March 11, 2007
Opus Dei shows some leg
And you thought the Da Vinci Code was fiction:
A battle over legal rights for gay couples in Italy has focused on a gruesome-looking metal garter belt.
With Pope Benedict thundering against the demise of the family and lay politicians fighting to keep religion out of politics, the debate took a bizarre turn when a staunchly Catholic politician, renowned for denouncing homosexuality as “unnatural”, admitted that she wears the spiked metal chain around her thigh to recreate the suffering of Christ.
Paola Binetti, a government senator and member of the conservative Opus Dei organisation, has been labelled a “sado-masochist” by gay rights campaigner Franco Grillini for wearing the steel cilice, despite her claim that it is no more painful than wearing high heels or training for an athletic event. Similar to a strip of chain-link fencing with added spikes, the cilice was made famous by the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code.
“People are free to do what they want and I don”t object to the cilice, but Binetti should not in turn object to two people who want to live together peacefully,” said transvestite MP Vladimir Luxuria, who also said Binetti should be thrown out of her centrist party if she refuses to back gay rights.
… The grey-haired, matronly Binetti said the feeling of the spikes digging into the flesh of her thigh reminded her of the hardships of life, but that it was no more damaging to her health than going on a diet or walking around in winter with her belly button showing.
Homosexuality, however, “represents “different” behaviour”, she said, “very different from the norms written into our morphological, genetic, endocrinological and character codes”.
… At first glance, Binetti and Luxuria are among the better groomed women in the parliament, although on closer inspection there is little of the conventional about either. Luxuria (real name, Wladimiro Guadagno) is a drag artist who has not had a sex change operation but dresses and lives as a woman and represents the Reformed Communist Party in the Italian parliament.
Commenting on Binetti”s donning of the cilice, he said: “If someone is trying to get back to the Middle Ages, it is usually reflected in their outfits.”
I think that last comment may have lost something in the translation.
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