Monday, December 17, 2012

Silvio Berlusconi and the Increasingly Farcical Defense of Family Values in the Catholic Tradition

Wouldn't you like to be a, well, what? A silent butler waiting on the pope in his private suite, as he receives news like this?: Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's former prime minister whom the Vatican placed in office to protect family values when a center-left government contemplated offering civil unions to gay couples, is engaged to be married once again.

For the third time. To a woman some 50 years his junior, a fact I mention because his second wife announced that she divorced him due to his liaisons with younger women and his notorious "bunga-bunga" parties at which minors are said to have been the center of attraction. Last year, in fact, Berlusconi was charged with having solicited sex from a minor.

But in the summer of 2008, when Mr. Berlusconi met with Pope Benedict to discuss--what else?--family and family values, after he and the pope exchanged gifts and had a nifty photo-op occasion similar to the recent one in which Benedict blessed Rebecca Kandaga of Uganda, Berlusconi announced to Italian reporters that he and Benedict stood side by side in their defense of family values.

And so I keep asking, as I've asked in the past (and here), precisely how high the price has to be in terms of cognitive dissonance and outright Berlusconian farce before the men in Rome start rethinking their belief that the possession of a penis, and its use in heterosexual ways, automatically endows heterosexual males with a moral superiority lacking to both women and gay men. How high does the price for male-entitled heteronormativity have to become before the Vatican starts rethinking how it understands human sexuality, gender issues, and the question of homosexuality?

I'd like to be a silent butler in the papal apartments as these issues are hashed out when the pope receives news of the latest scandals involving Silvio Berlusconi, defender of Catholic family values. Except, come to think of it, if I were that silent butler, I might not be in the papal suite at all these days, but in the Vatican chokey, instead, mightn't I?

(The photo above is from Berlusconi's 2008 "family values" confab with Benedict at the Vatican.)

No comments: