Pope Benedict XVI, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, has announced he will retire. As the Washington Blade reminds us:
He wrote in a 1986 letter that gay men and lesbians are “intrinsically disordered.” Benedict also said in the same document that gay organizations could no longer use church property. The Vatican’s ongoing opposition to condom use as a way to stop the spread HIV/AIDS has also sparked outrage among advocates.
Anything’s possible, but like his predecessor, Benedict/Ratzinger has stacked the College of Cardinals with hardline reactionaries such as himself, so it might take a miracle for a cardinal not committed to anti-gay, anti-sex philosophy to move forward.
How powerful the Roman church remains is shown by what happened recently in France. As AFP reports:
With opinion polls having consistently shown that a comfortable majority of the French support gay marriage, [Prime Minister] Hollande could never have anticipated that a promise he made in his election manifesto last year would generate so much controversy. A campaign orchestrated by the Catholic church and belatedly backed by the mainstream centre-right opposition steadily gathered momentum throughout the autumn and culminated in a giant protest in Paris last month.
Sowing fear and loathing of religious and sexual minorities, and of the natural expression human sexuality not rigidly controlled by church and state (and reaping the product of such repression, including generations of clerical pedophiles) has been the unfortunate history of the church of Rome.