Pope’s ‘Gay Lobby’ Comment About Vatican Foyer Misconstrued
Rome, 12 June (Reuters) – Following Pope Francis’s description of the Vatican complex’s main visitor lobby as “gay,” the Holy See has been scrambling to explain that the pontiff’s remarks have been taken out of context to imply a cabal of homosexuals exerting pressure on governments and societies for greater acceptance.
Francis expressed displeasure with what he called the gay lobby, gesturing with his hands to indicate he meant the lame décor in the vestibule, as is evident in video of the address. Moreover, says Vatican spokesman Father Guisseppe Guini, use of the term “gay” to refer negatively in general about anything has long since lost its specifically homosexual connotation. “Even homosexuals use it without irony to express distaste,” he explained.
The Pope was taken by surprise at the vehemence of objection to his address, in which he had focused primarily on ridding the institution of corruption. Only after encountering specific citations of the objectionable phrase did he realize how his remarks had been misapprehended, according to Father Guini.
This is not the first time a leading Church official has used a word or phrase with meaning vastly different from the one the public understood, says papal historian Beyonda Pale.
A misunderstanding of the name caused the Nike corporation to file an infringement suit against the Society of Jesus, asserting that the term “Jesuit” sounds suspiciously similar to the company’s motto of Just Do It. Nike withdrew the lawsuit when it became clear that the Jesuits came first.
In discussing Jesus’s youth as an apprentice to his adoptive father Joseph the carpenter, Pope John XXIII invoked the Counter Reformation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, sowing confusion among his listeners, who thought the pope was referring again to carpentry. The same pontiff also mispronounced one of the declarations while he was administering communion, and called the wafer “Coprus Christi,” causing the receivers of communion to take offense at the perceived scatological curse.
The previous pope, Benedict XVI, ran into trouble when he mistakenly slurred the word “condos” in discussing residential quarters, resulting in a host of rumors that the Church was altering its position on the use of birth control. The incident prompted one of the papal aides to refer to His Holiness as “Bone-dicked the sex-teen.”