Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Second Most Famous Catholic: Gayness Denied

Did you know that the second-most famous Christian in history was gay? Probably not. And you're not alone. Almost nobody knows this, and it's no accident.

So first of all, who is this #2 Christian? I'd give the #1 spot to St. Paul, author of so many of the Biblical letters. But the #2 spot has to go to Leonardo da Vinci. There's hardly a Catholic alive, or any western Christian for that matter, who hasn't seen The Last Supper. And his painting of the Mona Lisa is called the "most famous painting in the world."

Everyone knows the name da Vinci. But very few people know that he was gay!

If you were writing a biography of someone famous man – say your history teacher wanted to know about Albert Einstein – wouldn't you include a bit about his life and family, his personal life? You'd write about his two marriages, and you'd surely want to mention Einstein's ten mistresses.

Any good historian would do this. Right?

Wrong. If the historian is working for the Roman Catholic Church and the subject happens to be both an icon of Catholicism and gay, it's censorship time. The Catholic Encyclopedia, which is the official Vatican position on all things, has a huge eight-thousand-word entry on Leonardo da Vinci. They include fantastic details about his youth, his teachers, and all of his known works of art. Yet nowhere in it can I find any mention of his homosexuality. There isn't one word about his male lovers or the fact that da Vinci was accused (but acquitted) of sodomy in the Italian courts.

This is a stunning bit of censorship by the Roman Catholic Church. It's understandable that da Vinci's homosexuality is largely unknown by the general public. After all, the man's art is a towering achievement. Who cares whom he loved and how? But for a supposedly reputable organization like the Roman Catholic Church to blatantly censor the details of his personal life is scandalous. They should be ashamed of themselves.

If the Church's position on homosexuality is to "hate the sin, love the sinner," then they should embrace the truth about one of their finest. Leonardo da Vinci was an amazing man, but (in their eyes) a sinner. Why is that something they need to hide? How does that reduce the greatness of the man, or of the Church?

It's a sad testiment to the Church's insecurity and fear that they need to censor the true history of such a great man.


  1. Ezio Auditore de Firenze is a video game character, and a fictitious one at that.

  2. Anon - thanks, I took the reference out. One encyclopedia I used mention the name, but no others do.

  3. 1) The Catholic Encyclopedia is NOT the official encyclopedia of the Catholic Church. It's just some set of books written by a bunch of Catholic professors. That's it.

    2) Leonardo was acquitted of the charge. That means the court found him not guilty. Which means the people of his day studied the evidence and concluded he wasn't homosexual.

    I suspect they knew Leonardo a lot better than you do, they knew the evidence a lot better than you do, and they reached the opposite conclusion.

    Which means you are wrong.

  4. Steve -- I'm wrong?? How on earth can you conclude that? The evidence is overwhelming. Just do a bit of research, and try to keep an open mind.

    LOTS of people are acquitted when they're guilty. It's an essential feature of the legal system going back as far as recorded history. Deals are struck, bribes are paid, people promise to be good to avoid getting a public record of their indiscretions ... the list goes on and on. Sodomy was a serious crime, carrying the DEATH penalty, and da Vinci was accused ANONYMOUSLY. The charges were dropped for lack of evidence.

    That's hardly evidence that da Vinci was straight.

    The near-contemporary Giorgio Vasari, who was in the best position to actually know, described two beautiful young men as 'beloved' of Leonardo at various points in his life. Anyone who studies Leonardo's art can't help but be struck by the erotic, loving paintings of men, and by the fact that Leonardo almost never painted women.

    Some speculate that Leonardo became celibate as part of a deal that was made when the sodomy charges were dropped. But I couldn't find anyone who thought Leonardo was heterosexual. Everyone seems to agree that he was homosexual; the only disagreement was on whether he was sexually active or not.

  5. Steve – as to whether the Catholic Encyclopedia not the "official" position of the Church, you're technically right, but your argument is specious. "Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined...". Its web site is catholic.org. I'd be willing to bet that the Vatican goes over it with a fine-tooth comb, and that any "suggestion" on their part would be immediately implemented. The idea that somehow the "professors" you speak of aren't doing the work of the Roman Catholic Church is misleading at best.

  6. Anon #1 - You're mistaken. After a bit more research, it turns out that Ezio Auditore de Firenze was Leonardo da Vinci's gay lover. Apparently the game character was named after the real guy, sort of an inside joke I guess.

  7. Craig, could I get a source for that please? I did a bit of search myself and found nothing definite or from a reliable source.

    (I'm not the same anon as above)

  8. Mr. Kellmeyer, the Catholic Church also tried Galileo and found him guilty, then muzzled and incarcerated him, the same way they found Da Vinci not guily of homosexuality. Do you think they were right in Galileo's case too, or do they just find for the case that suite their purpose, dogma, and treasure chests best?
    - Ken Ess

  9. Just a question, where on earth did you get that the apostle Paul was gay?? cause I assume you weren't his mattress, were you?? Something else I'm thinking about, you do know that the catholic church have been contradicting themselves with everything they do, don't you?? They are not supposed to kill, however they have blessed people going to war basically to kill those who might as well be their "brothers in faith", the 2nd commandment says clearly that you shouldn't have any images and bow down to them, what is it that they have on their walls and all over the place?? How can you trust in such a source to make statements such as those?? I mean, if I were to trust someone to "inform" myself about any subject, I would choose someone/thing a lot less hypocritical.

  10. A. Kemp -- I never suggested that the apostle Paul was gay, only that he was the #1 most famous Christian. In fact, many people do speculate that he was gay, but I won't argue that point here.


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