Monday, 30 April 2007

Bagnasco: Shame!

When does a comment become a threat? Apparently, when it's directed at the head of the Italian Episcopal Council. God's ferret stepped down a couple of months ago, to be replaced by Archbishop Bagnasco of Genoa. This would be of no more interest to most people than a change of management in any other state-subsidised company if it weren't that Bagnasco almost immediately used his pulpit to compare the recognition of civil unions to laws permitting paedophilia and incest, two troughs in which the church has its plurisecular snout. Needless to say, the idea that such laws might be proposed exists entirely in Bagnasco's mind.

Not surprisingly, some people reacted badly to this and, given the almost universal kowtowing to the church of the media and political world, chose to express their disapproval in a time-honoured Italian way: by writing it on a wall. The first graffiti, saying BAGNASCO VERGOGNA (Shame), appeared soon after the sermon (subsequently withdrawn, in pure Berlusconian fashion, when Bagnasco announced 'I didn't mean what I said'). Since then there's been a low level urban resistance of demonstrations, heckling, further graffiti. All part of the normal democratic process, you might think, but you'd be wrong. Bagnasco, according to the single voice that is Italian politics, is being 'threatened'.

Yesterday, or the day before, he received two letters. The first contained a bullet - a traditional mafia warning and thus, although it's unlikely to have been sent by the mafia, certainly construable as a threat. The second contained a photograph of the venerable archbishop with a hand-drawn swastika across his face. A threat? It's not particularly subtle, but neither is comparing a gay couple to paedophiles. It isn't the nicest thing to see over your bowl of episcopalian corn flakes, but it doesn't undermine the very tenets of democracy either, whatever parliament might say.

If the church wants to live by the sword of gratuitous insult, then it ought to be prepared to see itself nicked by the smaller infinitely less powerful pinpricks of protest.

Friday, 27 April 2007

They Might Be Giants: Istanbul

Another great song done by a wonderful band. I'm just feeling so musical... And I love Istanbul.

Violent Femmes: Gone Daddy Gone

I've loved this song ever since I first heard it. I love the Gnarls Barkley version and the almost certainly -- though undeservedly -- less well known Prozac+ one. But for now let's enjoy the original.

Observation vs reasoning

I visited my local police station this morning to report the theft of a credit card. On the wall behind the officer who took my statement was a handwritten aphorism, which went more or less like this: A lot of reasoning and little observation = mistaken solution. A lot of observation and little reasoning = correct solution. It didn't occur to me at the time, but later I was thinking about a story I'm revising and what the revision seems to entail is the removal of reasoning in favour of observation. The maxim is similar to, but not the same as, the 'show, don't tell' stricture that teach yourself creative writing material is so keen on. It's also true, of course, that 98% of crimes remain unsolved, so maybe a little reasoning is in order.

And then tonight I watched, for the first time, Closely Observed Trains. The film itself is a model of close observation, but its structure, and sense, is everything that isn't seen; everything that becomes available with reasoning. Which would seem to contradict the police officer's aphorism. The DVD included the original American trailer, which reduced the film to a saucy romp, a sort of 60s-made American Pie set in wartime Czechoslovakia. The trailer had watched the film but seen nothing, or thought that the kind of nothing it had found in the film would make it more palatable to a foreign audience.

In my statement, the police officer gilded the lily (over-larded the pudding?) by adding the phrase "with immense stupor" to the sentence in which I discover my card has been used by someone else. It's a nice idea, though
not even faintly true. But now, of course, it is. It's in my statement.

My credit card was stolen because I didn't keep my eyes open.

Beckmann and Goethe

La Casa di Goethe, one of Rome's most attractive and manageable museums, occupies the apartment in Via del Corso 18 that Goethe is believed to have stayed in during his time in Rome. The museum celebrates its tenth anniversary this year with an exhibition of Max Beckmann's drawings for Faust. You can get more information about times and dates, as well as a chance to see another one of the series of drawings, by clicking here.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Herman Dune

I'm listening to music today and Popbitch -- Thank you, Popbitch -- sent me off to this band's new single , called I wish that I could see you soon. I like the single a lot, but prefer the slightly darker mood of this track, made a few years ago.
There's more on Herman Dune, assuming you know as little as I did about them until half an hour ago, on their site. You'll find the new single under media.

