‘Gay’ ambassador rejected by Vatican?


This 19 June 2012 video is called In Italy, Gay Marriage Efforts Met With Vatican Opposition.

From The Local in France:

Pope ‘rejects’ France’s gay envoy to Vatican

Published: 10 Apr 2015 12:42 GMT+02:00

Pope Francis’ liberal credentials have taken a blow after the Vatican reportedly refused to accept the nomination of the new French ambassador, a close aide of President François Hollande, because he is gay.

Laurent Stefanini, a senior diplomat and French President François Hollande’s chief of protocol, was nominated in early January but the Vatican has yet to accept his credentials, officials in Paris said.

Normally a new ambassador’s credentials are accepted within a month and a half. The Vatican does not usually explicitly refuse an envoy’s credentials, but a prolonged silence after a nomination is interpreted as a rejection.

The Vatican declined to comment when asked by The Local if Stefanini, who is openly gay, was being rejected and if this was due to his sexuality.

Dutch NOS TV, on the other hand, says that Stefanini has never said anything about his sexual orientation. He is not married and does not have children, which makes some people suggest he is gay.

A French presidential aide said that the choice of the 54-year-old to represent France at the Vatican resulted from “a wish by the president and a cabinet decision” and that the president regarded him as “one of our best diplomats.”

French media widely reported that the apparent rejection by the Vatican was because of Stefanini’s homosexuality.

Le Journal du Dimanche quoted a Vatican insider as saying that the rejection was “a decision taken by the pope himself.”

Libération daily headlined its article on the story with “The Pope tarnishes his image.” …

French media reported that Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris had interceded with the pope to back the nomination of Stefanini, who has previously worked as an official in the French embassy at the Vatican.

La Croix newspaper said Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the former Vatican foreign minister who is currently president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, also supports the appointment.

Pope Francis has taken a far less judgemental position on homosexuality than his predecessor Benedict XVI.

“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” he said in an interview shortly after he became pontiff two years ago.

He also said that gay people should not be marginalised but integrated into society.

But the change in tone does not necessarily signal a change in the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church.

Francis has criticised gay marriage and is opposed to adoption rights for gay couples, both of which became legal in France in 2013 amid widespread protests from the country’s Catholic community.

by Rory Mulholland

During all the years of the Cold War, the Soviet Union nominated communists as ambasadors to NATO countries. And NATO countries nominated anti-communists as ambassadors to the Soviet Union. There was no moaning about that, as the Vatican seems to do now. Why did the Vatican not complain when Stefanini was a diplomat to the Holy See before?

Child abuse porn discovered in Vatican


This 8 May 2014 video from the USA is called As UN Torture Committee Probes Vatican, Sex-Abuse Survivors Urge Church to End Decades-Long Cover-up.

From daily The Guardian in Britain, by Rosie Scammell in Rome:

Images of child abuse found in Vatican City

Holy See’s prosecutor general says two cases involving indecent material came to light last year, along with other crimes

Sunday 1 February 2015 20.26 GMT

Two cases of child pornography possession were uncovered within the walls of the Vatican last year, along with numerous other crimes in the city state, the Holy See’s prosecutor general has announced.

Following worldwide allegations of sex abuse by priests, Gian Piero Milano, the Holy See’s Promoter of Justice, said the Vatican was now taking action against paedophilia in the heart of the Catholic church.

Unveiling the Vatican’s justice report, Milano stopped short of naming those accused of possessing child pornography. Holy See spokesman Federico Lombardi however identified Josef Wesolowski, a disgraced former ambassador, as one of the people facing charges.

Wesolowski was stripped of his diplomatic immunity last year following accusations that he abused young boys during his time as envoy to the Dominican Republic. The Polish former archbishop is currently awaiting trial at the Vatican, in what will be the first sex abuse trial ever held at the Holy See.

Beyond the child pornography cases, Vatican authorities are battling an array of crimes including drug trafficking and money laundering. Three drug deliveries addressed to the Vatican were intercepted last year, including a packet containing cocaine-filled condoms. The drugs were discovered at Germany’s Leipzig airport and handed to the Vatican in the hope of ensnaring the buyer, but no one came forward to claim the package.

