Pope Francis Book Club: Lord of the World

lord of the world robert hugh benson

Like so many before him, Pope Francis, a man avowedly dedicated to chastity, feels his inexperience gifts special insight in matters of sex and gender. He has again recommended Robert Hugh Benson’s 1907 dystopian science fiction novel Lord Of The World.

For a pontiff who promised so much, poor old Francis has achieved so little. At least with the unlamented Benedict XVI, everyone knew where they stood. The former head of the Inquisition, these days more commonly termed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, never pretended to be anything but a nasty, bigoted hatemonger.

But Francis wants to be loved. So he prevaricates, waffles and garbles his messages in a manner perhaps designed to keep everyone happy but in the end pleasing no one.

Recently, the pontiff pronounced that homosexuality was a mere sin. Therefore, he declared, homosexual acts should not attract criminal sanction. But, as usual, what the Holy Father gives with one tongue, he takes away with the other.

‘Gender Ideology’

On Friday, Francis had a whinge about ‘gender ideology’.

“Why is it dangerous? Because it blurs differences and the value of men and women. The question of gender is diluting the differences and making the world the same, all dull, all alike, and that is contrary to the human vocation.”

What? A bloke who believes women unqualified for his own exalted position deigns to lecture on ‘the value of men and women’? Bit rich.

Francis again recommended Lord Of The World by Robert Hugh Benson. He said the 1907 book showed a future where ‘differences are disappearing’ and all things become ‘uniform’.

Jeez — when did the Catholic Church suddenly decide we all should start marching to different drummers?

And who is the sainted Robert Hugh Benson?

Lord Of The World by Robert Hugh Benson

Benson was the youngest son of a 19th-century Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury. But the sensitive lad inclined to High Anglicanism — all ritual and priestly authority — the Catholic you have when you’re not having a Catholic.

Robert Hugh Benson lord of the world

He eventually converted and soon after his ordination as a Catholic priest wrote Lord of the World. Benson’s writings exposed his intolerance of progressive political movements which he regarded as part of a Communist, Freemason and Jewish cabal.

And there you have it!

He’d easily fit in with modern-day conspiracy theorists, or dare I say, sovereign citizens and cookers.

As a Catholic priest, Robert Hugh Benson was of course (cough) celibate. However, soon after his ordination, the young priest formed a strong emotional attachment to the happily gay writer and artist Frederick Rolfe aka Baron Corvo. They wrote each other letters “at times daily, and of an intimate character, exhaustingly charged with emotion.”

However, after two years of (at least) close friendship, Benson decided he should no longer associate with “a Venetian pimp and procurer of boys.” Baron Corvo, was not, despite the implication, a pedophile. He did enjoy sexual relationships with numerous Venetian gondoliers aged between 16 and 21 — young men, not boys.

Strangely, Benson retained and defended his relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas, the despicable Bosie, lover and undoer of Oscar Wilde.

But Bosie was a nasty, f*cked-up, self-loathing bigot. Everything we know about Robert Hugh Benson indicates he should then have felt some kinship with Wilde’s spiteful paramour.

Of course, Pope Francis is celibate. He doesn’t enjoy the insight the more worldly have of the damage inflicted on people like Bosie and Benson by prejudice, discrimination, persecution, dogma and religious guilt.

At 86, the Pope is probably a bit old but he really needs to get out more.

Come out, Francis, come out.

Also: Homosexuality not a crime says pope of words, not deeds.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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