I haven't commented on this dog-bites-man story of the Vatican being crammed to the gills with homosexual priests who have long since abandoned the increasingly frantic anti-gay ideology of Ratzinger. And most of the commentary has rightly focused on the extreme response of the Vatican - defrock them now for consensual adult sex! - compared with the long tolerance of child rape and abuse. But it is worth noting, once again, how utterly hollow the Vatican is on the subject of homosexuality. It is an institution so embedded with homosexuality it makes Broadway look straight. The stories I've heard! The network of gay priests is vast in Rome, and is, in my mind, as unhealthy for those who get away with it - the hypocrisy must hollow out the soul in the end - as for those who impose it. Instead of grappling with this fact, owning it, and seeking to diversify the priesthood by ending the celibacy requirement and men-only anachronism, the Vatican clings on to denial and repression. And as society and the actual church evolves - as both must - the denial and repression must increase in proportion - until the sheer ridiculousness of the whole thing becomes apparent even to the most devout.
Increasingly, on these issues of modernity, the Vatican of the new millennium seems like the Soviet Politburo of the 1980s. They pretend to believe what they preach while we pretend to obey them. One day, this surreality will pop like a bubble. One day.
(Photo: Joe Klamar/Getty.)