Despite the array of criminal activity, only six people ended up in the Vatican’s prison last year. They include Marcello di Finizio, an Italian protester who climbed atop St Peter’s Basilica, and Iana Azhdanova, a Femen activist who bared her breasts and grabbed a baby Jesus statue from the Vatican’s nativity scene.

Gay orgies and ‘murder’ scandals engulf Vatican: here.

Homophobic Roman Catholic bishops’ backlash


This 2008 satiric video is called Headzup: Pope Benedict And The Crime Of Being Gay.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Vatican backtracks on gay tolerance comments after angry reaction from bishops

Vatican claims report is a ‘working document’ – not Church doctrine

Heather Saul

Wednesday 15 October 2014

The Vatican appears to have backtracked on their unprecedented positive comments on homosexuality after a furious reaction from conservative Catholics.

On Monday, Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo read out an interim report at the Synod’s General Congregation that declared homosexuals had “gifts and qualities to offer” and even raised the prospect of the Catholic Church recognising the positive aspects of same-sex relationships.

The church, it added, must welcome divorced people and recognise the “positive” aspects of civil marriages and even Catholics who live together without being married.

The document was described as an “earthquake” in the Church’s attitude towards gays and heralded as a “turning point” in policy by Vatican experts.

But on Tuesday, conservative bishops distanced themselves from the document’s remarkable opening toward gays and divorced Catholics, calling it an “unacceptable” deviation from church teaching that does not reflect their views.

The leaders of the bishops’ meeting that produced it have now said it was simply a “working document” and was not intended to be an official statement of church teaching on family life.

Instead, they said it was a reflection of bishops’ views that will be debated and amended before a final version is released on Saturday.

The Holy See press office said bishops had “appreciated” the document but some offered additional reflections “to bring together various points of view.”

‘The bishops called for “prudence” over same-sex relationships so that “the impression of a positive evaluation of such a tendency on the part of the church is not created”.

“The same care was advised with regard to cohabitation,” the Vatican said.

Bishops also suggested the final document highlight faithful Catholic families to avoid “a near-exclusive focus on imperfect family situations”.

“The report, obviously composed under pressure, has easily given rise to some misinterpretation,” British Cardinal Vincent Nichols said Tuesday.

“It is not a doctrinal or decisive document. It is, as stated in its conclusion, ‘intended to raise questions and indicate perspectives that will have to be matured and made clearer on reflection.”‘

Several conservatives who participated in the synod also immediately distanced themselves from the report. The head of the Polish bishops‘ conference, Cardinal Stanislaw Gadecki, called it “unacceptable” and a deviation from church teaching.

American Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s Supreme Court, told Catholic World Report that the document contained positions “which many synod Fathers do not accept and, I would say, as faithful shepherds of the flock cannot accept.”

Archbishop accused of child abuse under house arrest


This video says about itself:

27 June 2014

A tribunal in the Vatican has convicted the former papal envoy to the Dominican Republic of sex abuse and stripped him of the priesthood.

Jozef Wesolowski, who is originally from Poland, was recalled by the Church last year amid claims that he had abused boys in Santo Domingo.

Wesolowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official to have been investigated for sex abuse.

Pope Francis has urged the Church to root out and punish abuse by priests.

Wesolowski had served as envoy to the Dominican Republic for five years. He was ordained as a priest and bishop by his compatriot, Pope John Paul II.

He has two months to appeal against the sentence. As a citizen of the Vatican, he also faces criminal charges in the city state, which could lead to a prison sentence.

Authorities in the Dominican Republic have also opened an investigation into Wesolowski, but have not charged him.

From Reuters news agency:

Jozef Wesolowski, Former Dominican Republic Archbishop Accused Of Sex Abuses, Put Under House Arrest

09/23/2014 3:39 pm EDT

The Vatican said on Tuesday it had arrested a former archbishop who is accused of paying for sex with children while he was a papal ambassador in the Dominican Republic.

Jozef Wesolowski, a Pole, is under house arrest inside the city state, the Vatican said in a statement.

Wesolowski was defrocked by a Vatican tribunal earlier this year and is awaiting trial on criminal charges.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

The Vatican’s four problems


This video from PBS in the USA in 2011 is called Rift Grows Between Ireland, Vatican Over Priest Abuse Allegations.

