No one expects the Spanish Inquisition
But they really ought to, especially since the former head of the Inquisition (or to give it its modern public relations-friendly name, the “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith”), one Mr Ratzinger, is now calling the shots at HQ,
According to the New York Times, Papa Joe has dispatched his minions to the USA to sniff out “evidence of homosexuality” and “dissent from church teaching” in the country’s 229 Roman Catholic seminaries.
The purge will include all homosexuals, whether celibate or not, including anyone who’s ever had gay sex or appears to have “strong homosexual inclinations”.
The American gay news magazine, The Advocate notes that the Church is scapegoating gays because of its failure to act against paedophiles:
The Vatican ordered the seminary review three years ago in response to the clergy sex abuse crisis to look for anything that contributed to the scandal, which has led to more than 11,000 abuse claims in the last five decades.
Last year, direct action group OutRage! confronted Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor during the annual Palm Sunday Procession and laid out the charge:
“Your church protects paedophile priests, while persecuting gay people in loving relationships.”
Of course, the Church isn’t listening.
When I lived in South Africa, I remember chatting to a Catholic Bishop in Cape Town called . It was an open secret that he was gay and a nicer fellow you couldn’t which to speak to. He did a great deal of good work caring for people suffering from Aids – which is rampant in that part of the world. Yet, when it was discovered that he participated in an internet discussion forum for gay clergy, he was purged.
I found this very personal entry in a blog from someone who had been in the Navy with him. A life destroyed and Ratzinger’s clerical sniffer dogs still have the scent of blood.
The New York Times said that speculation on the number for gay priests varied widely between 10% and a staggering 60%.
One anonymous gay priest, who, according to the paper, had been told by his order not to speak out, said the seminary review would demoralize gay priests.
So perhaps it’s unintentionally a positive move after all. As George Broadhead of this parish told the National Secular Society Newsline:
“The pope would be doing these people a favour if he booted them out. It might help them get some self-respect.”