Unsure of what to get that lapsed Catholic on your holiday shopping list? You might consider the late anarchist, poet and journalist Angelo Quattrocchi’s new pamphlet “The Pope Is Not Gay!”
Quattrocchi documents Joseph Ratzinger’s time as a member of the Bavarian branch of the Hitler Youth, his stint as the ultra-reactionary frontman of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly the Office of the Holy Roman Inquisition), and his time as Pope Benedict XVI. Throughout his career in holy orders, Ratzinger was a stentorian voice opposing the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, taking the most reactionary stance on every issue.
Since becoming Pope, Ratzinger has used the Holy See to spout a steady stream of virulent homophobic, misogynistic and reactionary demagogy, much of which is recounted in this slim volume. Quattrocchi quotes liberally from these hateful, repressive and oppressive pronouncements throughout his pamphlet and also includes the full texts as a series of appendices.
The author revels in many hilarious shots at Benedict’s own rumoured sexual ambiguity. He pokes fun at Ratzinger’s flamboyant sartorial style, his trademark red Prada shoes, his glitter-and-be-gay vestments, and a taste in headwear that would do Philip Treacy proud. He also makes insinuations about the nature of His Holiness’s special relationship with his dreamy, matinee-idol companion, Padre Georg Gänswein.
Quattrocchi’s polemic ends on a seemingly too-comforting note as he calls for us gays to take pity on our potential holy fellow traveller.
“The secularist will inevitably wonder, not particularly maliciously, whether such fury isn’t the fruit of a deeply repressed desire for what he condemns,” writes Quattrocchi. “Of an unconscious desire which manifests itself as its opposite …. Now that he has ascended to the throne, our hero has discovered the dazzling clothes, the trappings of power and wealth, which centuries of pomp have draped on the shoulders of his predecessors. In this way, his true nature, his deepest unspoken inclinations are revealed. In short, he might simply be the most repressed, imploded gay in the world.”
Quattrocchi may have taken a less empathetic tone had he not passed away in 2009, not quite managing to live long enough to see the full scale of the child abuse scandal and Ratzinger’s key role in it.
Had he, for instance, learned of Ratzinger’s central involvement in the cover-up, concealment and protection of Lawrence C Murphy, a Wisconsin priest who sexually abused as many as 200 boys at a church-run school for the deaf, he may have joined atheists Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins in calling for Ratzinger’s arrest for crimes against humanity.
In light of recent developments, Quattrochi’s critique seems too glibly entertaining to meet the level of moral outrage required, but he does a great service by collecting the primary documents in one place as well as crafting an entertaining and provoking pamphlet.