Homosexual Activist Accuses Vatican of “Moral Vandalism”

(Remnant News Watch for September 15, 2008)

Mark Alessio

The gay rights activist Peter Tatchell claims the Vatican is “promoting ‘an act of moral vandalism’ for requesting the removal of the body of a Victorian British Cardinal from his grave,” reports the Times, UK (Aug. 19, 2008):

The Vatican has asked for the body of John Henry Newman to be transferred from his grave at a cemetery in Rednal, near Birmingham to the Oratory Church in Edgbaston, prior to an expected decision by the Church to declare Newman "blessed", a penultimate step on the path to sainthood, in 2009.

Cardinal Newman is buried alongside his good friend and fellow convert to the Catholic Faith, Fr. Ambrose St. John. Life-long friends, they had shared a house in Edgbaston, outside Birmingham. On August 11, 2008, which marked the 118th anniversary of the death of Newman, the British Government gave permission for the transferal of his remains to the Oratory Church in Edgbaston, where they can be visited by Catholic pilgrims.

Peter Tatchell described the Vatican's actions as "an act of religious desecration”:

Newman repeatedly made it clear that he wanted to be buried next to his life-long partner, Ambrose St. John. No one gave the Pope permission to defy Newman's wishes. The re-burial has only one aim in mind: to cover up Newman's homosexuality and to disavow his love for another man. It is an act of shameless dishonesty and personal betrayal by the gay-hating Catholic Church.

There is little doubt that Newman and St. John were gay and had a loving, long-term same sex relation ship. It is impossible to know whether this relationship involved sex. It is conceivable that both men had a gay orientation but chose to abstain from sex. Abstinence does not alter a person's sexual orientation."

Comment: Who is Peter Tatchell, and from whence comes his tender concern for the last will and testament of a faithful Catholic priest? Described as a “homosexual activist” and “human rights campaigner,” Tatchell reveals a lot about himself in his writings:

- In his article, “Lowering the Unrealistic Age of Consent Will Help Teens” (The Irish Independent - March 10 2008), Tatchell states, “An age of consent of 14 might be more reasonable. If sex at 14 is consensual, and no one is hurt or complains, is criminalization in the public interest? Is it in the 14-year-old's interest?”

- In an article which appeared in The Guardian, UK (Feb. 14, 2008), Tatchell states that “homosexuality is fundamental to the human species” and envisions “a future non-homophobic society” where “homosexuality as a separate, exclusive orientation and identity will begin to fade (as will its mirror opposite, heterosexuality), as we evolve into a sexually enlightened and accepting society. The vast majority of people will be open to the possibility of both opposite-sex and same-sex desires.”

- In a March 15, 2008 speech to the European Feminist Union Summit titled “Straight Male Machismo Underpins All Tyranny,” Tatchell states: “Queers deviate from traditional masculinity. We reject the orthodox model of what it is to be a man. By so doing, we are sexual subversives who unravel the straight machismo that underpins all relations of oppression and exploitation.”

- In various online editorials, Tatchell has stated that “The Pope talks like a gay man,” “The Bible is to gays what Mein Kampf is to Jews,” and pornography can be “educative, liberating, empowering, fulfilling and immensely socially beneficial.” In an article titled “Was Jesus Gay?”, Tatchell states: “Was Jesus queer? We don't know. But it is a possibility that cannot be ruled out. One version of St. Mark's gospel – which is still the subject of academic dispute – alludes to Jesus having a homosexual relationship with a youth he raised from the dead.”

This is some pretty serious navel gazing. Tatchell must filter EVERYTHING through his radical “gay” agenda. Homosexuality is “fundamental to the human species.” Sexual relations with 14-year-old boys will be in the boys’ “interest.” The Pope “talks like a gay man” (imagine if a heterosexual accused someone of “talking” like a gay man). Jesus raised a boy from the dead in order to indulge in carnal pursuits with the lad (according to “one version” of St. Mark’s Gospel). Heck, the practice of homosexuality will even topple dictatorships!

After the death of Fr. St. John in 1875, Cardinal Newman wrote, "I have ever thought no bereavement was equal to that of a husband's or a wife's, but I feel it difficult to believe that any can be greater, or anyone's sorrow greater, than mine." Austin Ivereigh, writing for the blog of the liberal Jesuit magazine, America (of all places), noted:

The Cardinal – a hyper-sensitive, even delicate man – had intense friendships of the sort common in that age, especially in all-male bastions such as the clergy and Oxford. We nowadays lack a word for the kind of intense association between celibates of the same sex which was common then.

One must also keep in mind that the popular image of the “effeminate” members of the Oxford Movement, an image cherished by liberal academia, is partly a product of Protestant resistance to those Anglican men who were looking towards the Church of Rome for inspiration and guidance.

In his 1987 book, The Bourgeois Experience: The Tender Passion, historian Peter Gay quotes an 1898 report by John Kensit, founder of the Protestant Truth Society, who attended what he described as a “ritualist” Good Friday Service in London. Kensit wrote that the service was conducted by “a priest in petticoats” and attended by “very poor specimens of men ... a peculiar sort of people, very peculiar indeed.” Mr. Gay writes, “Kensit was a demagogue, his Society a gang of bullies who enjoyed nothing so much as breaking up Anglo-Catholic services, and his audience already persuaded of, and theatrically revolted by, the ‘effeminacy’ of all Anglo-Catholics and their perverted flirtation with Rome.”

Yes, Newman declared his intentions regarding his own burial. "I wish, with all my heart,” he wrote, “to be buried in Fr. Ambrose St. John's grave – and I give this as my last, my imperative will. This I confirm and insist on." All well and good. But who, in his right mind, would imagine that such a request would trump, in Newman’s mind, considerations for beatification?

No, Peter Tatchell cares nothing for the earthly remains of Cardinal John Henry Newman. There is no joy in his heart at the prospect of sainthood for this devoted son of the Catholic Church. Celibate friendships between males, however intense they may be, are a scandal and anathema to homosexual activists. Peter Tatchell has no interest in Cardinal Newman becoming a Catholic Saint. But he seems intent on making Newman a different object of veneration – namely, a “gay icon.” In the process, he paints a derivative DaVinci Code-like scenario of a nefarious and hateful Church stooping to grave-robbing in order to hush-up a renowned priest’s homosexuality. Tatchell would do better simply to heed these words of Cardinal John Henry Newman himself, from one of his Oxford University Sermons: “Let us take things as we find them. Let us not attempt to distort them into what they are not. We cannot make facts. All our wishing cannot change them.”



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