Monday, 13 December 2010

I like the Rose vestments for Gaudete - does that make me gay?!

Facing a mental block today I had no concept of what I might write then, wham, along comes Jackie Parkes of Lead Kindly Light and biffs me one right between the eyes.
I just did not see it coming.
Jackie and I have been having learned debates regarding the Ordinary Form of Mass as opposed to the Extraordinary Form; I think we have arrived at a middle ground which is a good thing, or, at least, I thought we had until I received the googly from her.
It was a link to a site called Pray Tell. This carried a piece from another site that reviewed a book written by  David Berger and in it he apparently paints (sorry) a strange picture. His book is called "The Holy Illusion. Being a Gay Theologian in the Catholic Church" Hmmm, well it had my attention but for all the wrong reasons; I was beginning to be a shade confused, an increasing problem these days. What was a review of such a book doing on a Catholic blogsite?
Now the first review led to a second one on a book by Michael Meier called, wait for it....."The Perfumed Traditionalist". What a great title for a blog! I can see myself as a Perfumed Traditionalist, it has a nice ring to it, overtones of intellectual capacity (much needed) and a hint of mystery. But wait......I already am having an attack of the vapours, what I am reading fills me full of a mixture of hysterical laughter coupled with an urge to regurgitate my muesli and yoghurt (actually it's bran flakes but I'm a bit of a social climber).
Now I could attempt a learned discourse on these two treasured tomes but, instead I am going to go for the Father Z treatment and have a bit of a fisk but only on the Berger book. Those who are interested to see the whole shebang can visit the Pray Tell site.

So here is the pasted review with my comments in red.

900450David Berger: Der heilige Schein. Als schwuler Theologe in der katholischen Kirche. (“The Holy Illusion. Being a Gay Theologian in the Catholic Church.”) Ullstein-Verlag, Berlin 2010. 300 pages.
The conservative turn under Pope Benedict XVI is seen especially clearly in the return to the old liturgy and in sharpened homophobia what exactly does he mean by sharpened or the innuendo that there is an increase in homophobia- talk about'when did you stop beating your wife'. In his book, German theologian David Berger explains what the one has to do with the other. Der heilige Schein (“The Holy Illusion”) may well disturb church officials more than they will ever admit. Well, it disturbs me alright.
Until recently David Berger was the theologian on the pedestal in traditionalist circles: publisher and chief editor of Theologisches, the most important conservative theological journal in Germany; professor at the Papal Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas; reader for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and member of the order of knights of Jasna Gora Gosh. The theologian, born in 1968, had access to the ultraconservative networks of the St. Pius which one? society, the Legionaries of Christ, and Opus Dei. He owed his rapid career rise in the Roman male-only now there's a surprise church establishment to his intelligence. And his athletic youthfulness. Oh, please
Bound by Tender Kisses
As his homosexuality and his life with a partner at his side became public, his career ended abruptly. But not abruptly enough apparently He resigned from the journal in April in anticipation of being thrown out. His outing in the Frankfurtuer Rundschau newspaper under the title “I cannot keep silence any longer” led to his expulsion from the Papal Academy of St. Thomas and attracted international attention.
Everything began with his fascination for the old Mass, a gateway drug what? for so many gay men who are magically attracted to a religious fairy tale world this is getting beyond a joke, what does he mean by 'fairy' is that a double entendre?. Today Berger sees the Latin liturgy, which presents the sacred in an overemphasis on the aesthetic, as essentially a “product of homosexual sublimation.” enough said, this is not worth the paper it's written on 
Undisturbed by Women
No feminine creature sullies the image of this pure male-only world. Tradition-oriented clergy are tenderly joined to one another by hand kissing, foot kissing, or ritual foot washing. well swipe me, I never looked at it in that light before Here they can live out their passion for brocade, Belgian lace, tassels, and cloth trains. this chap is as mad as a box of kippers According to Berger, the market trade for ecclesiastical vestments is firmly in homosexual hands. He learned from the “finely perfumed traditionalism” of writer Martin Mosebach that the old Mass is really about aesthetics, art for its own sake, such as was cultivated by the homoerotically shaded literati Gustave Flaubert, Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, or Stefan George. All this, like homoerotic love itself, has found a home outside the realm of morality, in the uselessly beautiful. But the Church condemns its inconsequence in the form of childlessness.  OK, enough already. This review is degenerating into pornographic c**p. I will fisk no more!
Homosexual priests who cannot live out their sexuality “succeed in sublimating their erotic feelings through the aesthetic of the traditional male-only liturgy.” Forbidden drives and desires are diverted in cultically recognized ways of acting. Berger thus explains the militant homophobia of aesthetes in traditionalist quarters.
The Key to the Ratzinger Pontificate
The promise in the book’s blurb to offer the key to the scandals of the Roman Church is almost an understatement. It offers the key to the Ratzinger pontificate as a whole. Under Benedict, who has readmitted the old Latin Mass, “a new haute couture wind is blowing.” The Pope is restoring the aesthetic always cultivated by the St. Pius society through pontifical delight in expensive vestments from Moiréseide, damask, and ermine. And in the tow of its holy façade he brings into the church its right-wing ideology, namely its anti-Semitism. Catchword: restored petitions for the conversion of the Jews, or the rehabilitation of the Holocaust denier Richard Williamson.
It is also symptomatic that Benedict, shortly after his assumption of office in 2005, blocked admission of homosexuals to the priesthood. For Berger, sharpened homophobia is the expression of subtle strategies of repression and projection: the most militant gay foes are oftentimes themselves homosexual and fight their own dark shadows in other people. Oftentimes a bad conscience is behind a theologian especially loyal to the Pope: gay priests who don’t fully succeed at renouncing their sexuality compensate for their “misdeeds” by becoming combatants, with arch-Catholic positions, for the axis of the good.
Very Subtle Blackmail
The theologian illustrates this most convincingly with the example of the sex scandals in St. Pölten, Austria. One of the photos which went round the world in 2004 showed the vice rector of the seminary there giving a tongue kiss to another priest. The seminary was closed, the guilty clergymen were suspended from office. But the vice rector, a good friend and doctoral student of the canon lawyer and private secretary to Ratzinger, Georg Gänswein, denied the accusations as a conspiracy of liberal princes of the Church. After he transformed himself into a convinced devotee of the traditionalist liturgy, the Church quietly lifted his suspension and allowed him to return to do pastoral work. Another example: The chief editor of the Catholic newspaper L’Avvenire, Dino Boffo, was a stalwart defender of papal sexual morality. Until he was outed as a homosexual by the newspaper Il Giornale and dismissed.
Discrete knowledge of the (homo)sexual lapses of its personnel somehow seems to come to the Church at just the right time. According to Berger, the Church willingly uses this knowledge as an instrument of subtle blackmail and exertion of power in order to make evildoers compliant. “The more reprehensible the misconduct, the greater the offering of obedience one can expect from the subordinate, right up to self-abandonment.”
For Berger himself the lapse was minor. The traditionalist website, which proclaims without reserve its passion for the old Mass and its hatred of homosexuals, found a link to the Gay Games in Cologne in Berger’s Facebook profile and sought to play off his homosexuality against him. What the traditionalist milieu didn’t reckon with: David Berger outed himself and shined a light behind the pious illusions of the Church. With the cult of holy illusion, the Church would cast a mantel over its large proportion of gay clergy, and also over its many cases of sexual abuse. According to Berger, the Latin liturgy is a symptom of the divergence between fact and facade, and consequently for the façade of holiness, that is, the hypocrisy, of the Roman Church.

