Friday, 7 August 2009

GREGOIRE, Lucien: White Light, Dark Night

The Revolutionary Life of Pope John Paul I

A biography of the "Smiling Pope", John Paul I, including discussion of his support for gay adoption, civil unions.

"The only existing biography of the 33 Day Pope. It is the record of his struggles as an impoverished child, as a revolutionary priest, as an outspoken bishop, as a compassionate cardinal and as a beloved pope. It is the record of his philosophies, and of his hopes, and of his dreams, for mankind. For twenty years as a bishop, he was a rampaging locomotive running about the courts and Parliament of Italy demanding equal rights for oppressed peoples. In 1967, faced by an orphan population of two million in Italy, it was his lobbying in Italian Parliament that made it legal for single persons to adopt children. An opposition member challenged, "That would make it legal for homosexuals to adopt children," Bishop Luciani, responded, "Until the day comes that we can guarantee equal human rights and dignity to the tiniest minority, we cannot truthfully call ourselves a democracy." His intentions concerning bastards, women, homosexuals, etc. was quite evident in his acceptance speech, ." . . we must rise up the courage within us to set aside the convictions of our forefathers and together we will muster the strength to lift those restraints that have been unfairly placed by doctrine upon the everyday lives of many innocent people . . . for God-given human life is infinitely more precious than is man-made doctrine . . ." On the evening of September 26, 1978, he called together the Vatican cardinals. He told them "The Church's ban on contraception is the driving force behind disease, poverty and starvation in third world countries and abortions in first world countries." . . .He told them one thing more. "Mother Church is about to cease to be the cause of many of the world's problems and rather will begin to be the answer to them." "
On his homepage, J.S. O'Leary quotes from Wikipedia on JPI, noting that the "White Night, Dark Light" is their source:

Sexual orientation

In 1941, he wrote a thesis, Strategy of a Strange War (currently in the Apostolic Library), in which he discussed human sexuality after observing the sexual behavior of Italian prisoners. He concluded that sexual orientation was essentially unchangeable, and that it was not uncommon for heterosexual male prisoners to engage in same-sex acts, thus illustrating a distinction between sexual behavior and sexual orientation. During his time as Patriarch of Venice he became particularly outspoken on issues of sexuality, and controversially advocated greater tolerance and acceptance in the Church for gay men and women.

LGBT adoption

He permitted the adoption of children from orphanages in his diocese by homosexual couples reasoning in a letter to a colleague, "that we have found that homosexuals will take handicapped and less than healthy and attractive children. Most importantly they will take bastards." It was his lobbying in the Italian Parliament that made it legal for single persons to adopt children in Italy, directly accepting that this would include homosexuals. In a letter to his mother he bemoaned that "There is something terribly wrong with a society that thinks one's sex is what makes one a good parent".

Gay civil unions

Before his death Pope Paul VI even permitted Luciani to address the Vatican cardinals on the possibility that the Church might encourage homosexuals to enter into long-term loving relationships. This received a poor reception, but in conclusion he stated that :

"The day is not far off when we will have to answer to these people who through the years have been humiliated, whose rights have been ignored, whose human dignity has been offended, their identity denied and their liberty oppressed. What is more we will have to answer to the God who created them".

(However, J.S. O'Leary then describes this source as "of doubtful value", without explanation.
Wikipedia cites a source of doubtful value: Lucien Gregoire, White Light,Dark Night, London, 2007.
Still, as the only existing biography of a Pope who in his brief tenure signalled by any standards a markedly different direction on homosexuality to that taken by his successors, we should consider this evidence seriously, even as we weigh the it with care.)


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