Tuesday, August 05, 2003

A Poisonous Hypocrisy Flashback

This isn't directly related to the gay Bishop issue but it did bring it to mind. On (former) Cardinal Spellman of New York:

The archconservative Spellman was the epitome of the self-loathing, closeted, evil queen, working with his good friend, the closeted gay McCarthy henchman Roy Cohn, to undermine liberalism in America during the 1950s’ communist and homosexual witch hunts. The church has squelched Spellman’s gay life quite successfully, most notably by pressuring The New York Times to don the drag of the censor back in the 1980s. The Times today may be out front exposing every little nasty detail in the Catholic Church’s abuse scandal-a testament to both the more open discussion of such issues today and the church’s waning power in New York-but not even 20 years ago the Times was covering up Spellman’s sexual secrets many years after his death, clearly fearful of the church’s revenge if the paper didn’t fall in line. (During Spellman’s reign and long afterward, all of New York’s newspapers in fact cowered before the Catholic Church. On Spellman’s orders New York’s department stores-owned largely by Catholics-pulled ads from the then-liberal New York Post in the 1950s after publisher Dorothy Schiff wrote commentary critical of his right-wing positions; Schiff was forced to back down on her positions.)


...While Spellman has been long dead, his legacy of hypocrisy lives on: there are closeted homosexuals-often condemning "sexual immorality" publicly while having gay sex privately-throughout the uppermost echelons of the church today. The gay movement in the past 15 years has taken on the Hollywood closet and the Washington political closet, both with dramatic success-and both those institutions have p.r. operations far more sophisticated than the Vatican’s antiquated machine, which can’t even seem to get the aging cardinals to attend a press conference. The media these days also has a much greater appetite for exposing sexual hypocrisy, and is no longer cowed by the Catholic Church. Going down this treacherous road of increased gay-bashing and scapegoating, the Vatican perhaps doesn’t realize what it may be unleashing upon itself. If I were a closeted bishop or cardinal in America, I would be very afraid.