Today's a day of non-blogging commitments for me (my supply of popcorn is quickly running out, for one thing), and so I can't be at my computer to comment on any new telenovela head-turners that may be coming our way today from the Vatican or Liberty Counsel or the papal nuncio. A thought I'd like to place before you, though, as I head to my first meeting:
Here's Michelangelo Signorile commenting on the amazing quickness with which the Vatican responded to the widespread outrage when news that the pope had met with Kim Davis broke several days ago — and on why the Vatican responded:
Contrary to those who are demanding apologies from those of us who spoke out, it is in fact the moral outrage that got the Vatican to issue its clarification.
The Vatican rarely clarifies anything, often still clinging to its worn-out image as a centuries-old mysterious institution that sits above the fray, even though it is a global empire with websites, social media accounts and sophisticated p.r. operatives who work for it in dozens of countries. Had there not been a collective sense of betrayal expressed in a forceful way by people around the world, the Vatican would have done nothing. . . .
To those who say that we should have given the pope the benefit of the doubt, I again say that without the outrage there would be no response.
But more importantly: This is a powerful church that still condemns homosexuality as "intrinsically disordered," attacks transgender people and allows its institutions worldwide to discriminate against LGBT people, with Catholic schools in the U.S. firing gay or lesbian teachers, for example, after finding out they're exercising their right to marry . The pope has both refused meetings with LGBT Catholics on these issues and refused to stop that discrimination.
Wasn't I saying just a few days ago (citing Ezra Klein and Ta-Nehisi Coates), that new online media and social networking technologies are seriously upending the games of the established power players in the world in which we live today? The games are shifting for the big boys, and we little people who are sharing information and talking online are making something of a difference.
Already, the centrists at the Commonweal site are using the Kim Davis story to try to reestablish their dominance as gatekeepers of conversations about the church and its treatment of gay folks. They're using the Kim Davis story to shake their finger at left and right and claim that both "sides" have misunderstood and misused the Kim Davis-Pope Francis narrative to serve their own disordered ends.
When only the objective, cool, rational, non-committed folks in the center ever really understand issues completely . . . .
The objective, cool, rational, non-committed folks in the center who happen to enjoy enormous taken-for-granted heterosexual privilege in the Catholic context, and who can therefore pretend that any word the Vatican speaks (except perhaps when it talks about contraception) is to be taken at face value, that the Vatican can never harm or deceive . . . .
Since the church works for those folks in ways it does not work for the rest of us, who have no choice except to try to read the text beneath the text and talk about the subtext . . . . They have not been actively harmed by the church, have not been hounded from jobs by Catholic institutions because they use contraceptives, denied communion at their mothers' funerals because they contracept — and so they can afford to pretend that they and the Vatican are "objective," good, benign.
A good popcorn day to all of you. I'll be back online, God willing, tomorrow.