Friday, September 12, 2008

Esprit de Corpse

[Religion] It seems some weird goings-on in Vatican City may result in the exhumation and reburial of Cardinal John Henry Newman's corpse--because the soon-to-be-canonized British cardinal was buried, in accordance with his last wishes, with a priest who was probably his boyfriend.

Now, I'm the first to admit that I don't understand the arcane workings of the Roman Catholic Church. I admire its wonderful use of ritual symbolism: That thing with the black vs. white smoke while the College of Cardinals is selecting a new Pope? Awesome!

I also understand that there are a series of steps on the road to sainthood: veneration, beatification, canonization ... and I may have left something out. The Catholics don't just make a saint out of thin air. The candidate saint is thoroughly vetted, and there has to be substantiation of at least one miracle.

What I don't get is the Vatican's determination to obliterate all evidence that Newman really, really loved a dude, especially since the dude in question was a celibate Catholic priest, so there's no question of any hot, sweaty, man-on-man action. But it was Newman's dying wish to be buried with Fr. Ambrose St. John, the man with whom he shared a house for many years.

Maybe the Holy See has simply recognized an opportunity: Anglicans are on the verge of a schism over the ordination of gay clergy. The Pope could take advantage of the situation and energize British Catholics by canonizing an ex-Anglican Englishman--possibly even making a few homophobic converts in the deal. If only the ex-Anglican Englishman in question weren't so gay! Guess it's time to dig up the bodies.

As a commie-homo-pagan, I'm happy to note that the Catholics I've met have been almost all welcoming and agreeable--hell, in Salt Lake City, Catholics are practically a counterculture--so I don't figure that Ratzinger's exploits have much to do with the body of the American church.

Still--don't homophobic exhumations seem a little--well, heathen?

(Brandon Burt)


  1. Hummm......? Whatever happened to R.I.P.? I certainly hope this showboat sinks, yet let's remain optimistic here. Sometimes all the wrong things are going to happen yet that dosen't mean they wont often work in the right ways....

    Personally I'm not a lesbian, yet believe in validating every individual's freedom to express their love. (If I was one of those cardnials who flew out of this world over a century ago, the empty nest would not be a concern) My only request would be this:

    Garth Brooks singing "Standing Outside the Fire" during the exhumation process.

  2. You're my favorite commie-homo-pagan Brandon!


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