Bear Growls: Egg Gate

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Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear analyzes the context of the Pope’s seeming endorsement of gay themed kid books:

More on Egg-Gate: The Gay Storybook and the Pope

 
In the interests of good journalism, the Bear wouldn’t write anything at all. But we’re way beyond that by now, woodland creatures. So here is a consolidation of information scattered through the Bear’s previous story and comments on the apparent endorsement by Pope Francis of a children’s book promoting homosexuality.

It all started in June, when the new mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, banned 49 books from the city’s preschool libraries. After a major controversy erupted, he rescinded the ban on all but two books, one of which was Piccolo Uovo.

Gay Penguins, Lesbian Rabbits, and a Rainbow

Piccolo Uovo, or “Little Egg,” is a children’s book written by Francesca Pardi. Among the fans of the book is gay pop icon Elton John, who, along with his male partner, have obtained two little boys, four-year-old Zachary and two-year-old Elijah. The book-banning became an international incident when Sir Elton blasted Brugnaro in the press. He described Piccolo Uovo this way:

Here is one of the Furnish-John family’s favourite storybooks. It champions an all-inclusive world where families come in all shape, sizes and colours. And most importantly, that families are about love. Our boys adore it.

Piccolo Uovo also champions families headed by gay penguins and lesbian rabbits.

It is important to note that this whole situation unfolded against the backdrop of a high-profile controversy. There is every reason to believe the Vatican was aware of this controversy. As we shall see, the Vatican had in its possession pro-homosexual books by the author sent by the author herself. The point to remember is that the response by the Vatican was done with eyes wide open.

At some point, the author of the book, Francesca Pardi, sent an unknown number of copies of her books to Pope Francis. They included seven or eight books expressly dealing with homosexual issues. Accompanying them was a plaintive letter that Pardi showed to a reporter from The Guardian. According to that newspaper, her letter included the following plea:

Many parishes across the country are in this period sullying our name and telling falsehoods about our work which deeply offends us,” she wrote. “We have respect for Catholics … A lot of Catholics give back the same respect, why can’t we have the whole hierarchy of the church behind us?

Pardi was surprised to hear back from the Vatican.  In a letter dated July 9, Msgr. Peter B. Wells, a senior official in the Vatican secretariat, wrote back on behalf of the Pope. It said:

His holiness is grateful for the thoughtful gesture and for the feelings which it evoked, hoping for an always more fruitful activity in the service of young generations and the spread of genuine human and Christian values.

Msgr. Wells, an American, was appointed to his position by Pope Benedict. According to Vatican-watcher John Allen, Wells is far more than an ordinary functionary. He is a bellwether of Vatican opinion and a man of significant influence. In 2013, Allen wrote this in the National Catholic Reporter of Wells.

Cables revealed as part of the Wikileaks scandal show how much diplomats rely on Wells for readings of the Vatican’s take on sensitive issues, such as the church’s sexual abuse scandals. Other players know the score, too. In 2010, when parishioners in Boston wanted to appeal the closing of nine local parishes, they consulted a couple of canon lawyers about the best way to get the pope’s attention, and the reply was to address the petition to Wells.

Msgr. Wells seems like the last fellow to do something that did not reflect the Pope’s sentiments.

After the Guardian story broke on Friday, the Vatican Press Office issued issued a terse statement which placed responsibility for the letter squarely on Msgr. Wells. It did not mention homosexuality specifically, but explained the letter was not meant to endorse anything “not in line with the Gospel.” “In no way does the letter from the Secretariat of State mean to endorse behaviour and teachings not in line with the Gospel.”

The letter from Wells to Pardi on behalf of Pope Francis was also supposed to private.

The emerging narrative is that this was merely a polite, routine letter to an author of children’s books. The problem with this is that it completely ignores the context, which in this case, is everything.

Analysis

So what happened?

First of all, note that Pardi’s letter discusses the controversy and expressly asks for support of “the whole hierarchy of the Church.” In other words, she is asking the Pope — to whom she sent the letter and the books — to take her side in the controversy. And that’s exactly what she got, albeit in very careful language.

