we at least have that in common.
posted by Nelson at 9:08 AM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]




The Pope is only considered to be infallible when speaking Ex Cathedra, and this has happened...twice.

Your statement is contradicted in your own "twice" link. Ex cathedra may have only happened twice, but it is apparently not required for infallibility.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 9:31 AM on June 12, 2013


Basically, monkey closet, you have a couple of different levels of teachings. You've got your ordinary, everyday, fallible teachings (ordinary magisterium). You've got your infallible teachings of the church (ordinary and universal magisterium, the sacred magisterium type A), and then you've got your papal ex cathedra teachings and church council edicts (extraordinary magisterium, the sacred magisterium type B).

So, the idea is, you've got some everyday stuff that the church might be wrong on. Then you have some higher-level stuff that the church as a whole cannot be wrong on (these are matters of faith/morals, not customs). Then you have some specific edicts from either the pope or a general church council, that cannot be wrong. As noted, this third kind is quite rare. The Catholic church has had 21 valid councils ever; there have been a very small number of papal ex cathedra statements - at least two, arguably as many as seven.

So, the upshot is: the pope speaks on his own infallibly only very, very rarely. The pope speaks infallibly as a member of the church relating its established doctrine more frequently. Wise-asses are usually talking about the first kind.

You want to check out the articles on magisterium and infallibility of the church for more.

Not a Catholic, just a pedant.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:35 AM on June 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Jokes about how gay people are really good decorators are still fag jokes.

Of course. However, I use the following bench-mark: is it a joke George Takei could make and laugh about? I could of course be very wrong about this, but the decor joke is one I could imagine him making. Still a fag joke, but a funny one.

But, not being gay myself, I claim no authority.
posted by DreamerFi at 9:35 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


A load of guys who don't make love to woman and have fancy capes and gowns and who are really into this guy who hung around with these other twelve guys all the time?
posted by Damienmce at 9:40 AM on June 12, 2013


A load of guys who don't make love to woman and have fancy capes and gowns and who are really into this guy who hung around with these other twelve guys all the time?

i hardly see what my local LARP has to do with any of this
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:41 AM on June 12, 2013 [29 favorites]


The idea that the infalliability gets switched on and off just makes it more bizarre.
posted by anazgnos at 9:43 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well - and again, I am not Catholic, I'm actually an atheist - I think the idea is that there are specific times when God has chosen to lead the church (or the pope specifically) on certain important issues. And not so much on less important things that humans can work out for themselves.

I mean, as long as the pope is a human, he can be fallible. Humor about how he infallibly orders the right pizza toppings misunderstands the whole concept.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:49 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that there needs to be a serious discussion among Catholics on a very fundamental non-understanding regarding how sex works. I think that a lot of people who go into the priesthood are confused about their sexual desire or feel devestatingly guilty about it (often because of the teaching of the church) often because they are sexually different than other people. And the solution is repress repress repress. And then you put these people with no sexual outlet in charge of a bunch of kids. No wonder bad things happen! And these are the leaders of the Catholic brand of how to live!

It's really hard to take people who pride themselves on the ignorance of sex (to demonstrably tragic effect) seriously about sex or really human life in general. It's just so sad.
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 10:12 AM on June 12, 2013


We can take this derail about papal infallibility to this previous thread, which explains it very well. (I'm going to take credit for it, because my idiotic comment kicked it off.)

As for gays in the Vatican, I have a friend who recommended I read a few novels by Roger Peyrefitte, the so-called "Pope of the Homosexuals". As a straight Jew, this friends was my area expert on homosexuality and Catholicism, so since then I've assumed that there a plenty of homosexuals in the Catholic church.

I'd pass on the recommendation of Peyrefitte, who is a really enjoyable writer, from an aristocratic world that is nothing like mine. I wouldn't expect you to just take my opinion, so how about "In a 2012 essay ... Stephen Fry mentions that Peyrefitte’s novels The Exile of Capri and Special Friendships were "unforgettable, transformative books" for him."
posted by benito.strauss at 10:17 AM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jokes about how gay people are really good decorators are still fag jokes.

What about jokes about our need for our mother to buy us a cardinal's hat? Are they OK?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:18 AM on June 12, 2013


> Could we stop with the fag jokes? Jokes about how gay people are really good decorators are still fag jokes.

