Andrew Sullivan is strongly suggesting Pope Benedict XVI, whose resignation is effective today, is gay. In “Two Popes, One Secretary,” Sullivan points to recent news Benedict, soon to be Pope Emeritus, will be living in the Vatican with his secretary, Georg Gänswein, recently promoted to the level of Archbishop.
“This is not the Vatican. It’s Melrose Place,” Sullivan writes, noting Gänswein is “clearly in some kind of love with Ratzinger (and vice-versa),” and notes he “will now be working for the new Pope as secretary in the day and spending the nights with the Pope Emeritus.”
The only thing the Pope will give up, apparently, are his red Prada shoes. He has some fabulous brown leather artisanal ones to replace them. But this is what really made me sit up straight, so to speak:
Benedict’s trusted secretary, Monsignor Georg Gänswein, will be serving both pontiffs — living with Benedict at the monastery inside the Vatican and keeping his day job as prefect of the new pope’s household. Asked about the potential conflicts, Lombardi was defensive, saying the decisions had been clearly reasoned and were likely chosen for the sake of simplicity. “I believe it was well thought out,” he said.
So Benedict’s handsome male companion will continue to live with him, while working for the other Pope during the day. Are we supposed to think that’s, well, a normal arrangement? I wrote a while back about Gänswein’s intense relationship with Ratzinger, while noting Colm Toibin’s review of Angelo Quattrochi’s exploration of Benedict, “Is The Pope Gay?”.
It’s not the first time Sullivan has suggested Pope Benedict is gay. In August of 2010, he wrote:
It seems pretty obvious to me … that the current Pope is a gay man (just as it was blindingly clear that John Paul II was straight). I am not claiming that Benedict is someone who has explored his sexuality, or has violated his own strictures on the matter. There is absolutely no evidence of that, or of hypocrisy of any sort. But that does not mean that he isn’t gay. In fact, Ratzinger’s command that gay priests should actively lie about their orientation makes any public statement about this on its face lacking in credibility. But when you look at the Pope’s mental architecture (I’ve read a great deal of his writing over the last two decades) you do see that strong internal repression does make sense of his life and beliefs. At times, it seems to me, his gayness is almost wince-inducing. The prissy fastidiousness, the effeminate voice, the fixation on liturgy and ritual, and the over-the-top clothing accessories are one thing. But what resonates with me the most is a theology that seems crafted from solitary introspection into a perfect, abstract unity of belief. It is so perfect it reflects a life of withdrawal from the world of human relationship, rather than an interaction with it. Of course, this kind of work is not inherently homosexual; but I have known so many repressed gay men who can only live without severe pain in the world if they create a perfect abstraction of what it is, and what their role is in it. Toibin brilliantly explains this syndrome, why the church of old was so often such a siren call for gay men who could not handle their own nature. In Benedict, one sees a near-apotheosis of this type, what Quattrocchi describes as “simply the most repressed, imploded gay in the world.”
Of course, we’ll never know…
Hat tip: Huffington Post
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