Walk the Line

I saw Walk The Line last night and, by coincidence, came across this video on YouTube today. Is this significant? (Well, of course not, but the video's sweet, the beard it contains is impressive, and I did enjoy the film, so let's call this an aide-memoire-cum-tribute.)

Penis fencing

No, not the kind of fencing used to protect our gardens, though that's an interesting thought, but the sparring kind. This photograph, which shows two Right Whales engaged in the activity, comes from an exhibition dedicated to homosexuality among animals, organised by the Natural History Museum of the University of Oslo. According to the information on the site:

The exhibit displays a small selection of the more than 1500 species where homosexuality has been observed. This fascinating story of the animals' secret life is told by means of models, photos, texts and specimens. The visitor will be confronted with all sorts of creatures from tiny insects to enormous sperm whales.

In other words, there's something for everyone: the idea of models is particularly intriguing. The exhibition, which ends in August, is entitled Against Nature?

The answer, not surprisingly, is no.

Yeltsin's inheritance

Once more, from today's Independent:
The state over which Yeltsin presided had installed a democratic political system, albeit one in which powerful sectional interests wielded excessive influence. But, by any economic measure, society as a whole had benefited only marginally, and growing numbers had fallen far below the poverty line. Corruption and criminality were rampant throughout the political and economic structures and deterred the Western bankers who had fed them.

On the other hand, he did appoint Vladimir Putin - "ex-KGB intelligence officer and former deputy to the corrupt former mayor of St Petersburg
" - as his heir. So not entirely bad. After all, it isn't every country that can boast a leader who's inspired J.K. Rowling to create one of her least attractive characters: the sly, deceitful, wheedling, essentially sub-human Dobby.

145, and counting...

The cover of today's Independent. In case you can't read it, the text says:

This is Kingsman Alan Jones. He was killed, aged 20, in Iraq this week, just one of the 145 British soldiers who have died in this ill-conceived conflict. His death went largely unnoticed in the bloodiest month endured by British soldiers - another grim statistic, another coffin sent home, another grieving family, another young man who died in vain.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Machine translation. Don't you just love it...

If you've nothing better to do and speak the language of another country reasonably well, click on its flag in the my widget panel down there to the right and enjoy what happens to all these posts.

And then wonder what would happen if an official document -- a peace treaty, say, a writ -- were subjected to the same treatment, and cover your face with horror.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Roy Zimmerman: Defenders of Marriage

Archbishop Arsehole stays mum over corruption

Amid claims of Nigeria's presidential elections being conducted in the same climate of anarchy and corruption (see this report in today's Independent) that marked last week's general elections, you'd have expected the moral fulcrum of the nation, Archbishop Arsehole, to have a word or two of reproach and guidance.

But no. He's got other things on his mind. Like an anti-homosexuality bill imposing five-year sentences on people accused of deviant behaviour (like, er, sharing a table in a restaurant).

Maybe the
dozen or so churches in Virginia whose congregants voted to join Arsehole's archdiocese in December (you don't believe me? Read this) are immune to the moral dilemma of electoral corruption. They know from their own experience that a dangling chad is a small price to pay to keep the nation pure.

Saturday, 21 April 2007


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What's in a name?

According to this story, The University of Florida is about to be forced to rename its education school the Jeb Bush College of Education.

Whatever next? The Berlusconi College of Business Probity? The Ratzinger College of Religious Tolerance?


Hey! I've lightened up! I'm tired of being confused with all those gloomy, moody blogs that think dark is cool. It's spring, the swallows have arrived, it's time to let in a little clarity.

What do you think?

It's official: Foeti go straight to heaven

Eggs Benedict pronounced a couple of days ago that Limbo no longer exists.

We're still waiting for announcements on Narnia, Moominland and Gotham City.

Dirty business

Reports have emerged of a massive toxic waste dump found in Abruzzo, one of Italy's loveliest and most unspoilt regions. The largest dump of its kind in Italy, and probably in Europe, it's the work, not of the Mafia, traditionally involved in illicit dumping, but of a nearby chemical plant.

Investigators know who's responsible, but may not be able to do very much about it. As Patrizia Fantilli, a legal expert with WWF, said:"Italy's laws on ecological crime are too weak." She might have gone on to say that the government that passed the law decriminalising activities of this type by businesses was the work of polluter extraordinaire, Silvio Berlusconi.

