‘Ratzinger … had to be the one.’

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When Pope Benedict XVi announced that he would be retiring from the papacy earlier this year, some people opined that he did so to escape the growing chorus of disapproval directed toward a scandal- plagued Vatican. His defenders said he was simply tired and wanted the position to be held by someone younger and more vital.

trial of pope benedictVancouver-based author Daniel Gawthrop doesn’t make any secret about where he stands. in his new book, The Trial of Pope Benedict: Joseph Ratzinger and the Vatican’s Assault on Reason, Compassion, and Human Dignity (Arsenal Pulp Press), the writer recounts in exhaustive detail the litany of misdeeds perpetrated by the Vatican under this particular pope, the first to resign in centuries. it’s a damning indictment by the author, a gay man who describes himself as a “recovering Catholic.” Gawthrop’s previous books include The Rice Queen Diaries: A Memoir (Arsenal pulp, 2005) and Affirmation: The AIDS Odyssey of Dr. Peter (New Star Books, 1994). daniel Gawthrop spoke with me from Vancouver about the emotional and intellectual experience of researching and writing The Trial of Pope Benedict.

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Matthew Hays, co-editor of the “Queer Film Classics” book series, teaches film studies and journalism at Concordia university, Montréal.

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