Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Lesbians Made Me Do It: The Vatican on a Plot to Embarrass Benedict

An interesting twist on my posting earlier today about the claim of the Vatican that Benedict did not know of Richard Williamson’s gross anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial before Benedict invited Williamson and his SSPX confrères back into the Catholic church: two days ago, the Rorate Caeli blog reported about “a dossier circulating within the Vatican which could reveal that a plot was planned for several months to embarrass the Pope in the ‘Williamson affair’” (, "A Plot against the Pope").

According to Rorate Caeli, the blog had received a tip about this inside information, but did not choose to make it public until Italian newspapers Il Riformista and Il Giornale had disclosed the information.

To be specific: the text that Rorate Caeli claims to have received—apparently from inside the Vatican itself—maintains that Fiammetta Venner, “a very well known french lesbian activist,” in collusion with her partner (the tip-off text uses coy brackets to indicate its distaste for this term) Caroline Fourest, colluded with Swedish television to air the interview with Richard Williamson in which he made his infamous statements right on the eve of the papal announcement about SSPX.

I hear from those who track right-wing Catholic blogs that this claim of a lesbian plot to embarrass the pope is now burning like wildfire through that murky demi-monde of blogland. Fiammetta Venner, who co-authored a book on Catholic integralism with Caroline Fourest (Nouveaux Soldats du pape), flatly denies the existence of any such plot (

The German and Swiss media are already noting the Vatican’s attempt to shift the conversation about the rehabilitation of SSPX to this purported lesbian plot (,1518,605392,00.html and

And so here’s what interests me in this sordid little blame-the-lesbians story: remember that earlier today I wrote, “Like any bureaucracy—particularly those heavily invested in monitoring the morality and controlling the behavior of others—the Vatican keeps extensive files on major ecclesiastical players like the SSPX bunch”?

Remember that I talked about how dubious I was re: the claim that Benedict did not have access to files that showed precisely what Richard Williamson’s Holocaust record is?

Now right-wing Catholic blogs trying to defend Benedict are claiming to have tips about “a dossier circulating within the Vatican which could reveal that a plot was planned for several months to embarrass the Pope in the ‘Williamson affair’” (my emphasis)?

Isn’t that interesting . . . . There was no dossier at all circulating about public, easily documented claims over the course of years by Richard Williamson denying the Holocaust and blaming the Jews for everything wrong in Western culture.

But there is a zingy little dossier immediately circulating, blaming “a very well known french lesbian activist” and her [partner] for the kerfuffle around the rehabilitation of Richard Williamson.

We’re to conclude—so it seems—that the Vatican's inner circles have access to more information about Fiammetta Venner and Caroline Fourest than they do about Richard Williamson before Benedict makes an historic move to rehabilitate Richard Williamson?


This despicable attempt of the big men in Rome, caught red-handed in a plot to rehabilitate a vicious anti-Semite, to try to hang their shame on the lesbians is pathetic. It’s scraping the bottom of the barrel. Shame on those gullible and/or venal right-wing Catholic bloggers helping to circulate this tripe as a way of letting Benedict off the hook.

H/t to a faithful reader of this blog for links to the Rorate Caeli blog and information about the Venner story.