by Anura Guruge
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.