Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Vatican Reality Show

It's impossible not to be a Vatican-watcher these days. Just as it's impossible to surf past Dance Moms without stopping to check out the latest loathsome behavior of stage mothers and fat dance divas, it's impossible to ignore the dithering, backing and filling, and desperate coverups overspreading the Roman Catholic Church

The most recent juicy item to emanate from the Holy See in Rome came out yesterday, February 25th, when Britain's top Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigned midst accusations that he had made homosexual advances on four younger priests. Cardinal O'Brien was born in Ireland but raised in Scotland and will reach the age of 75 on March 17th. He has been the head of the Catholic Church in Scotland since 1985.

Just last week Cardinal O'Brien made news by claiming the Roman Catholic Church should stop requiring priests to be celibate.

There is so much startling information in this story.

1) Cardinal O'Brien will not be attending the conclave to elect a new Pope even though Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta, the secretary for the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts said that a cardinal remains eligible to vote for the next Pope under any circumstances, even if he has been excommunicated. Why was the Pope so quick to accept O'Brien's resignation? O'Brien had told the Pope months ago that he would retire after his 75th birthday…no date had been set…why the rush to kick him out?

2) The allegations of Cardinal O'Brien making unwanted homosexual advances have not been investigated and the men making the accusations have not been named. Only recently (but not in the past), O'Brien has made unforgiving and nasty comments about homosexuals and homosexuality.

3) Cardinal O'Brien says no one can be celibate. He says celibacy is an unnatural state and cannot be maintained.

As Frank Bruni pointed out in his New York Times editorial today, Cardinal O'Brien is not accused of pedophilia, nor has he been accused of protecting pedophile priests. O'Brien has been accused of being gay.

The can of worms here is that O'Brien wants the Roman Catholic Church to cease requiring its priests to be celibate. If that actually happens, will ending the celibacy requirement apply only to heterosexual priests and will the church still require its gay priests to be celibate? And if the Church cannot rescind its longtime claim that homosexuality is a sin, how will rescinding its celibacy requirement remove the problem of homosexual sex in the Vatican?

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