London's gay and liberal landscape welcomes the German Pope

Big Ben and I would like to ‘speak for England’ in respectfully reminding the German Pope that England is more important as the home of Europe’s political passion (liberalism) than as the home of the world’s most beautiful game (football). England is the country in which Hobbes and Locke wedded Latin and Germanic ideas of freedom to create the philosophy of political liberalism. Olde England & Merrie England were anti-Jewish and anti-Catholic. Modern England legislated against these attitudes. Our land now has rights to religious freedom, sexual freedom and gay rights – with the classic constraint that there can be no freedom to harm others except in self-defense. Unlike Charlemagne and Pope Benedict XVI, I respect the right of Catholic priests to engage in consensual homosexual acts, as they have always done, providing they do no violence to others with their Priapic revelry. It is deeply troubling that ‘Roman Catholic priests in the United States are dying from AIDS-related illnesses at a rate four times higher than the general population and the cause is often concealed on their death certificates‘ I therefore invite His Holiness to get a good practice idea from Big Ben. As Big Bob sang, ‘the times they are a-changin‘. The Pope should speak the truth, respect the life sciences, study the social sciences – and provide free condoms for the everlasting relief of his priestly bretheren. And even if he is queasy about women he should have due regard for their protection from AIDS and other STDs: London’s landscape demands action – now! We welcome you to London so that you can learn from London: condoms are good for the health of the clergy.

Gay pride celebration 2010 in the urban landscape of London's Trafalgar Square - the battle of Trafalgar let Europe become liberal

Gay pride celebration 2010 in the urban landscape of London's Trafalgar Square - the battle of Trafalgar let Europe become liberal

PS: it is not all good: the statue on the southwest plinth is of General Sir Charles James Napier (1782–1853) whose conquest of Sindh province, in what is now Pakistan, led to the famous Latin telegram pecavi (‘I have sinned’). Since Napier confessed, the Pope may want to forgive him. Napier had commanded the 50th (Queen’s Own) Regiment of Foot during Napoleon’s Campaign in the Peninsular War – so the Pope may be grateful that Germany and Italy are not part of a Napoleonic French empire?
PPS re ‘the times they are a-changin‘: click to enter the site and you can you can read the lyric and listen to different versions of the soundtrack.
PPPS Greenberg, D.F., The construction of homosexuality (1990) p.253 ‘Several of Charlemagne’s capitularies concerned sins against nature, sodomy, and homosexual relations among monks’. So Charlemagne knew what the brothers were up to – and this has not changed in the past 12 centuries.

16 thoughts on “London's gay and liberal landscape welcomes the German Pope

  1. Guido Van Wilmart

    Please may I have the permission for reproduction of your charming photograph. I would like to use it on my thesis. My title is ‘A comparative study of ecclesiastical buggery in Late-Medieval Burgandy and Modern Belgium’. I know your photograph is London but the Vatican Library opens this week again and I am hopeful of finding additional evidence and to write the appendix on comparing countries. But perhaps they keep the records secret still. Your country had the connection with Burgundy in the fifteenth century and I am thinking you are now governed by Belgium!

  2. Tom Turner Post author

    You are welcome to use the photograph online or in print – and so is anyone who wants to.
    Your thesis sounds interesting.
    I know that Henry VIII has a reputation for not being gay, but I was equally horrified to learn that he passed a Buggery Act in 1534 and that it was only repealed in 1861.
    Some UK people think we are governed from Brussels but I do not think this applies to church affairs.

  3. Adam Hodge

    In view of your thoughts expressed in this blog I wonder why the condom is protecting Big Ben from whatever and not the tower of Westminster Cathedral, or perhaps both structures should sport such splendid protection !

  4. Tom Turner Post author

    Good point – or rather ‘good points’! Perhaps I could, or should, argue that the Palace of Westminster is a symbol of liberalism – but I would rather the Palace influenced the Cathedral than the other way about.

  5. Adam Hodge

    Maybe the Palace of Westminster needs the condom, to contain the release of liberal ideas so contrary to those aligned to biblical perspectives on relationships and procreation.

  6. Tom Turner Post author

    With the Palace so over-supplied with over-sexed and over-informed people, I guess they have a higher condom-per-wallet count than the general population. But yes, the church is on far stronger ground when it calls for stable relationships than when it campaigns against the gay community – and it is in an absolute hellish quagmire when its bretheren do one thing and say another thing. Hypocrisy is a good candidate nomination as the Eigth Deadly Sin.

  7. Adam Hodge

    ”and it is in an absolute hellish quagmire when its bretheren do one thing and say another thing. Hypocrisy is a good candidate nomination as the Eigth Deadly Sin”

    I don’t think more true words are written. It is deeply shameful that it has and does happen so much. The church needs to get on its knees and get involved in some serious contrition and reparation, to God, and each individual it has failed to honour.

  8. Guido Van Wilmart

    Thank you for the picture permission.
    Do you believe Cardinal Walter Kasper is not in the UK for health reasons? I think the Vatican is again telling a lie. I think Kasper is not in UK because he made stupid comments and upset the UK media.

  9. Thomas Mickey

    Early English landscape gardeners, like John Evelyn, traveled to Italy to learn about Italian garden design. The Pope’s Vatican Garden and the summer villas of the Cardinals gave him much inspiration to bring back to England. The history of landscape owes much to the Roman Catholic Church, which feared not creating fountains, grottos, pools,terraces etc. to remind us all of the beauty in nature. Evelyn and others then Anglicized the Italian style.

  10. Tom Turner Post author

    Thank you for bringing the blog back to design and for raising an interesting point. One is tempted to think that although gardens made by renaissance cardinals, like the Villa Lante and the Villa d’Esta, were departures from faith, like the renaissance popes’ ‘nephews’, but they may be better thought of as attempts by the church to embrace a wider universe of human knowledge and experience – which can properly be described as ‘catholic’. I cannot see that narrow mindedness benefits the priesthood or the laity.

  11. Guido Van Wilmart

    Hah, have you done well! I hear today the Pope has decided allow the condom for the prostitute. In Italian he say uno prosituto. This can mean either the man prostitute or the woman prostitute. But in English he say ‘a male prostitute’. Really, I think the Gardenvisit has persuaded the Pope. Please to tell him that all prostitutes MUST use the condom. Thank you very much. Keep the good work going. We will reform the catholic church together. Prostitutes today and women tomorrow. Then the population growing can stop.

  12. Tom Turner Post author

    Guido: you are too kind. I would of course be very pleased if the Gardenvisit website had contributed one small puff to the wind of change which, inexorably and inevitably, will cause the Vatican to change its ideas and its policies on HIV, homosexuality, contraception and marriage. All are important and he might as well start with his own priests.
    How are you getting on with your research on ecclesiastical buggery in Late-Medieval Burgandy?

  13. Guido Van Wilmart

    Huh. See this: ‘a report has been issued that details what went on, including more than a dozen suicides linked to the abuse perpetrated by priests and a cover up that continues to this day, when a Belgian bishop suggested that a complaint be withheld until 2011, when the bishop who covered up for the offending priest will retire.’ I embarrass for my country and I hope Flemish Belgium leaves behind French Belgium. Those Walloons even can keep Brussel and they can call it Bruxelles. I care no more.

    1. Tom Turner Post author

      Is it conceivable that when His Holiness considers the protection of males, rather than females (from HIV infection) that he is thinking about Catholic priests from HIV? I can imagine that he is cross with them and also that he cares for them – but surely he would not call them prostitutos.


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