Freshly Doug Weekender

“Brains . . . . . . . must have brains . . . . . . . “
“Get them choirboys inside quick Fred: this one’s getting peckish.”

Well, it’s bye-bye Pope, sort of, and soon enough it’ll be Hello to the new boy. Let’s hope he’s no worse than Benedict, though given the candidates on offer, the omens are not good.

Conservative catholic blogger Andrew Sullivan has pointed out that NewPope will have a bit of a domestic ‘situation’ to handle, given that OldPope will be living within tottering distance, and will generously share his stunningly handsome ‘private secretary’.

“The George Clooney of the Vatican,” aka Archbishop Georg Gänswein is Benedict’s dashing, blue-eyed “private secretary”, He once graced the cover of Italian Vanity Fair under the headline “It’s No Sin To Be Good-Looking,” and Donatella Versace dedicated a collection to him.

57 year old “Gorgeous Georg”, as he’s known around Rome, will continue to live with and take care of the 84 ex-pontiff, while also running the new Pope’s household. Seems like the old boy can’t bear to part with his favourite toyboy. This is of course not unusual in the Catholic circles: what is different is that this time it’s a more or less age-appropriate relationship. Georg makes it sound terribly romantic: Sullivan quotes from a radio interview.

The pope’s day begins with the seven o’clock Mass, then he says prayers with his breviary, followed by a period of silent contemplation before our Lord. Then we have breakfast together, and so I begin the day’s work by going through the correspondence. Then I exchange ideas with the Holy Father, then I accompany him to the ‘Second Loggia’ for the private midday audiences. Then we have lunch together; after the meal we go for a little walk before taking a nap. In the afternoon I again take care of the correspondence. I take the most important stuff which needs his signature to the Holy Father.

When asked if he felt nervous in the presence of the Holy Father, Gänswein replied that he sometimes did and added: ‘But it is also true that the fact of meeting each other and being together on a daily basis creates a sense of familiarity, which makes you feel less nervous. But obviously I know who the Holy Father is and so I know how to behave appropriately. There are always some situations, however, when the heart beats a little stronger than usual.’

Glory be, pass the smelling salts, Veronica!

Vatican insiders were looking forward to a diminution of Georg’s influence when Benedict retired: now his position has been strengthened. The in-house bitching will be reaching ultrasonic frequencies – the way it does from time to time in every sizeable gay organisation.

US businesses, cities, and sportspeople are flocking to submit amicus (friend of the court) briefs to the Supremes as they weigh up whether California’s Prop 8 (which bans same-sex marriage), and the Defense of Marriage Act (which prevents state marriages from being recognised at federal level), should be struck down.

They’ve been joined by President Obama and Clint Eastwood, neatly bracketing the left and right of the US political spectrum. Amicus briefs have no legal weight, but they must be weighing on the justices minds nonetheless.

And briefly, the Republican Party has buckled, allowing Congress to extend the protections of the Anti-Violence Act to include LGBTI; a Tanzanian radio station has been disciplined for airing pro-gay content, and, running against the tide, one former NFL player says it’s not realistic to expect every sports team to accept gay players ‘on religious grounds’. Otherwise the NFL is proving a beacon of light for gay sportspeople.

Have a great weekend!

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)