New book addresses how Pope Benedict dismantled Vatican gay lobby

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Pope Francis greets retired Pope Benedict XVI during a 28 June ceremony at the Vatican marking the 65th anniversary of the retired pope's priestly ordination. Photo: CNS/L'Osservatore Romano
Pope Francis greets retired Pope Benedict XVI during a 28 June ceremony at the Vatican marking the 65th anniversary of the retired pope’s priestly ordination. Photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano

Emeritus Pope Benedict is to launch a new book in September called The Last Conversations. In it he makes mention of a small yet powerful Vatican “gay lobby” who tried to influence key decisions. The book will honestly acknowledge that there were some whose goal had been to protect one another’s secrets and to help each other climb the system.

Why are we not surprised? The gay lobby globally has manoeuvred, and continues to manoeuvre, itself into a position where it can wield unchallenged power. This modus operandi was planned decades ago (I was part of those early discussions). This might explain why today it is difficult to visit any news feed without it being awash with another LGBTI story describing discrimination and persecution.

Now at this point let’s put in the requisite phrase that says that no one should be discriminated against or persecuted, and indeed they shouldn’t. But this standard has to be upheld at every level. Differences of opinion should not be silenced. In fact, without them we wave goodbye to any sense of democracy.

Yet woe betides anyone who dares to even slightly scratch beneath the surface of the politicised normalcy of homosexual behaviour. Enter Archbishop Fisher from stage right.

Through his recent opinion piece in the Guardian, the archbishop sought to graciously, firmly yet articulately show support for a plebiscite on the mirage society now refers to as same-sex marriage. The trolls came out in force on social media to silence his opinion. This was to be expected. It also shows that building a new system where voices are silenced means amid few winners there are likely to be plenty of losers.

Wasn’t this the lesson being taught through the award winning movie, Spotlight? Yes, it exposed garishly the existence of child sexual abuse in the Church. It also served as a reminder that wherever an exclusive system exists which demands silence and secrets, destruction on all sorts of levels is a likely outcome over time.

Using her own political pulpit, Penny Wong proclaimed recently that “straight politicians don’t understand what it’s like to hide their relationships in fear”. But does she and her fellow lobbyists understand, or even want to understand, the very real fear that exists within same-sex attracted men and women who now feel that they, too, cannot publicly express and uphold opinions against same-sex marriage for fear of persecution from within their own ranks? These people exist in addition to other members of society also being ridiculed into silence. I’ve met all of them and their fear is palpable.

He may not have been aware of it, but when Archbishop Fisher spoke of people “being cowed into silence by fear they will be tagged ‘bigot’ if they don’t” support same-sex marriage, he was also referring to card-carrying members of the LGBTI community. It appears that the LGBTI lobby is creating in places another crippling system where silence is demanded by the powerful few for their own gain.

This, I believe, is why Emeritus Pope Benedict’s dismantling of the small yet powerful Vatican “gay lobby” was an act of true fatherly love. This, I also believe, is why Archbishop Fisher’s stance on a plebiscite is to be applauded and recognised for what it truly is: an act of fatherly love that seeks to listen to the opinion of every Australian citizen.

Only when everyone’s voice is allowed to arise, and when systems and secrets that prevent this from happening are dismantled, can all of us – whatever our sexual attraction – find true peace. Indeed, as the archbishop rightly stated, “public discourse is enriched, not degraded, when people learn the reasons why others hold contrary views on any given matter and learn how to express those differing reasons within the context of civic friendship and reasonable disagreement”.

The challenge is this: will Australia’s own gay lobbyists embrace inclusivity and permit any possible plebiscite to transpire peacefully? I certainly hope so.