Saturday, December 26, 2009

Woman Tackles Pope; Seminarian Clutches Pearls

This video was taken at the 10 PM Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican.


     It's shocking footage, for sure.  That anyone would physically attack someone while they are praying or performing a religious ceremony disgusts me.  I always had a fear of this sort of thing while I was a priest.  When up on the altar, one is completely exposed, and people have taken advantage of this vulnerability in history.  Liberation Theologian and Archbishop Oscar Romero, who sided with the poor of El Salvador against the rich and, for a long while, anti-liberation-theology-Vatican backed Salvadoran government, was shot dead while celebrating Mass.  When I was in El Salvador in 2001, I put my fingers in the bullet hole in the wall in the back of the sanctuary

     But in history there are also examples of religious people using the "sanctuary" of churches as a way to kill and commit genocide.  At the Rock of Cashel in Ireland, Protestants burned Irish Catholics.  In the Catholic churches of Rwanda, Tutsis took refuge only to have holy priests and nuns point the way for the military to massacre the vulnerable believers who thought they were safe in the Catholic churches.  In the Revolutionary war, there are reports that the British did the same to Americans in their churches, as the (not-so-good) film The Patriot portrayed so tragically.

     So, who was this Woman in Red that pulled Pope Ben to the floor during the Vatican Christmas Eve mass? She was not an angry atheist, not a militant lesbian protesting the church's continual ban on women's ordinations, not a radical Muslim terrorist, not a victim of sexual abuse by a priest (that we know of) seeking revenge, and not a Jew angry at Pope Ben's anti-Jewish blunders.

     The Associated Press reports that the woman was an unarmed Swiss-Italian national with psychiatric problems, Susanna Maiolo, 25, who attempted to do the same thing to the Pope at last year's Christmas Eve mass.  She's since been checked into a clinic for treatment.  The Pope is fine and he complete the Mass, but an elderly Cardinal Etchegaray was knocked to the ground in the commotion, broke his hip, and is awaiting surgery.

     While the gasps and screams of the faithful are understandable, a few of the clerics responses were a bit revealing.  Start the video below at about 1:00 to see the contrast between the old bishop's and the young seminarian's responses.


     The old bishop reacts like it's no big deal: "What to do?"


     The young straight seminarian (because the Vatican doesn't accept gays into the seminaries anymore) reacts instinctively by grasping his pearls.

First the gasp...


and then the grasp...


     But the Woman in Red (perhaps an undercover cardinal) wasn't the only believer taking the occasion of the high holy day to draw attention to herself.  Two of the bishops, who were just exposed in Ireland's Murphy Report as despicable participants in the cover-up and enabling of priests' sexual abuse of children, took Christmas as their occasion to resign and had priests throughout the Archdiocese of Dublin read their letters of resignation during Christmas masses.  While I'm happy they finally resigned and offered an apology, was Christmas really the best time to do this?  I thought Christ was the "reason for the season."

     There's nothing like religious men and women taking their own precious holy day and making it about themselves.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And I know you are apart of the despicable cover up of sexual abuse! Admit you are one. Admit that you and the pedophiles are apart of a gay kabal that took over our Church.