For years there has been some sotte voce speculation about the relationship between Pope Benedict and his secretary, Georg Gänswein – speculation which has ratchetted up several notches since the publication of the book, “The Pope Is Not Gay!“. (For a stunning reflection on this, see the essay by Colm Toibin at the London Review of Books)
I do not wish to add to this speculation. Rather, I want to draw attention to some sensible commentary by blogger Jeremiah Bartram, at Gospel for Gays – who makes the simple but important point that close relationships (not necessarily sexual) have always been a feature of the religious leaders of the church, from the very beginning.
The primary point of Jeremiah’s post is the hypocrisy involved in much of the so-called “religious” opposition to same-sex relationships. This is how he concludes:
We now learn that the Pope himself has a boyfriend (The Pope is Not Gay!, by Angelo Quattrocchi).
It’s a Platonic relationship, of course. I have no doubt of that. And it is a tender and intimate one. He and his stunningly handsome, much younger personal secretary, Georg Ganswein, spend most of every day together, breakfasting, lunching, walking – just like a long-established gay couple.
And what’s wrong with that?
Nothing at all.
As the writer of Genesis says, “It is not good for man to be alone.”
And some of us, by natural inclination, seek intimate relationships with our own kind.
In the church, it’s the tradition of John, who (alone among evangelists) is depicted in icons with his young friend, Prochorus. And Prochorus in turn had his own younger male favorite, Irenaeus.
Just as Jesus himself is believed to have enjoyed a specially intimate relationship with that same John, the beloved disciple.
This is normal.
And it’s also gay.
There is a permanent inclination on the part of many holy people to form deep attachments with someone of their own sex.
This is not an inclination toward an objective evil.
Rather, it’s of God.
It expands and enriches and fructifies the grace of God, which works in many ways, and especially through human sexuality.
Denying this fundamental reality is a sin.
And denying the inclination in yourself – while condemning others for expressing the very same impulse – is hypocrisy.
Read the full post at Gospel for Gays
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- Colm Tóibín: Is Pope Benedict gay? (politics.ie)
- Andrew Sullivan Thinks the Pope is Gay – and I Suspect He’s Right (bilerico.com)