Monday, December 12, 2005

David Norris and the Nazi Pope

In a Sunday Tribune interview (11th December 2005), David Norris is quoted as saying ”I will not take moral instruction from anyone who, like the present Pope, wore the swastika on his arm while people like myself were being put alive into ovens at Auschwitz simply for being gay.”

This latest attack on the Pope (who was 6 when the Nazis came to power in 1933 and 12 at the outbreak of WWII in 1939) is a typically over-the-top contribution from the pompous and posturing Norris, which frankly does little to promote rational debate about the role of gay clergy in the catholic church.

Legal recognition of gay rights has progressed significantly in the past 20 years and, in fairness, David Norris has played an important role in that advance. There is widespread acceptance that there is further to go, particularly with regard to granting legal status and rights to partners as the essential next step.

There should be no logical reason why a homosexual priest cannot be as celibate as a heterosexual one. But could it be that gay literature, tv & film output and celebrity media coverage promote an image of a very flamboyant lifestyle, one which is often very sexually active, opportunistically predatory and highly promiscuous?

In the rush of freedom after centuries of repression, has the gay community been badly served by what might appear to be an over-emphasis on hedonism and licentiousness? Mind you, it is acknowledged that gays typically have greater spending power and leisure time than straights, given that they generally avoid the cost and commitment of rearing a family.

If “gay” seems to synonymous with “sexually active” in public perception then surely it’s up to the gay community to correct this perception (unless it’s true) if it causing difficulties for that community? It’s reminiscent of that movie where a white guy challenges a black guy - “how come that’s the only racial stereotype you people never object to?”.

Given the recent spate of sexual scandals that have so damaged the church, it's hardly surprising that they would adopt a conservative approach in this area. They’re frankly in a “no-win” situation - they’ll be crucified by sections of the media if they’re seen to be pro-gay (neutral) or anti-gay. Look at what's happening in the "liberal" Anglican church over the elevation of a gay bishop.

The latest edict allows for the ordination of gay priests and for existing gay priests to continue in the ministry - surely not a position that would have been anticipated by David Norris when the present Pope was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

I, for one, won’t be taking any moral instruction from David Norris.

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