Robin Pomeroy did her best impression of a publicist in a nearly one-sided article for Reuters on Tuesday that spotlighted homosexuals in Rome "toasting the departure of the worst Church leader they can imagine" – Pope Benedict XVI. Pomeroy quoted extensively from LGBT activist Franco Grillini, but failed to mention his radical left wing politics, which included a run as a Communist Party candidate in Italy in the 1980s.
Grillini decried the outgoing pontiff as "the most reactionary pope ever, who made homophobia one of his battle cries." The far left politician must not have heard of the past four bishops of Rome who took the name Pius. In particular, Pius XI prophetically foresaw the current push to redefine marriage in a 1930 encyclical and issued the strongest condemnation of this course:
...Some men go so far as to concoct new species of unions, suited, as they say, to the present temper of men and the times....Indeed there are some who desire and insist that these practices be legitimatized by the law or, at least, excused by their general acceptance among the people. They do not seem even to suspect that these proposals partake of nothing of the modern "culture" in which they glory so much, but are simply hateful abominations which beyond all question reduce our truly cultured nations to the barbarous standards of savage peoples.
The "worst Church leader they can imagine" line came in the writer's lead sentence. She continued, "For drinkers in Rome's best known gay bar, Benedict's abdication is a blessing," and then quoted from bar owner Flavia Servadei, who slammed Benedict XVI as "less human than the last one," meaning Pope John Paul II.
Pomeroy inserted the "most reactionary pope" quote from Grillini two paragraphs later, whom she merely identified as the "founder of Italy's biggest gay advocacy group Arcigay". The radical activist continued that "his [Benedict XVI's] resignation was good news."
The journalist thought it fit to include four more quotes from Grillini later in her article, as well as two more from Servadei:
While Britain, France and several U.S. states have allowed or are considering allowing gay marriage, in Italy attempts to create some limited form of civil partnership for same-sex couples have failed.
"In Italy, politicians are much more servile to the Vatican, they are very obedient, there is an element of cowardice," said Grillini....
"I'm not even talking about marriage," said Servadei, one of three women who co-own the bar, instantly recognizable by the rainbow logo above the door which has become an international symbol of gay rights.
"Just the right to visit my partner if she is ill in hospital. In Italy they can stop me doing that ... I want the recognition of equality between people that is in our constitution."
...Under Benedict, Grillini says, the Church has gone to more conservative "extremes" due to the "fierce competition" from radical Islam and evangelical Christianity.
"They are trying to stem the competition posed by the religious radicalism of Islam or Christian fundamentalism by adopting the same message ... The Catholic Church is squeezed by competition from new religious extremes that I believe represent the real danger in today's world."
... As the pope retires to a convent in the Vatican gardens, anyone hoping that his successor will be more liberal on homosexuality or other social issues such as contraception or divorce, is likely to be disappointed.
All 117 men who will enter the conclave next month were appointed cardinal - giving them the right to vote in the secretive papal election - either by Benedict or his predecessor John Paul.
"The college of cardinals is made up of very old people - a male chauvinist gerontocracy," said Grillini. "So we have no illusion about a new pope having more moderate views about civil rights and homosexuality."
Pomeroy did quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as from John Paul II and Benedict XVI, but these were very brief excerpts compared to the extended quotes from Grillini and Servadei:
...The Roman Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are a "grave depravity" and "do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity". Homosexuals themselves, however, should be "accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity".
Although remembered by many people as a gentler figure than his successor, Pope John Paul II criticized an international gay pride parade through Rome in 2000 as an "offence to Christian values" and reaffirmed that the Church considered homosexuality "objectively disordered".
Benedict, 85, who in his youth was considered a liberal theologian, made the battle against Western secularism a central part of his papacy and called gay marriage a threat to "human dignity and the future of humanity itself".