Little Britain

It's reassuring to know that the 'normal family' continues to be the most suitable environment in which to bring up children. Don't believe me? Read this. Or this.

Berlin, Belfast, Baghdad...

Good fences may make good neighbours, as Robert Frost said, but there's little doubt that the building of a 12-foot-tall wall through the middle of a city is an indication of something more destructive than a desire for neighbourliness. Yet that's what the US army is doing in Baghdad. Its purpose, according to a press release from Camp Victory, is to "protect the largest predominately (sic) Sunni neighbourhood in east Baghdad. The wall is one of the centrepieces of a new strategy by coalition and Iraqi forces to break the cycle of sectarian violence."

A venture that begins with the stated aim of introducing democracy to a country and ends up by dividing its capital into two by night has clearly lost its way. Sorry. Changed strategy.

Friday, 20 April 2007


This comes from the label of a small jar of a local speciality. The hairs have been removed.

Fortuitous errors

In the following line from, I think, Letters from Iceland, 'And the ports have names for the sea', Auden originally wrote 'poets', but preferred the printer's error and left it as it was.

Similarly, in the previous post, I intended to say 'home-made wine', but actually typed 'hole-made wine'. This captures the flavour, foetid, unsunned, acidic, of the stuff so perfectly I'm going to take a leaf from Auden's book.

The house above the cork forest (5)

I admit it. I've been putting this off.

At the end of my last post about the house, Joost wanted closure. We all did.

When it came, or appeared to have come--when finally, after more than a year of delays and bureaucratic procrastination and sheer bloody-mindedness from one of the four brothers, who was never actually present but appeared to want more money, although that was never quite said, merely implied, with raised eyebrows and sighs and muttering, the papers appeared to be in order--when finally , after much vagueness and postponement and shrugging and looking towards the horizon,
the price appeared to be established at a figure only slightly higher than Joost was officially prepared to pay--when finally, after a series of veiled threats by the neighbour with hole-made wine and woolly salami, the issue of the shared road appeared to have been settled and Joost had been convinced by my lawyer and E.'s lawyer and a third lawyer belonging, I think, to the surveyor that he would automatically acquire the right to use it as part of the purchase--when finally all this was settled and Joost bought the house...

I'll save the next part for when I'm feeling stronger.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Arctic Monkeys

I'm a fan. If you are too,and you want to see the video of their new single Brianstorm, click here and then go to Arctic Monkeys. If you can't be bothered, you aren't a fan. If you can, you get a chance to see some stuff from the first album too.

See you later, Innovator.

A man goes into a delicatessen...

This interesting Japanese foodstuff (courtesy of reminds me of a joke I have no intention of posting (today...).

It also brings to mind that scene in one of my favourite films, Christopher Guest's Best in Show, in which the gay couple behave outrageously in a deli. If I remember correctly, sausages play a fairly prominent role there too.

Fuck dolls for dogs

This may be too private to be shared, but my dog Toffee (actually, a sterilised bitch) expresses her displeasure by humping a cushion. Maybe I should get her one of these.

A vet friend said this behaviour was 'unusual'.

Guess which one is gay!

Now that Poland is attempting to ban discussions on homosexuality in schools and educational institutions across the country, with teachers facing the sack, fines or imprisonment, it might be worth reiterating the information in this article, written by Doug Ireland last October. The article begins:

Poland's homophobic Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski-the identical twin brother of Polish President Lech Kaczynski-was outed as a homosexual in major Polish media last week in the midst of a political crisis that threatened to cause his government's downfall....
The gay one's on the left.

Rosaries, punishment, the usual stuff

The recently announced electronic rosary pictured here appears to do just what it says on the packet. You press a button for each Hail Mary and receive a short but satisfying buzz. When you've totted up enough HMs, the buzz lasts longer, and you can get back to doing something useful with your life. It has all the charm of a battery charger, of course, but, as any believer would tell you, charm isn't the point.

