Last week, an Italian newspaper alleged that the Pope’s resignation was due to the influence of internal “gay networks” within the Vatican. Days later, the notoriously homophobic Cardinal Keith O’Brien denied allegations that he had behaved “inappropriately” with other priests, but resigned nonetheless.
It’s all too much for Mark Dowd, an openly gay man and a former Dominican friar. He spoke with Christiane Amanpour on Monday and had harsh words for the Church:
“Homosexuality is the ticking time bomb in the Catholic Church,” Dowd said. “On the one hand, the Catholic Church teaches that the condition of same-sex attraction is ‘intrinsically disordered’ — those are Ratzinger’s own words from 1986. And yet we know that actually about half, if not more, of all the people attracted into seminaries and the priesthood are gay themselves.”
He added, “When you have this culture of secrecy and guilty and oppression, you have conditions there which foster the potential for blackmail and for manipulation.”
Ouch! Dowd gets his numbers from research he conducted for a U.K. special called “Queer and Catholic.” Church leaders then told him it was likely more than 50 percent of men in the Catholic Church are gay and that some were known to seek casual sexual encounters throughout Rome.
Of course, the Vatican denies all this.
Said chief spokesman Father Federico Lombardi:
“Whoever has money, sex and power at the forefront of their mind sees the world through these parameters and cannot see beyond, even when looking at the Church,” he told the BBC, without addressing any rumors specifically. “Their view cannot look to the heights or go in-depth to understand the spiritual dimensions and motivations of existence.”
What’s more likely here is that the Catholic Church’s views are finally coming around and screwing them over. Like Dowd said, a culture of shame and secrecy breeds scandal and “deviance.” The Church must abandon its tradition of ingrained bigotry if it wants to salvage its rapidly degenerating reputation.