Last March, Pope Benedict XVI explicitly blessed the anti-LGBT spiritual bullying campaign of the U.S. Catholic bishops in an address delivered to a delegation headed by Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt (one of the most outspoken homophobes in the American Catholic hierarchy). Many current and former LGBT Catholics, myself included, were horrified and disgusted by the Pope’s divisive gesture. I wrote at the time:
Pope Benedict’s words today, delivered to a group of bishops headed by one of the American Catholic Church’s most notorious homophobes, amount to nothing less than an official endorsement — no, a blessing — of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ all-out campaign of spiritual bullying and forceful political lobbying against American lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, couples, and families.
The leader of the religion into which I was born has just cloaked anti-gay hatred with the mantle of faith to an unprecedented degree and explicitly endorsed malicious religion-based bigotry in a way I never imagined possible.
Awful, right? Well this week, Benedict pulled a stunt that was (unbelievably) even more reprehensible: he blessed Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, who has promised to pass the infamous “Kill the Gays Bill” as a “Christmas gift” to the Ugandan people. Seriously. According to a report from Uganda’s New Vision News, Kadaga seemed almost breathlessly effusive as she described the encounter:
Kadaga who led a delegation of Ugandan legislators to the Vatican expressed delight at meeting the Pope and visiting St Peter’s Basilicca [sic].
“I think this is a moment that cannot be repeated. We have been reading about him, hearing stories about St.Peter’s Basilica but now we are here physically. “I think it is something that I will remember all my life. It’s a very great moment and I thank God for this opportunity,” she said minutes after meeting the Pope.
The Speaker dedicated to all Ugandans readings from the book of St.Mark which the Pope quoted in several languages during the Vatican mass. She handed over to the Pope a portrait of the Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo, a historical place where Christians were murdered because of their allegiance to their faith.
If you’ve just spat out your coffee, you’re not alone. Noted gay blogger David Badash says it best: “The deathly irony is inescapable.” And if that wasn’t ironic enough:
The Ugandan delegation was in Rome to attend the 7th Consultative Assembly of Parliamentarians for the International Criminal Court and the World Parliamentary Conference on Human Rights.
I am stunned, folks. Apparently, even a person who wants to kill gays for Christmas can get a blessing from Pope Benedict XVI. Pure evil.
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h/t: David Badash
Incidentally, Badash and Andy Towle both report that the Mass where Benedict blessed Kadaga was also the Mass at which the Pope sent his first tweet. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to do a little tweeting myself, to let ol’ Pontifex know how I feel about his blessing a woman about to commit crimes against humanity.
Originally published at Back2Stonewall.