If you're looking for something less solipsistic, though, maybe you should try the electronic group rosary developed by a company called Ron-Coe. This handy little device introduces a whole new level to the practice of group HM-ing. According to an article in Spero News, people tend to gabble their rosaries without giving much thought to them (which tends to happen when repeating the same phrase over and over again). This neat little gadget is designed to prevent this by timing each HM and giving the group leader a nasty little shock to the wrist if the pace gets too frenetic. This might seem cruel, even -- dare I say it -- unhealthy, but, as Spero points out: is far better than bead burn which occurs when people run their fingers over the rosary so fast that the beads heat up burning their fingers.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007


A man has a contract from the company making the bomber
A beam at the airport
A man in an airplane approaching a beam at the airport
A bug hitting a light bulb
A light sky blue area

The painting is a cube or a box with one empty wall space
The pattern in an elevator lobby
A wallpaper roller with hard artificial flowers
Aluminium flowers on an aluminium panel

A jet plane painted on aluminium panels
An idea of fragments of vision
A person buying a recording of the time

A vacant aluminium panel

A fancy cornice or something seemingly more human
A pulsing muscular notion to the speed on the avenue
A glimmer
A flash of static movement

An aluminium panel

A fragment of a machine the collector is already mixed up with
A couple of aluminium panels


A shaft that goes in the middle of the cake from the core or mould used to bake it
A big hole in the middle of the cake
A giant birthday cake lying on a truck for a parade

The spaghetti just on the right, with the fork, has been painted orange with artists’ oil colour
The little girl is the female form in the picture
The grass in Day-Glo green colours is the change of nature in relation to the new look of the landscape

A vacant aluminium panel

An umbrella superimposed over an atom bomb blast
Someone raising his umbrella or raising his window in the morning, looking out the window and seeing a bright red and yellow atomic bomb blast, something like cherry blossom

An aperture for a view

The rod holding up the umbrella goes right down the middle of the explosion
The umbrella is realistic
The blue in the umbrella is its own colour
It’s a beach umbrella that was left up in the winter
The breath of an atomic bomb

A huge arabesque
A fold of aluminium material
A blanket
A painter’s drop cloth
Drops and residues of paint
An orange field, the image of spaghetti
A person who offers up a gift

A man in an airplane approaching a beam at the airport
A beam at the airport
A small relief to a heavy atmosphere
An artist offering up something as a small gift
An extravagance

A man has a contract from the company making the bomber

Monday, 16 April 2007

Little Monsters

Finally, after the most extraordinary experience of being edited to the last comma by someone who really knows her job (thank you, Sam!), the final version of Little Monsters is ready for copy editing (just in time for the London Book Fair).

Perhaps when I have the proofs in my hand I'll be able to read it with detachment. Right now, what I see is a palimpsest of the many drafts it's been through, with pentimenti lurking as memories behind every line.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Leaping to McEwan's defence (honestly)

I’ve no great affection for the recent work of Ian McEwan (see my comments on his latest work below) but it’s hard not to sympathise with him when you read a letter as silly as the one published in today’s Guardian. Written by Professor Judith Okely, of Oxford, it drags up the accusation of plagiarism levelled at McEwan some time ago in a paragraph that could do double time as a textbook example of a non sequitur. She says:

Ian McEwan tells Natasha Walter, the reviewer or his novel On Chesil Beach, novels are not always about you”. But he did not fully acknowledge that his novel Atonement is partly using the autobiography of Lucilla Andrews’s No Time for Romance (1977; George Harpers).
The rather odd grammar of the second sentence suggests that Ms (sorry, Professor) Okely isn’t entirely at home with the English language. But logic is, or should be, extralinguistic.
She goes on to say:

Apparently fiction is creatively original (!?), but non-fictional, published details of a woman's life are mere "reportage" to be used in fiction.

Take out 'apparently', 'mere' and the inverted commas, and replace 'woman's' with 'man's' and see what you get. Okely's no great shakes at syntax or logic, but she's clearly a dab hand at cheap rhetoric.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Roy Zimmerman says Ted Haggard is completely heterosexual

Ian Hamilton Finlay: Acrobats

This poem comes from a fascinating interview with Finlay in Jacket, conducted in 2001 by Nagy Rashwan. It covers the whole of the poet's career (and clashes with authority), includes images of several other works and provides references if anyone would like to know more. It's odd, now, to think that work so firmly entrenched in ideas of making, of classicism, of place, should ever have been considered for the Turner Prize.

Ian Hamilton Finlay 1925-2006

An interesting article about Ian Hamilton Finlay in today's Guardian. I'm not sure if his first -- and, I think, only -- collection of traditional, as opposed to concrete, poems is still available, but I thought it might be nice to put a couple of the poems here. If you'd like to read more, hunt out The Dancers Inherit the Party. (Or offer me an obscenely large sum of money for my copy.)