I guess that depends on what you mean by "fag jokes." I think there is a distinction to be made between humor which trades on hackneyed and perhaps tiresome stereotypes and humor in which gays are actually the butt of the joke. It's a fuzzy gray line, to be sure, and context and audience matter, too.
posted by desuetude at 10:29 AM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not many people know that the pope is also infallible when he raps.
posted by fleacircus at 10:35 AM on June 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


The "gay lobby" talk is intriguing and good for a laugh or two, but it's a red herring, or rather a symptom of a much deeper problem--namely, the deeply dysfunctional nature of the Vatican government. There was a Fresh Air interview from earlier this year, around the time when Benedict resigned, that covered these issues well. Basically, you have a literally medieval governance structure coupled with modern Italian attitudes toward management, and the result is not only blackmail but also money laundering in the Vatican bank, government by patronage as opposed to competence, and a host of other problems. And the Catholic churches in other countries suffer from many of the same things, if the Economist is to be believed.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:15 AM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Of course. However, I use the following bench-mark: is it a joke George Takei could make and laugh about? I could of course be very wrong about this, but the decor joke is one I could imagine him making. Still a fag joke, but a funny one.


As a gay man, I think this is a fabulous benchmark. I think it's entirely possible to make a joke about decorating and laugh with the gay community, rather than at us. Senses of humor will vary by person, though, and that's okay too.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 11:45 AM on June 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


The post made on the Chilean website Reflection and Liberation has been translated. via NYT
posted by TrolleyOffTheTracks at 11:54 AM on June 12, 2013


"I would like to believe that this revelation will lead the pope to the conclusion that a vast, secretive bureaucracy modeled on a Renaissance court is anathema to spirituality and a positive breeder reactor ..."
I think there's very little chance of them breeding anything, Charles.

Anyway, I imagine the gay lobby to be just the other side of the flaming porte-cochère.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:27 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Of course. However, I use the following bench-mark: is it a joke George Takei could make and laugh about? I could of course be very wrong about this, but the decor joke is one I could imagine him making. Still a fag joke, but a funny one.

Problem: You are not George Takei. This is unfortunate for many reasons but let me focus on two.

Subproblem 1) You are straight. Joking about stereotypes that have been applied to you is almost always funny. Jokes based on stereotypes about other people often sound a lot like the slurs they've heard all their lives. That sort of joke needs to be carefully crafted to make it clear that you're laughing with not laughing at. It's harder to make a joke like that genuinely funny -- not impossible, but it should at least be considered a higher difficulty setting.

Subproblem 2) You are almost certainly not as funny as George Takei.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:46 PM on June 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


Not a Catholic, just a pedant.

So, a Jesuit?

Not a Catholic here being taken as ornery and likely to think the Pope is wrong about lots of things
posted by zippy at 1:22 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow, true on both subproblems.
posted by DreamerFi at 1:25 PM on June 12, 2013


That sort of joke needs to be carefully crafted to make it clear that you're laughing with not laughing at.

That's the Takei-away message.
posted by zippy at 1:29 PM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


From the Jimmy Akin link: "One possible member of the “gay lobby” was outed by the Italian media in 2007. He was swiftly dismissed from his position."

As opposed to the hundreds of clergy found to be molesting children who were merely transferred to equivalent positions in other locations.

note: based on my personal anecdotal contact with the Catholic Church, starting with attending a Catholic High School as a 'Non-Cath' (explained in other comments I've made here), I generally consider the Pope and his entourage having the same Moral Standing as that other Mafia. There are many people in the Catholic Church doing good things, but I try to remind them that their Management really does not approve of such things.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:55 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]




I think that there needs to be a serious discussion among Catholics on a very fundamental non-understanding regarding how sex works. I think that a lot of people who go into the priesthood are confused about their sexual desire or feel devestatingly guilty about it (often because of the teaching of the church) often because they are sexually different than other people. And the solution is repress repress repress.

I know someone who did enter the seminary with a serious intent towards the priesthood. (He ultimately didn't do it, but spent 2 years in training.) He says that before he was accepted, he was given a staggering array of psychological tests. I would be tremendously surprised if those tests didn't include an analysis of how one related to one's own sexuality.

And to beat people to what I imagine the next counterpoint is - many of the perpetrators of abuse are older men, who entered the seminary in the 50's or 60's, whereas the person I know had entered the seminary in the late 80's. So while it may have been the case in the past that some people who enter the priesthood were conflicted about sex, such a person would at least have a harder time getting into the priesthood now, I would wager. (Or, the powers that be are keeping a closer eye on them at least.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:05 PM on June 15, 2013


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