Dec 172010

by Anura Guruge

topless performance for the pope

Click for YouTube video on topless performance for the pope

On Wednesday, at his weekly audience, the pope, Benedict XVI (#266), was entertained by four (apparently fairly famous) topless male acrobats calling themselves the Fratelli Pellegrini (Pellegrini Brothers). They were supposedly there as a part of a convention on circuses organized by the curial Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants. Yes, check this from the Vatican Web site itself.

Here is one news link to get you going. Click on the picture for a YouTube video.

Here are the Google results for what you get if you do a search on ‘pope topless acrobat troupe’. If you read through the comments of those that posted the videos, you will see quite a few unflattering words used to describe the pope — in this instance. In this instance, I believe that most of these words are valid.

I, an inveterate hedonist by nature, am far from a prude. I am very much at home on topless beaches (though alas we don’t have any around here), ardently defend breast feeding in public places and was known for my monthly belly dancing soirees in London for business customers.

That said, I have a BIG problem with a topless performance in front of the pope, quite a few cardinals and a group of cheering nuns. [It reminded me of the adage that ‘it is very difficult to stop once you get into the habit’.] If nuns (or for that matter cardinals) in Boston wanted to be entertained in this manner, in public, they would need to go to Chippendales. While, as a ‘European,’ the lingering (hypocritical) Puritanism in the US amuses me, I know that this level of male nudity would not be permitted at a public circus in the US (and I am a connoisseur of circuses, having even seen the Moscow circus multiple times, once, very memorably, in Moscow, Russia).

This is the second time, in less than a month, where the pope has in some way been involved with male-oriented sexuality — his famous comments on condom use specifically referring to male prostitutes.

Here is my issue. The clergy sex abuse was predominantly against boys and young men. [My prior comments.] Male-on-Male. Now we get two instances …

Yes, I will say it. It strikes ME as if the Vatican is thumbing their collective nose at the sex abuse victims.

That is my problem.

This was NOT necessary.

This was intentionally provocative.

If this happened in the Obama White House their would be calls for impeachment.

Watch the pope in the videos … and MSNBC for one … showed a clip for at least a minute this morning. It shows the pope as an old man without sufficient grip on his domain. Whoever organized this, and I gather this person also organized a break dance demonstration (albeit by fully clad boys) for John Paul II (#265) some years ago, did the pope no favors. If anything, as with the ‘leak’ of the condom comments, one has to believe that their are folks in the Vatican hell bent on causing trouble for the pope and the Church. But, as I have said before, the pope is the CEO. He should be in charge.

Just in the last week, in the comment section of this blog, there was discussion as to some allegations about Paul VI (#263). All I can say, over and over again, ‘what are they thinking?’

As a father of three daughters, I am vehemently opposed to any form of female exploitation. But, I am also adult enough to know that there are women, for example famous actresses, who will perform in the nude not because they have to (for financial or other reasons) but because they want to.

Given that, I would really have preferred to see the pope entertained by four topless females than this unsavory, uncalled for display of Vatican insensitivity.

  12 Responses to “Topless Male Acrobats Entertain The Pope!”

  1. I’m going to leave the cheering Nuns be. Perhaps I’m jaded as my diocese is inundated with liberal Nuns who continue to find new and inventive ways to draw my ire, but I’m just going to pretend they weren’t there and focus on the imbecile who put this on the Pope’s docket.

    I’m sorry but what the hell were they thinking. Yes he is the spiritual leader of over 1billion people worldwide. I’d assume by the last name these performers are probably Catholic and it was the thrill of a lifetime for them to perform in front of the Pontiff. But he is also the Head of State for the Holy See and the last remaining Monarch in the world. For God’s sake whoever planned this needs to be jettisoned back to their home country before they can do more damage to the Pope’s image.

  2. Thank YOU, Darien.
    Exactly my sentiments. This was just meant to be provocative … in a year when there was no place for further provocation.
    I am glad that AT LEAST you concur with this.
    The silence on this issue … and this post … which my wife, incensed, put on HER FaceBook (and ‘millions’ see that … as opposed to my ‘poor’ Next Pope page) … has been deafening. There has been more comments on the ability of elephants to draw pictures.
    All the best Darien. Have a great Christmas.