When we are dead we will all be angels
And we will see how many of us can balance on a pin.
I think we may manage seven or eight of us
Angelically balanced, if we all squeeze in.


The best a writer writes is Beautiful.
He should ignore the Mad and Dutiful.

Meanwhile, of course, the Lie is there.
The posh Lie struts in the social air

And writers write it, and it is
Part of the analyst's neurosis.

Well, a writer should defy
It. A writer writes of sky

And other things quite sad and Beautiful.
He should ignore the Mad and Dutiful.

See how lame and blind he goes!
See how he dances on his toes!

Monday, 9 April 2007

What men and women look at

I think this speaks for itself. Apparently men have the same degree of genital fixation when looking at dogs.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

An Easter Tale

Thirty years ago, I went from Turin to Rome for Easter, with two friends, Charlie and Sue, and Sue’s dog, a boxer called Lucifero. We looked for a room in the centre of Bologna, but nowhere would take Lucifero and Sue refused to leave him asleep in the car, convinced he’d be stolen and used for breeding purposes. Finally, when it was almost eleven and there seemed to be no more hotels to try, Sue decided we’d head for Florence across the hills. There was bound to be somewhere on the road, she said.

We’d been driving for half an hour along ever darker, steeper roads when we came to a village. There was a scattering of houses and then a church and what seemed to be shops. All the shutters were closed, except for those of a small bar in the central square. A tall man with a yellow pullover was turning off the lights behind the counter as I ran in. ‘Prego,’ he said. ‘Un albergo,’ I stammered. ‘Cerco un albergo.’ He shook his head. I watched him as he glanced behind me, towards the corner of the bar, then turned to see what he was looking at.

Four old men were playing cards around a table. I hadn’t noticed them as I came in. They had earth-coloured clothes and stubby workmen’s hands, the creased, soiled cards minute in their fingers. They were playing with cards like the minor arcana in a Tarot pack: clubs and coins, cups and swords. They turned to stare at me, then one of them pointed up the road and started to talk. I didn’t understand what he was saying at first. ‘Un albergo?’ I said again and he nodded. ‘Si!’ he said. ‘Ad un chilometro.’

We drove along the road he’d indicated until, three or four minutes later, a light appeared to the left. We took out our bags, while Lucifero bounded around the car, peeing against the back wheel, taking in the air with great meaty sniffs.

The hotel looked like a converted farmhouse. A single sign above the door said PENSIONE, its light flickering on and off as we opened the door. Immediately in front of us, standing behind the desk, there was a tall man in a yellow pullover. ‘Prego,’ he said. He smiled as I turned round, and saw the table, and the four men playing cards, and one of them turning a card up with his stubby workman’s hand.

Sue didn’t believe me when I told her; I don't remember what Charlie thought. Lucifero growled under his breath, then edged towards the stairs, while I stared at the men and the one who had sent us there nodded slowly, gathering the cards into his hands and mixing them, then dealing them out.

I didn’t sleep that night. The next morning we drove back down to the village so that I could see who was in the bar. The building was there, exactly as it had been the night before, but there was no bar, only a door and a doorbell, with a column of names. I stood in the square, looking round wildly, until a woman walked across from one of the shops and asked me what I wanted. Was I lost? I asked her about the bar. She shook her head, and smiled. I climbed back into the car.

‘You must have been dreaming,’ said Sue.

Saturday, 7 April 2007


Now it's Natuzzi! White leather! Want to know more? Click here.

Click on the little blue box!

This is fabulous. I've managed to rant about Ratzinger to such an extent that my google ads have picked up on it. The current one, for as long as it lasts, will send you to a site that promises to tell you the name of the next pope (apparently the last - promises, promises) and various other holy revelations. (I'm not allowed to click on them myself - or, rather, I am but haven't installed the little program that allows me to yet).

Yesterday, you could have gone to a site that gave access to the personal records of practically anyone in the United States. Its selling line, though, was sex offenders and how to track them down (with photographs). So not much difference there.

Just in case today's ad has gone by the time you read this, the site is here. (Believe me, it's a hoot! Try the video...)

Friday, 6 April 2007

The Scent of Cinnamon: first review

The first review of THE SCENT OF CINNAMON can be found here. I know it's only one line but I'm not complaining.

