Monday, November 29, 2010

Gay Catholic Theologian David Berger Tells All: Catholic Right Gentleman's Club, Closeted Homophobic Church Officials

And, speaking of Spiegel (see my first post this morning): some readers will no doubt already have read this Spiegel article last week, focusing on out gay Catholic theologian David Berger.  Berger was a darling of the Catholic right in Europe and the U.S. until the cognitive dissonance between his partnered gay life and his public persona as a defender of the institution became too great to bear.  His insider account of what the Catholic right is really all about, really like, as it "defends" "the" church against enemies, is stomach-churning.

Note his observation that many secretly gay Catholic pastoral leaders collude with the right-wing groups he describes in his interview--groups that try to keep alive the old vision of a "Christian" Europe in which aristocrats lord it over common people, gay men are susceptible to violence, women are expected to obey their men, and Jews and Freemasons are the enemies of the church.  Groups which, according to Berger, continue to meet in "luxury hotels" and plot coups, while "[ol]d men smoke fat cigars, drink expensive red wine and eat well."

As Berger notes, "It is a parallel world whose inhabitants seek to defy the modern world."  And it is a world that--even with its toxic antisemitism and pre-modern ideology of social status--Popes John Paul II and Benedict have actively encouraged.  To which they have catered.

This is the world that Catholic journalists who claim to be "defending" the church are implicitly defending when they talk about the need to leap to the defense of the church because its "enemies" are on the warpath.  Defending, because they are part and parcel of it.  And of its power and privilege.  And it is the world promoted by quite a few closeted, homophobic top Catholic officials.

And it has no place at the center of the Catholic church at this point in history, dominating the life of the church and the direction of the church for the future.  And the viewpoint of some of the most widely read Catholic journalists of this period.

(Thanks to Jim McCrea for bringing this article to my attention.)

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