From the New York Review of Books in the USA:

The Pope and the Pederasts

Garry Wills

Pope Francis has acted fast on his preferred issues—poverty and economic justice. Nothing in that to criticize. He has been slower—too slow, say some—to deal with the long-festering problem of sex abuse by priests. He has at last taken some of the steps people were calling for—see victims and apologize to them, authorize a panel to study the problem, promise reforms that will prevent a recurrence of these crimes. OK so far—but Pope Benedict had begun all that before him.

Why did Francis hesitate to continue what was already being done? Is it because all these things are beside the point? Very likely, they are. Without addressing structural issues in the Vatican, meaningful action to restore trust in the priesthood and church authority cannot get far. There are four such interlocking problems:

1. Celibacy. Yes, celibacy does not directly and of itself lead to sexual predation. There are many unmarried men and women who are not predators. But Catholic celibacy is not simply an unmarried state. It is a mandatory and exclusive requirement for holding all significant offices in the Church. This sets up a sexual caste system that limits vision, empathy, and honesty. It enables church rulers to be blithely at odds with the vast majority of their own people. According to a 2011 Guttmacher Institute study, 98 percent of American Catholic women of child-bearing age have had sex—and, of that 98 percent, 99 percent have used or will use some form of contraception. Yet celibate priests tell us they know what sex is really about (by their expertise in “natural law”), and in their view it absolutely precludes birth control. There is an induced infantilism in such cloistered minds, an ignorance that poses as innocence. This prevents honesty at so many levels that any trust on sexual matters begins in a crippled state, handicapping all treatment of sexual predation in the Church.

2. Homophobia. Pope Francis is often hailed for asking, “Who am I to judge” gay men. The New Yorker headlined its comment on this question (by the estimable Alexander Stille), “Francis Redefines the Papacy.” Hardly. He was speaking within a specific context, after being asked about gay priests in the Vatican (the so-called “gay lobby”). He said, “We must make the distinction between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of a lobby, because lobbies are not good. They are bad. If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?” But accepting the Lord in the modern priesthood means following the rule of recent popes that homosexuality is morally “disordered” and may not be acted on. He was saying that gay priests who do not have gay sex should not be judged.

This is no great advance on the old “hate the sin, love the sinner” line that homophobes regularly use. There are many gay priests, some who remain celibate, some who don’t. The fact that they have to hide their “disorder” does not mean they are not being judged. If they felt they were not being judged, they would not be hiding. Now, when Catholics are agreeing with their fellow Americans that being gay is not a disgrace, and marrying is a gay right, the Vatican cannot even get into the conversation, much less lead it in a useful way.

3. Patriarchy. The Vatican is not only the West’s oldest monarchy, but its most entrenched patriarchy. For long its official teaching was Thomas Aquinas’s assertion (taken from Aristotle) that “the female is a defective male.” Though the Vatican has tried in recent years to back off from that position, as late as 1976 Paul VI’s Curia said that there can be no women priests because women do not look like Jesus: they lack “this ‘natural resemblance’ which must exist between Christ and his minister.” Pope John Paul II said in 1994 that if Jesus had wanted to ordain women, he would have begun with the best of them, his mother. He ignores the fact that Jesus in the Gospels ordained no priests, male or female. The investigation of American nuns for daring to have opinions of their own shows how far Vatican officials are from understanding women. (How could they understand them?)

4. Clericalism. The previous three problems converge on the clerical mindset that afflicts all bureaucracies, but especially sacred ones. Advancement of one’s career involves deference to those above, adherence to corporate loyalties, and a determination not to hurt the institution (demonstrated by signal loyalty). Questioning “church teaching” is subversion. This leads to support of one’s own in all ways possible—as far as one can go, for instance, in denying sin among one’s colleagues. This is the area in which Pope Francis has made some initial moves, challenging the power of the Curia (Rome’s bureaucracy).

But challenge is not change, and so long as these structural issues persist, it will be impossible to restore trust in the Vatican’s authority. No pope can change all these things all by himself, even one as winning as Francis is proving. If it is to be done at all, it must be by a joint effort of the whole People of God. Perhaps that is what Francis is waiting for. I suspect he would welcome it.

July 11, 2014, 11:15 a.m.