Second, the letter on behalf of the Pope speaks for itself. How the Vatican Press Office imagines one can praise an author for children’s books that favor homosexuality and yet not endorse “behavior and teachings not in line with Gospel,” is quite the mystery. Clearly, this is damage control to shift the blame to Wells and backtrack when the Guardian made the papal endorsement public. lt seems to have worked. The accepted narrative is that this was just a routine, polite letter to an author of children’s books, and the Pope had nothing to do with it.

Yet Wells obviously felt he had the authority to speak on behalf of Pope Francis on a well-known controversy involving a children’s book featuring gay penguins.  It would take a real Vaticanista to know if Wells would do that without the Pope’s knowledge, but it seems unlikely to the Bear. If this had been some under-the-radar thing, the Vatican might plead ignorance. This was a matter of controversy, however, as shown by the public record, Pardi’s letter and the books she sent.

It is interesting to consider once again John Allen’s assessment of Wells. “[D]iplomats rely on Wells for readings of the Vatican’s take on sensitive issues.” This is a man acutely sensitive to his boss’s positions. How likely is it that Wells misread Pope Francis on the controversial book?

Well’s letter is admittedly pretty generic. (Query: does praise for spreading “genuine human and Christian values” seem odd coming from the Vatican?) Even so, it is blandly encouraging to an author who writes storybooks on lesbian rabbits for children. This is really the bottom line.

As the Bear asked in the previous story, what would it take to get Msgr. Wells, on behalf of the Pope, to encourage the aggressively orthodox Catholicism contained in this blog? The sun standing still comes to mind, but probably not even that. And yet Francesca Pardi gets an attagirl from Pope Francis for writing Elton John’s and David Furnish’s favorite gay storybook.

This might be dismissed as an aberration were it not for Pope Francis’ — and indeed most of the hierarchy’s — famous tolerance for sexual deviance. This is the “Who am I to Judge” papacy, the “Bravo!” Church. Pope Francis’ priorities do not include teaching on the evils of abortion, homosexuality and contraception. He is a “son of the Church,” but finds “it is not necessary to talk of these issues all the time.” Or, as it turns out, any of the time.

This is not gratuitous criticism of the Pope. It recalls the context which makes it seem plausible that Pope Francis told Wells to “send a nice letter to the lady who writes about love and acceptance for children with gay parents.” So whatever the details of this scandal, in a real sense, Pope Francis owns it.

Go here to read the comments.  What to make of this mess?  The most charitable interpretation is that Pope Francis is incompetent and in the hands of staff dominated by the gay lobby in the Vatican, whose existence Pope Francis confirmed.  A darker interpretation is that Pope Francis has no problem with this thinly veiled homosexual indoctrination aimed at kids.  Take your pick.  I lean toward the former explanation but the latter certainly cannot be ruled out.

 

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14 Comments

  1. I wonder if even Wells knew much about the granular content of this regardless of what most Italians knew and I give Pope Francis a pass as being not involved at all. And that said…chaotic Pope Francis is not what we need. We need a boring to the world…administrative person who does not want to write or talk or impress the Noble prize jury or get canonized. We need someone who works the phone all day removing married gay heads of Fordham theology departments and raising billions from one billion Catholics from the bully pulpit to relocate persecuted by Islam Catholics to South America….we do not need someone who works the creative keyboard and hates administrative work.
    Enough with the Church as library. We need Pope Julius II action orientation….without his two daughters though.

  2. For those inclined to give Pope Francis is a pass, the Bear humbly begs the indulgence of Dr. McClarey to respectfully invite your attention to a thought experiment called “Birds of a Feather” at the top of Bear’s blog. The Bear believes if this scandal were over something people really cared about, the Vatican’s actions and reaction would be considered completely unacceptable.

  3. There was a Rowan Atkinson routine wherein he pretends to ask members of Parliament to translate phrases and answer questions. The punchlines consisted of film clips of MPs drawn from television news shows. Asked to translate, “the minister thanks you for your kind inquiry”, the translation ‘provided’ by the MP was ‘get lost’.

