Monday, March 04, 2013

Queer Quote: Scottish Cardinal Confesses Sexual Sins

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, and one of the most prominent homophobes in Great Britain, suddenly resigned his post recently, leaving the country without a cardinal to represent them in the next conclave to select the next Pope. O'Brien's resignation came after the circulation of multiple anonymous accusations of improper sexual conduct between the cardinal (who was also an archbishop) and at least three priests. O'Brien denied the charges at the time but recently released this statement:
"In recent days certain allegations which have been made against me havebecome public. Initially, their anonymous and non-specific nature led meto contest them.
However, I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have beentimes that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of meas a priest, archbishop and cardinal.
To those I have offended, I apologise and ask forgiveness.
To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologise.
I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no furtherpart in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland."
I think we'll take that as today's Queer Quote, shall we? O'Brien's case is stunning for its sheer hypocrisy, because he was proud to be the face and voice of the primary opposition to the marriage equality bill currently working its way through the British Parliament, calling marriage equality “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right” while all the time he was a gay man who had sex with men himself, men who were presumably under his authority, since they were Catholic priests and he was the top prelate in all of Great Britain.

That a virulent homophobe turns out to homosexual is no longer a surprise, it is almost a cliche. After all, for most people homosexuality is not a top issue of concern. So when someone is so vocally homophobic it is often motivated by a burning desire to eliminate some part of their own identity, or to try to be so anti-gay that no one would ever dare to think that such a person could be gay themselves. But a long history in gay activism has shown me that obsession with homosexuality is typically limited to homosexual, either openly so or not.

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