Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Catholic theologian becomes editor of German gay magazine

When the conservative German Catholic theologian David Berger came out in April 2010, his revelation about his sexuality rocked the theological community in Rome and in his homeland. In a 2-part interview (Part 1 / Part 2  -- in English) later that year in Der Spiegel, Dr. Berger explained how his aesthetic fascination with the Tridentine Mass and other aspects of the traditional Catholic Church became a "nightmare" when he had to listen to his conservative colleagues bash homosexuals while he himself already had a secret male life partner. Today, the man widely thought to have been a protege of Pope Benedict XVI and one of the most promising young theologians, is embarking on a new career.

DW.de, 5/27/2013 (in Spanish; English translation by Rebel Girl)

After having a brilliant career for years in conservative circles and being editor of the Catholic journal Theologisches, German theologian David Berger is now editor of the gay magazine Männer, according to the publication. At a time when Europe -- and especially France -- is witnessing public demonstrations against same sex marriage, the first edition of the magazine under his direction will have as its main story a report titled "Do we want to get married?".

In Germany, where the law only permits marriage between people of the opposite sex, the subject has been under discussion for some time. In the editorial of the magazine, after noting that this is the "debate of the season," the theologian warns of the risk of reproducing the situation of France in Germany. Since thousands have demonstrated against marriage equality in France, an increase in anti-gay violence has been observed, the former monk [ironically, in his youth, Berger was a member of the extremely traditional Society of St. Pius X] points out in TV interviews.

After two decades as a model Catholic, Berger broke his silence in April 2010, claiming to be sick of the hypocrisy that forced him, among other things, to introduce his partner on official occasions as his "cousin." So he was dismissed from the  Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, where for a time he had been the youngest professor. In November 2010, his autobiographical book Der Heilige Schein ("The Holy Sham") came out, a settling of scores with fundamentalist religious circles. Berger uses Christian arguments against the demonization of homosexuality for which, according to him, there is no biblical basis.

If the Old and New Testaments were taken literally, Christians should also not use clothing made of mixed fibers or eat seafood. His arguments didn't stop the Cardinal of Cologne, Joachim Meisner, from withdrawing his authorization to teach the Catholic faith. Three years after making his sexual orientation public in Frankfurter Rundschau, Berger wrote in Facebook: "It wasn't always easy but I would do it again. The last three years have been generally an excellent period, thanks particularly to the solidarity of many good friends and the great man who is at my side."

Since forsaking his double life, Berger has given countless interviews, he has been a guest on TV programs, written essays and provoked considerable discussion, for example, with his argument that homosexuality is widespread among the Catholic clergy. He has denounced the lack of honesty and the "mechanisms of extortion" within the Church and described celibacy and the chastity vow for priests as an instrument of domination which is used to maintain the docility of the lower clerical ranks. With all that, Berger has made many enemies, but he has also earned many fans.

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