Elton update

Despite efforts to have him banned from a country in which homosexuality is widely condemned, Elton John insists that he will be performing at Plymouth Jazz Festival. But local church leaders haven't given up. ABC News said:

"A group of Christian churches have failed to persuade the Tobago House of Assembly, which oversees the administration of the island, to join the call for a boycott of John's appearance at the Plymouth Jazz Festival in late April.

But they said they would pursue the campaign against John, who married his partner David Furnish in 2005.

"We feel it can have a negative social impact. There are some who may not be sure of their sexuality and one has to be careful about how this can create impressions on impressionable minds," pastor Terrance Baynes told Reuters.

It's interesting to see the words used by "Eggs" Benedict to praise the church of Trinidad and Tobago recently, when greeting the island state's new ambassador to the Holy See.

"As Your Excellency has graciously noted, the Catholic Church in Trinidad and Tobago works zealously in the area of human promotion. The network of Catholic schools, hospitals and social service institutions testifies to the cooperative spirit of the Catholic faithful in providing a better future for themselves and their fellow–citizens. Because of their profound conviction regarding the universal brotherhood of all men and women as God’s beloved children, Catholics and other believers are committed to fostering the common good in the context of a healthy and legitimate pride in their own country."

Presumably these believers include Archdeacon Philip Isaac, who called for a ban on the chubby chanteur and warned: "His visit can open the country to be tempted towards pursuing his lifestyle. He needs to be ministered to."

Not to speak of the local
branch of the catholic non-governmental organization Caritas , accused of denying its caritas to gays.

Blood on Ratzinger's hands

Last Tuesday, a sixteen year old boy in Turin threw himself from the window of his fourth floor flat. We shouldn't know his name, because Italian law is supposed to protect the identity of minors. But now that he's dead, and doesn't need protecting, we've been told he was christened Matteo.

Matteo was the best student of his year in one of the most prestigious schools in the city. On Monday evening, he came home - in the words of his mother - "very tired and very sad", and went straight to bed. The following morning he told his mother he wanted to stay at home and study. Her oldest son telephoned her at work later that morning to tell her that Matteo was dead.

He left two suicide notes, one to his parents - his mother, of Filipino origin, his father, Italian - and the other to explain why he'd decided to kill himself. He said that he was tired of not being accepted by the other students, who treated him as "different".

They called him gay. They said he liked boys. They called him Jonathan, the name of a camp Big Brother winner two or three years ago. According to one report, the school principal knew and had tried to help, but without success; in another, she knew nothing.

Matteo couldn't take it any more. After writing the letters, he climbed onto a chair in the kitchen and threw himself out of the window. He hit the drying rack on the balcony below and hurt his chest, but it was the 15-metre fall that killed him.

His mother said. "Why did they do this to him? He hadn't done anything wrong. He was a human being just like them." She also said the accusations were unjust. As though that mattered.

The Ministry has ordered an investigation at the school. Meanwhile, psychologists are worried that the students who drove Matteo to his death might be overwhelmed by a sense of guilt. It's hard not to feel they deserve that, and more.

But the people finally responsible for the suicide of a sixteen-year-old are those who - day in, day out - stigmatise gays as deviant and disordered; who use the florid vocabulary of homophobia that all languages provide to insult and demean; who use their magister to deny basic human rights.

They're celebrating Holy Week at the moment. Let's hope they find time to think about their own role in the death of Matteo.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

It's raining men

King of Bling, Pope "Eggs" Benedict performs the old battle horse of the Weather Girls, It's Raining Men, to the usual Wednesday afternoon punters.


Watch out! Relativism!

As an example of sloppy thinking, the latest Vatican broadside would be hard to beat. According to King of Bling Benedict and his new mouthpiece, Bagnasco, opening the door to civil unions would let in, as an inevitable consequence, incest and paedophilia. Why? Because civil unions are relativist. And relativism is a no-no.

So what do we call an institution that systematically does one thing and says another? An institution riddled with practising gay men that condemns homosexuality? An institution that denies the right to abortion to all women, with the exception of raped nuns in Bosnia? An institution that preaches poverty and owns more real estate in Rome than the government. An institution that says thou shalt not kill and covers up murders within its walls? An institution that protects its own paedophiles and then uses paedophilia as a weapon against the rights of others? An institution that has one set of rules for itself and another for everyone else?

That's right. A relativist institution.