    At the time one of David Kertzer’s volumes came out, it a review by Russell Hittinger in which Dr. Hittinger noted with some surprise that Kertzer gave great weight to ‘form letters from papal secretaries’. Same deal here, I think. No, I do not think the Pope or anyone of consequence gives more than a cursory look at c**p over the transom.

  4. I hope you are right Art, and with any other Pope I would say that you were. With the bunch currently at the Vatican I am not sure. These type of “missteps” always seem to run in one direction.

  5. In other news, the Trojans apologized to the Greeks and thanked them for finding their mission AWOL soldiers who were hiding inside that fake Horse.

    Further evidence has been discovered that the 30 pieces of silver held by Judas was merely a generous donation by various Pharisees and scribes friendly to the new Church.

    I’m with Donald–simple mathematics doesn’t allow for all the many errors and embarrassing comments and misstatement to accidentally all flow in the same bad direction.

  6. This appears to be an operation of more gradualism, to add to ‘doctrine development’ for pastoral activity on the ground in the peripheries, with, once more, no clear information (Gospel) for inquiring minds. At least the blind Jack Russell terrier had a guide and was, also, able to be adopted. There is a mass who still don’t understand the wedding garment parable, among others, and who would rather be adopted by Pope Francis than Who created them.

  7. Whose eggs and whose children are being scrutinized and indoctrinated? Elton John’s children are not his sperm and his wife’s eggs. If they, in fact, are, the children were placed at unnecessary risk of damage and bodily harm during IVF . Inflicting body risk and harm is inhuman. Of course aborting the disabled and damaged human beings is eugenics on a small scale but if it is only one person’s soul who is being put at risk all heaven resists.
    Again: James 1: 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
    “to keep oneself unstained from the world” This is the crux of the environmental issues and the save the whales agenda. The only saving of creation that counts in the eyes of God are the orphans and widows. Sitting at Mass Sunday was St. James addressing Pope Francis’ visit to America, admonishing us all “to keep oneself unstained from the world” Relinquish Gaia, the whales, the fracking, the redistribution of wealth already addressed as that issue of religion and our relationship with God: “to visit the orphans and widows in their affliction.”
    “to keep oneself unstained from the world”. is true love for God and real religion in an intimate relationship with one’s Creator , in thought, word and deed, protected and proscribed by our constitutional First Amendment. The Universal Declaration on Human
    Rights of the United Nations never explains from WHOM (the Prime Mover) the community gets it sovereignty to endow the person, or human soul, the human soul who is denied. Atheism imposed , unconstitutional: “or prohibit the free exercise thereof”

  8. I wish I could say that Francis was not involved, but if one looks at other comments…! There is website I found recently that shows together what he has said, and compares it with other Popes… its called denzingerbergoglio-en.com. Very good. This article, Donald, was very enlightening. I hope you can post more things showing how things are done without being said…

  9. These type of “missteps” always seem to run in one direction.

    True, but the chatterati and leftoid operatives with bylines likely take no interest when they run in the other direction, so if the Pope actually does say something bog standard, no megaphone. I agree with you that Francis and his camarilla seem just the sort to trade in the kultursmog.

  10. “And that said…chaotic Pope Francis is not what we need. We need a boring to the world…administrative person who does not want to write or talk or impress the Noble prize jury”
    .
    Bill Bannon kudos

  11. To quote Ronald Reagan, “personnel is policy.” Or, to quote another era, “Houston, we have a problem.”

  12. Gay Penguins! That concept requires a demented mind. Skipper from The Penguins of Madagascar would slap Pardi and Wells upside the head. For those of you who don’t have little ones at home, Skipper is a fearless right wing hard a** who never backs down from a challenge. I’ll post a YouTube link later.

  13. bill bannon: I would not accept the Nobel Peace Prize if they gave it to me after Obama got it. I would not accept a Medal of Freedom, something I have wanted since I was very young, since they gave it to Clinton, that thief and liar.

Comments are closed.