Last week, French sociologist and gay activist Frederic Martel announced that Pope Francis would welcome an international group of homosexual activists. He referred to an Argentine compatriot and personal friend of the Pope, the former Supreme Court Judge and homosexual left-intellectual Raul Eugenio Zaffaroni.
Martel's announcement caused a great deal of commotion after the Vatican had just left the Christian World Family Congress in Verona a week ago. While the supreme ecclesiastical body has distanced itself from Christian associations committed to marriage and the family, does the Pope receive homosexual activists? The optics hung doubly wrong.
Martel, citing Zaffaroni, had also announced a "historical speech" by Pope Francis in favor of homosexuality. Yesterday, he dialed back. The speech was "canceled". Thus Pope Francis had missed "a historic opportunity". The apology, however, added to the sociology, as the Pope is under constant observation of his critics in the Church.
Vatican spokesman Gisotti also denied yesterday that Francis will be giving a "historical speech" today. He did not deny the audience. The decisions seem to have fallen only at the last moment. The trick was to send a signal of "openness" to the gay lobby, but not to give the inner-church resistance to the papal course too much impetus.
The result showed today. It was not Pope Francis who received the delegation of homosexuals, but Cardinal Secretary of State Parolin. It was also the cardinal who last week announced the distancing of the Holy See from the World Family Congress.
Behind the scenes, it seems that the last one has been worked out, because it seems hardly believable - however extravagant Zaffaroni may be - that the former Supreme Court Judge invented the audience with the Pope and his "historical speech" and even signed his own signature.
By noon this morning [5 -April], the invited homo-activists knew about the exact program. Homosexual organization Egale Canada tweeted:
"Today in the Vatican, we are witness to a historic meeting with the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to discuss the situation of discrimination and violence against LGBTI [He forgot “P”] people in the world."
Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti then gave, unlike after numerous private audiences, an official statement.
"Cardinal Pietro Parolin received today in the Vatican a group of 50 persons, who work in different ways against the criminalization of homosexuality."
The Cardinal Secretary of State was on this occasion, Zaffaroni and Martel had already announced, "a study on the criminalization of homosexual relations in the Caribbean" passed.
"Cardinal Parolin gave a short greeting to those present, reaffirming the position of the Catholic Church in defending the dignity of every human being and against any form of violence.
“After listening to the comments of some of the participants in the meeting, Cardinal Parolin assured that he would inform the Holy Father about the content of the study. "
The "Globo Homo” was very pleased with the audience, even if it was not given by the Pope himself. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) tweeted:
"ILGA World attended the historic meeting and called for a deeper dialogue."
ILGA World in the Vatican
ILGA World, the Globo Homo umbrella organization, also published a detailed statement.
In fact, the audience was "historic" even without Pope Francis. For the first time, the Gay Lobby was officially able to incorporate its more ventral positions into the Vatican, and was recognized by the highest government representative of the Pope, the Secretary of State, as a dialogue partner at state, not pastoral level. The attendees were not received as persons with their individual destinies, but - for the first time in history - as representatives of the organized gay lobby.
Egale Canada wrote on Twitter:
"We are proud to participate in this moment in history. This is the first time that #LGBTI activists have met #Vatican. At a meeting with Cardinal Parolin, we called on Pope Francis (@Pontifex) to make a statement condemning the criminal laws that persecute LGBTI people.”
How much balancing act does the Church engage in behind the closed doors for the Christian World Family Congress and the open doors to the organized gay lobby?
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Twitter (Screenshots)
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org