  3. Anura, late to the party I know – you and Lloys seems to have moved to weightier topics like how many Indian elephants weigh as much as the Earth (which, by the way has a volume much bigger than 621 mi^3).

    Anyway, despite best efforts I cannot see why these male acrobats should in any way be linked to abuse of minors. Yes, the performance was somewhat risque and I am sure the nuns and those among the bishops in the audience who were gay enjoyed the view. I also think the performance was unfortunate given the Church’s antiquated stance on sexuality including homosexuality.
    But I fair to see how it is a slap in the face for the clergy abuse victims. After all, these men are adult and they are performing in public of their own free will. They are thus poor stand-ins for 13 year old minors who have been coerced into perform certain acts in secrecy of the rectory. Other then these men being male (duh!) and their performance being vaguely sexual there is no link whatsoever.

    Let me back up just a little bit here and talk about what I think was going on with the clergy abuse crisis.
    Until fairly recently, being gay was socially unacceptable almost anywhere. Even today it is unacceptable in many parts of the Catholic world. Not being married was suspicious at the very least. So a homosexual that wished to remain inconspicuous either married a “beard” or entered Catholic priesthood – where one had a neat cover of celibacy. Almost all of current cardinals and senior bishops belong to a generation where this applied – including the Pope (who also has the disadvantage of being a “dandy”). I am sure that quite a few in the College and among senior prelates are queer as a $3 bill.
    Anyway, back to the priests fleeing toward celibacy. Note that most of the sexual abuse victims were postpubescent teenagers – this is not pedophilia. I am pretty convinced that after decades of self denial these men went after “targets of opportunity” – young men that they were in charge of. I am not excusing what they did in the least; just trying to explain it.I do not think these priests by and large intended to do harm to these boys going in, but they were part of the system where self denial of one’s sexual desires was enforced by the system itself and sexual desires will out – by hook or by crook. And at least straight priests have the nuns. 🙂

    Given that gay men in the West can live their life openly without fleeing into priesthood the problem might have solved itself anyway – at least in the developed world, not so much in Africa and other areas where homophobia still runs rampant.

  4. OK, let us just let this one stand as it is.

  5. Pope’s latest statement, today, re. clergy sex abuse scandal per The New York Times. Click here.

  6. You make two good points. Thank you. While acrobats cannot work in fur coats, as I had said in my post, IF they were performing in the US, in front of kids, they would have to wear at a minimum an open tunic. Check pictures of any US circus performance. I attend at least once US circus a year … so I kind of know the drill.
    But, your points are valid. They did try to cover up Michelangelo’s Last Judgment. And to be fair, it wasn’t, by a very long chalk, just Julius II. [[ smile, smile ]]

  7. OK, let us just let this one stand as it is.

    Well at least you are not telling me off like you did earlier about the possibility of a dark-skinned Pope. 😉

    There are records of horrible numbers of victims and culprits way back into the fifties and earlier, long before the oft-blamed liberalizing influences of the Vatican II era.

    And I maintain that if anything it is the still very illiberal priestly vocation, rather than any liberalizing tendencies in the Church, that fosters an environment where abuse tends to happen. If you make licit sexuality impossible, some form of illicit sexuality will emerge by default. It might be as innocuous as the priest sticking it to the local widow or a willing nun (or even another priest) but in rare cases it will take a much more sinister turn.

