Ginandtacos.com didn't comment on it, but did anyone else notice a sense of sadness on the cultural left with Cardinal Ratzinger becoming Pope in April? I hate to pick on any one blog, but the excellent planned obsolescence had this odd moment of despair – "with the announcement of the accession of Benedict XVI. And I sat and cried in front of my television set, watching my relationship with the Church be severed once again."
I was actually quite happy. Not because I'm excited to see the old Pope's favorite right-wing henchman get the top job, but, by not picking someone from the third-world to usher in a new era of Catholicism, it was only a matter of time now until the Catholic Church became a matter of pure spectacle. Like any institution in its decline, half the fun is watching it kick and struggle. I knew this new guy was not going to try and save the church by running a saint factory (John Paul's grand total – 483 saints created, 1,345 people beatified; click here to see a timeline and get a sense of how fast he was churning out the new icons). My secret hope was, as Ratzinger was prefect of the position that used to be referred to as Holy Office of the Inquisition, I'd get to see a good ol' fashioned Inquisition in my lifetime.
And so it begins! Leaked to the New York Times today:
Investigators appointed by the Vatican have been instructed to review each of the 229 Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States for "evidence of homosexuality" and for faculty members who dissent from church teaching, according to a document prepared to guide the process. The Vatican document, given to The New York Times yesterday by a priest…Expectation for such a move rose this year with the election of Pope Benedict XVI, who has spoken of the need to "purify" the church…The seminary review, called an apostolic visitation, will send teams appointed by the Vatican to the 229 seminaries, which have more than 4,500 students. The last such review began about 25 years ago and took six years to complete.
At each seminary, the visitors are to conduct confidential interviews with every faculty member and seminarian, as well as everyone who graduated in the last three years.
Among the other questions are these:
¶"Is the seminary free from the influences of New Age and eclectic spirituality?"
¶"Do the seminarians or faculty members have concerns about the moral life of those living in the institution? (This question must be answered)."
¶"Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary? (This question must be answered)."
A team is being assembled to weed out homosexuals and heresy in the Church! Awesome! One can almost imagine Bernard Gui questioning the kitchen staff in private, playing them off one another in a prisoner's dilemma, trying to find secret letters from long ago (or in these days, an old IM/email/browser history), and establishing Order through a full public confession (does Ratzinger read Foucault?).
Why is this urgent, you might ask? Well, because among your Opus Dei far right Catholics, it is common knowledge that (a) seminaries are under control of a "gay majority", (b) that this gay majority is causing the decline in priests, as it creates a hostile and liberal environment to study Christ, and (c) these homosexuals are behind the child abuse scandals.
For evidence that this is the worldview of that crowd, check no further than the amazon customer 'reviews' of Goodbye, Good Men : How Liberals Brought Corruption Into the Catholic Church, with it's talking points of
[the author] also makes it clear that homosexual behavior has been rampant, and largely ignored, on some seminary campuses. While his purpose is not to address the clergy sexual abuse scandal currently rocking the Church, the astute reader will wonder whether such behavior has contributed to the problem the Church is currently facing. Many observers tend to think that the two are related.
[different review] I used to think that a good Catholic fellow who believed and followed what the Church taught about such issues as abortion, contraception, homosexuality, the primacy of the Pope, transubstantiation, the immaculate conception, etc. would be a shoe-in for the priesthood…devout young men are being routinely TURNED AWAY from the seminaries for no other reason than that they hold and believe these eminently orthodox positions! Who are being accepted in their places? I think the current and growing scandal within the Catholic Church in America provides a clear-cut answer.
Nevermind that there's no evidence that homosexuals abuse boys (is it assumed that all straight men abuse little girls?). Who knew that teaching a philosophy of the spirituality of persecution would lead to a place where people actively seek out the experience of persecution? Everyone who has been to Catholic School remembers a priest who was probably gay. The idea that he was/is acting on behalf a liberal/secular agenda of destroying the Church and molesting children could only be put forth by those who can't admit that something is rotten at the core. Their immediate reaction is to find the nearest minority group to scapegoat.
Best of luck with the interrogations.