Well, I never! What a load of old......words fail me. But I come back to my original question of why an apparently Catholic site is featuring such material. I clicked on one or two more features only to come across one headed "Pope fails own latin test?". This is a link to a site called 'Liturgy' written by a certain Bosco Peters, a New Zealand Anglican Vicar. The article features a rather tasteless cartoon of the Holy Father - not nice and not something I would expect to see on a Catholic blogsite, even as a link.
Bosco, if I may call him that, has lots of pictures of himself on his site including one very clever one of him looking into a laptop with a mirror behind him so that you see lots of images of Bos, which is a point of reflection (ugh!)
So, to summarise then, I hope that no reader requires me to point out that such invidious claims regarding homosexality in the priesthood are just not true. Of course, part of the nastiness of it all is that there is always the insidious charge of being a "repressed" homosexual. This makes any challenges quite difficult...but, nevertheless I challenge Mr Berger. Now I am not stating that such a thing as a homosexual priest does not exist but we certainly do not harbour throngs of men who are in love with lace (sic) and ritual - that word just has awful homosexual undertones when placed in the middle of copy such as has been written by the reviewer.
But, back to Pray does seem to be Catholic, there are lots of Js and Benedictine contributors but the tone is pallid and the content offensive. In my opinion this site should be blacklisted by the clergy who write for it.
At this stage I have to repeat what I have stated many times before, I am not homophobic, I am not scared of homosexuals, I do not approve of practising homosexuals any more than I approve of adulterers, bigamists or abortionists. They are all wrong in what they do but they should be an object of our charity and prayers.


  1. Excellent Richard! I thought I'd found Shangrila finding that site for you! But then I realised I didn't know which way the "theologian" was coming from err !!! Think I will stick to Matt Cardle! Now don't pretend Richard that you don't know who he is!

  2. Richard - read Degenerate Moderns by E Michael Jones (recommended to me by a friend). He exposes how the homosexual underclass project their illness in culture [and politics]. Usually this is in promoting modern art, anti-Christian films etc. clearly in the above instance on your blog, a very disturbed dysfunctional man is projecting his sickness onto a pure and holy form that reflects its supernatural aspects (i.e. the Holy Eucharist is reflected in the sublime cultural beauty of the High Sung Mass codified by the Council of Trent). This something even the non-Catholic Agatha Christie recognised, when she wrote to the Pope asking him not to 'do away with' the Tridentine Mass.

    I could say how a tiny minority of overwhelmingly homosexual priests have brought shame on the whole church militant, but i guess we all know that from the way the media has waxed lyrical about these fifth columnists and their disordered lives which led to the abuse of holy innocents.

    This sorry episode in church history, if nothing else, should teach us that as the Church has recently said, homosexuality IS disordered.

    And in telling us this, Mother Church is only confirming Church Tradition and Biblical Fact.

    No matter how they twist and turn, perfumed or otherwise, homosexual activists and apologists have no place in the Church, unless they proclaim homosexuality a sin and abstain from the disorder for the rest of their lives (primarily by Confessing and being chaste).