Why Benedict XVI Matters

April 23, 2005

To the Editor:

Regarding your cover story (“No Benediction, Dark Days Ahead, by Paul Schindler, Apr. 21-27), as a matter of etymology, Benedict comes from the Latin for “speaker” (dict) “of the good” (bene).

But, for us as gay people, this Benedict is a speaker “of evil” (Latin: Malum).

Therefore until and unless he changes his tune in regard homosexuality and gay people, I shall refer to Benedict XVI as: Maledict I, and I urge others to do likewise.

Franklin E. Kameny

Washington D.C.

April 25, 2005

To the Editor:

Last week, on a plane from Florida to New York, I sat next to a priest. We began to talk about India, where we had both lived and done volunteer work. The conversation then shifted to how to solve the problems of poverty and disease affecting so much of the world’s population. The priest said, “All the world’s problems are caused by homosexuals who are evil.”

I was stunned. “Are you crazy?” I yelled at him. We then got into a heated exchange. He went on to say that all of the so-called victims of sexual abuse by priests were homosexuals as were the priests. He said the Catholic Church had to pay millions of dollars to homosexuals who claimed to be victims of sexual abuse. I asked if that was what the Catholic Church taught? He said yes.

I was so angry that when I arrived home, I called the archdiocese in New York City. There I spoke to a priest and repeated what the priest on the plane had told me. The New York priest supported what the priest on the plane had told me. I asked the priest if it was okay for a priest or for that matter any adult to have non-consensual sex with a child of any age. He replied, “No, but most of the accusers were 15 years old or older and homosexual.”

Why should that make a difference? Why is the Catholic Church trying to justify what its clergy did to these children? The priest responded, “Most of the priests were not pedophiles, they were homosexuals.”

I hung up in disgust.

Now, the Catholic Church has made Ratzinger, the chief homophobe, pope. God help the Catholic Church and the rest of us who directly or indirectly suffer from their abusive, misguided doctrines. I especially will pray for every gay Catholic.

Carol Demech


April 25, 2005

To the Editor:

Will Berger’s essay, “Why Benedict XVI Matters,” was clear, to the point, and generally excellent, but boy did he forget to mention something important.

“…We make a mistake if we dismiss the inherent power of symbolic gestures,” Berger wrote. “Isn’t marriage itself a symbolic institution? And the language you can expect from the Vatican will be more sophisticated and powerful than ever.”

What Berger forgot was that the Catholic Church doesn’t merely fight gay rights with sermons, literature, and words. They are in a major financial arms race with other religions—particularly the Mormons—to see who can outspend whom in defeating gay rights.

For instance, check your files on gay marriage in Hawaii several years ago. I seem to recall that the Catholics spent five million dollars to defeat it, but the Mormons were the “winners,” having spent six million.

Mitchell Santine Gould

Portland, Oregon

The Finkelsteins, the Clintons and the Kerrys

April 14, 2005

To the Editor:

What’s the difference between Arthur Finkelstein and John Kerry? (“The Finkelstein and Clinton Marriages,” by Paul Schindler, Apr. 14-20).

Finkelstein is in favor of gay marriage and Kerry is in favor of state amendments banning gay marriage.

As you are well aware and rightfully mentioned in your editorial, the Democrats’ record on our issues can be quite similar to the Republicans you denounce.

Also, everyone forgets that it was Finkelstein who advised Al D’Amato to be gay friendly—so much so that he received the Human Rights Campaign’s endorsement over Chuck Schumer.

It’s time to stop the hypocrisy.

Bill Siroty, MD

Amherst, New Hampshire

Morrissey Revisionism

April 15, 2005

To the Editor:

Winnie McCroy claims that singer Morrissey long has been open about his (homo)sexuality, his purported openness preceding the breakup of The Smiths (“Still Bawdy After All These Years,” Apr. 14-20).

I recall a different Morrissey, one whose standard gambit with interviewers was to proclaim his celibacy and say no more about whom he might have sex with. Moreover, when he and The Smiths toured America, Morrissey refused to be interviewed by the gay press. The lyrics, of course, said it all; the objects of Morrissey’s desire always were male and in one song he recounts fleeing from a female who tried to seduce him. On his recent “I’m Not Sorry,” he matter of factly notes, “the woman of my dreams? Well, there never was one.”

I think it’s more accurate to say Morrissey always has been uncloseted in his songs if not always in life. But McCroy is right about one thing—the music on Morrissey’s new DVD and CD is great.

George De Stefano

Long Island City

Sanity, At Long Last

April 15, 2005

To the Editor:

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

Finally a voice of sanity in a clearly insane world. I truly believe that Lori Ortiz is the only critic in New York City who understood what James Kudelka was doing in “The Contract” (“Ambiguity in a Children’s Tale”).

Please, please forward her review to John Rockwell at the New York Times—because one of his many problems with this ballet was “… it poses more questions than it answers”. How sad that he should even write dance criticism.

My admiration and respect to Ms. Ortiz for her willingness to think.

Gina Flores



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