Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who was forced to resign last week by Pope Benedict XVI, admitted on Sunday that he had had homosexual relations since he became a priest even during his ten years as a cardinal.
The apparent double standard resides in the person of Pope Benedict himself.
According to gay men:
“It seems pretty obvious to me that the current Pope is a gay man.” Andrew Sullivan wrote in 2010. Last month Sullivan told us that the Pope’s personal secretary, Georg Ganswein, was “clearly in some kind of love with Ratzinger (and vice-versa).”
The pope is “a deeply repressed gay man who has caused so much harm to gay people within and without the church,” noted Jayden Cameron of the Gay Mystic blog also last month. His comment appeared on the Bilgrimage blog of gay Catholic theologian, William D. Lindsey PhD, who had earlier noted that Irish writer Colm Tóibín’s “analysis of how a twisted and vitriolic, hidden but omnipresent and pervasive homosexuality in the culture of the Catholic hierarchy turns into cynical blame of openly gay men as a diversionary tool in narratives about the Church’s role in the [sex abuse] crisis is breathtaking.”
Since no one has suggested that Joseph Ratzinger ever physically expressed his homosexuality, one can assume that sexual purity would be highly valued by this pope and that he would choose the same type of men for his inner circle. Therefore, O’Brien’s sexual misconduct is abhorrent to them.
And the pope's attitude about covering up sexual child abuse?
In Germany in the early 1980s, Ratzinger covered up for Fr. Peter Hullermann, accused of raping three boys, when the future pope was archbishop of the Diocese of Munich and Freising. As pope, he never removed any prelate from office for covering up the rape of children.
Many cardinal/electors have similarly terrible records. In just a brief list of the ones we know about, in the U.S. contingent alone there is Timothy Dolan, Francis George, and Justin Rigali in addition to Mahony. To that list we can add these cardinals: Mexican Norberto Rivera, Ireland’s Sean Brady, Belgian Godfried Danneels, the Dutch Ad Simonis and Chilean Francisco Javier Errázuriz.
What can be deduced about the conclave from the above disparate treatment of two cardinals?
As Robert Micklen, Vatican expert for the British Catholic publication, The Tablet, said on NPR News this morning, no cardinal with any lovers in the closet will be elected pope.
Secondly, Mahony’s inclusion tells us that the worldwide systemic sexual abuse of children does not matter. The cardinals are not going to choose anyone who will crack down on prelates who were/are co-conspirators in torturing children. Rather, the next pope may be more media savvy in expressing outrage with appropriate promises that the Church will clean up its image. But he will be as willing to overlook hierarchs' criminal actions as was his two predecessors.
The cardinals, however, will decide who among them is most able to take care of their own house and clean up the “filth” of the gay lobby as well as bringing some unity to a bureaucracy infamous for its infighting and back stabbing.
Many Vatican experts have already assured us (here, here, here and here), the cardinals' priority will be reform of the Roman curia and not the type of reform which will lift any "heavy burdens" (Matthew 23:4) from the laity by ending the Church's misogynist, homophobic, alliance with the 1%.