|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Ratzinger then took the podium and began to speak. As soon as he finished his first sentence, a group of about eight people to the left of the crowd leaped to their feet and began chanting "Stop the Inquisition!" They chanted feverishly and loudly, their voices echoing throughout the building. The entire room was fixated on them. Activists suddenly appeared in the back of the church and began giving out fliers explaining the action. Two men on the other side of the room jumped up and, pointing at Ratzinger, began to scream, "Antichrist!" Another man jumped up, in one of the first few rows near the prelate, and yelled, "Nazi!" All over the church, angry people began to shout down the protesters who were near them; chaotic yelling matches broke out.
It was electrifying. Chills ran up and down my spine as I watched the protesters and then looked back at Ratzinger. Soon I broke into a sweat, overcome by heat, my face turning red as anger swelled up inside me: This man was the embodiment of all that had oppressed me, all the horrors I had suffered as a child. It was because of his bigotry that my family, my church -- everyone around me -- had alienated me, and it was because of his bigotry that I was called "faggot" in school. Because of his bigotry I was treated like garbage. He was responsible for the hell I'd endured. He and his kind were the people who forced me to live in shame, in the closet. I became livid.
I looked at Cardinal O’Connor, who had buried his head in his hands, and I recognized the man sitting next to him. It was O’Connor’s spokesman and right-hand man, Father Finn, who had been the dean of students back at my all-boys high school, Monsignor Farrell on Staten Island. A vivid scene flashed in front of my eyes: The horrible day when I was in the principal’s office talking to the principal, the guidance counselor, and the dean. It was the day they threw me out, after I’d gotten in one too many fist fights with boys who’d labeled me a fag, after I’d had sex with several guys (who then tried to distance themselves by targeting me). I looked back at Ratzinger, my eyes burning; a powerful surge went through my body. The shouting had subsided a bit because some of the brothers had gotten in front of the room to calm the crowd. The police had arrived and were carting away protesters.
Suddenly, I jumped up on one of the marble platforms and, looking down, I addressed the entire congregation in the loudest voice I could. My voice rang out as if it were amplified. I pointed at Ratzinger and shouted:
"He is no man of God!"
The shocked faces of the assembled Catholics turned to the back of the room to look at me as I continued:
"He is no man of God -- he is the Devil!"