As Peter Montgomery has pointed out in a comment about my comparison today between the recent Southern Baptist Convention meeting at which gay participants claimed a voice in discussions and the impending Vatican conference on the family, among those who will be included in the Vatican conference is Nigerian Anglican archbishop Nicholas Okoh, who has linked gays to the devil and praised Nigerian president Goodluck Johnson's decision to sign into law a draconian anti-gay bill. Peter has published commentary about the upcoming Vatican conference today at Right-Wing Watch.
As he notes, also attending the Vatican conference will be Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput. As Pat Perirello indicates in an article at National Catholic Reporter today, Chaput recently delivered a presentation at the Erasmus lecture in Manhattan in which he maintains that gay rights advocates are "enemies" of the church who hate the church. The Erasmus lecture is sponsored by First Things, the journal edited by none other than Rusty Reno, to whose gays-as-Hitler commentary yesterday in First Things I responded here.
If nothing else, the fierce backlash now underway in some quarters of the Catholic church against even the faintest of gestures of welcome to gay human beings demonstrates how deeply bitter and how cruel the attitude of some powerful Catholic players about gay people has long been. It's interesting, isn't it, how little many "centrist" Catholic media commentators and academics have been willing to see that deep and bitter cruelty? And how little willing they have been to defend their brothers and sisters who are the object of it, even as they play footsie with the folks dishing out the abuse.
I'm not sure these "centrist" eyes will begin to open even now, to be frank. Privilege — especially when it's unmerited, unacknowledged, unreflected on — has a way of shutting our eyes.
The photo of a (border?) fence at Tijuana with the text, "I was a stranger and you welcomed me" (Matthew 25:35), is from the Flickr photo stream of Adam McLane, who has generously made it available for sharing through a Creative Commons license.