  8. You make two good points. Thank you. While acrobats cannot work in fur coats, as I had said in my post, IF they were performing in the US, in front of kids, they would have to wear at a minimum an open tunic. Check pictures of any US circus performance. I attend at least once US circus a year … so I kind of know the drill.
    But, your points are valid. They did try to cover up Michelangelo’s Last Judgment. And to be fair, it wasn’t, by a very long chalk, just Julius II. [[ smile, smile ]]

    You can’t use US as a serious example here. Our fellow Americans tend to be hysterically prudish when it comes to naked human form. Naked female breasts are visible on many a beach and occasional shampoo commercial in Europe but caused a veritable national security crisis when it was flashed, no matter how briefly, on national TV in the US.
    About covering up nude art. Is it true (as Dan Brown claims in Angels & Demons, a preposterous work at least as far as physics is concerned, don’t know about art history) that the Vatican used to “castrate” nude male statues?

  9. And on this, though a very devout Brit, I agree with the Greeks. They should get the Marbles back with some interest. Maybe they will take Prince Phillip. [Get it?]

    Sorry … LOT I have to catch up on.

    Was thinking about anthropomorphizing. But, it says in the bible, man was made in the image of God. So, Michelangelo was GOLDEN. Nothing to worry about. He took the Bible quite literally, even giving poor Moses two HORNS! Couldn’t one of the 6 popes he dealt with helped him out on that. Hey, Mike, Moses really didn’t have horns on his head.

    Also the panel YOU brought up. God creating the planets. How many did God create? Just Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn? If he created Neptune and Uranus wouldn’t a pope have known about this? What about Pluto? Did God create that as a planet … and if so are WE all damned down that it is a Dwarf Planet? What about the other dwarfs? Eris?

    More later. As for Canadians … I assume they shot a few polar bears instead. I BET you didn’t know this. That good Catholic Rafael Nadal. His $500,000 watch. It got stolen in Toronto, from his locker, in the dressing room, while he was playing a match. No charges. No suspects. But, here is the kicker. God, is indeed great. The watch manufacturer just gave Raffa another $500,000 watch. No questions asked. Amazing. Canada used to give me heck as I was a self-employed, independent consultant. Whenever, I had to visit they would try to get me to buy a temporary work permit etc. Finally I said, that is it. It won’t break my heart if I don’t visit this frozen tundra. That was nearly a decade ago. Though Canada is only about 90 minutes away … I would rather visit Mexico. Cheers.

  10. Read ‘Angels & Demons’ when it first came out c. 1999. I used to live a few feet from a large lake and I nearly threw the book into the lake … when around page 4 it said that CERN was a Swiss institution. Think found another factual error a few pages on. Yes, the anti-matter physics was ‘optimistic’ too. But, Dan Brown hails from New Hampshire. I think he is our most famous son. The ‘Code’ changed my life! I, whenever I can, do a pilgrimage to Phillips Exeter. Though this is a small state, Exeter is nearly 90 minutes from here. It is amazing that two authors that have had a profound impact on my life over the last decade both taught at Exeter, Dan and John Irving. I married my wife because she was the only female I had met (and yes, I lead a very sheltered, isolated life) that knew that the ‘Cider House Rules’ movie had nothing to do with the book.
    As for the ‘castration’ there has always been another theory. Just plain wear and tear, per the laws of physics.

  11. Is that a statuesque blond nurse (and I won’t even inquire of gender)?

  12. I like the Latin ‘joke.’ Must try and remember it. This is from “—Usage note: The spelling blonde is still widely used for the noun that specifies a woman or girl with fair hair: The blonde with the baby in her arms is my anthropology professor. Some people object to this as an unnecessary distinction, preferring blond for all persons: My sister is thinking of becoming a blond for a while. As an adjective, the word is more usually spelled blond in reference to either sex ( an energetic blond girl; two blond sons ), although the form blonde is occasionally still used of a female: the blonde model and her escort. The spelling blond is almost always used for the adjective describing hair, complexion, etc.: His daughter has blond hair and hazel eyes.”
    Spelling is not my thing and I am going through a particularly bad spell with spelling because I am not writing as much on a daily basis.
    I really have no preference for either ‘blonde’ or ‘blond’ — I just like them all … and even my dog is a blond.
    I have noticed that you do appear to be WAY BEHIND in keeping track of the comments and coming up with your peerless rejoinders. Must be that dial-up. No problem. Beautiful day here.

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