A prominent Catholic and gay blogger has renewed speculation that the outgoing Pope Benedict may be secretly gay.
Following the announcement that Benedict will not go into hidden retirement but will instead continue living in the Vatican with trusted secretary Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, The Dish's Andrew Sullivan penned a post titled, "Two Popes, One Secretary," in which he speculates that "something truly weird going on."
The 56-year-old Gaenswein, dubbed "Gorgeous Georg" by the Italian media, was recently featured on the cover of Italian Vogue, according to the New York Daily News. Vogue, which did not interview the archbishop for the article, titled its piece: "Father Georg - It's not a sin to be beautiful."
"So Benedict’s handsome male companion will continue to live with him, while working for the other Pope during the day," Sullivan writes. "Are we supposed to think that’s, well, a normal arrangement?"
Clearly, Sullivan does not.
In a past column, Sullivan concluded that it "seems pretty obvious" that "the current Pope is a gay man," albeit one who has not "explored his sexuality, or has violated his own strictures on the matter." Detailing the close relationship between His Holiness and the papal right-hand man, Sullivan's column cites Colm Tóibín's tabloid-esque review of Angelo Quattrocchi's book The Pope Is Not Gay.
From the review:
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.’
Gaenswein's proposed living arrangement is just more proof for Sullivan that the pope is closeted. "This man – clearly in some kind of love with Ratzinger (and vice-versa) will now be working for the new Pope as secretary in the day and spending the nights with the Pope Emeritus," Sullivan wrote this week. "This is not the Vatican. It’s Melrose Place."
Sullivan's column is more grist for the Vatican's gay rumor wheel, coming on the heels of a bombshell article in Italian paper La Repubblica, which claimed the pope's resignation was influenced by a damning internal document that reportedly cited powerful lobbying influences in the Vatican, including a gay lobby.
La Repubblica detailed other points from the alleged dossier, including the claim that a gay underground network organized sexual meetings of members at venues across Rome and Vatican City