During the last pontificate, there was an insistent and thoroughly nasty campaign to smear Pope Benedict, which came to a not inconsiderable extent from the ferocious ideologues of homosexualism. Enraged perhaps by some of his magisterial teaching when he was Prefect of the CDF, they alleged that he was himself a homosexual; that he sometimes went to his old flat and spent the night there with Mgr Gaenswein. This was all emphasised by the refusal ever to call the Monsignor by his name, but always GAY-org. I heard this 'joke' so often that my original irritation soon gave way to pure boredom. The pope's archaising sartorial preferences were also dragged into the slander by those too illiterate to understand the theological point he was making: continuity in the papal office; an important point to be made in countering narratives of 'rupture'.
His funeral was eagerly awaited as a future treat. Even the Tablet came to realise that it had to sack one of its writers.
During this pontificate, despite PF's apparent willingness to protect and advance the Lavender Mafia, no similar smears seem to have travelled in his direction. Not so much as a murmur.
Nor should they. I have never heard the tiniest scrap of evidence upon which such a libel could rest. Nor do my own hunches suggest to me any such possibility.
But the smears against Benedict XVI were just as scandalously outrageous and patently untrue.
I think the obvious conclusion is that, nasty as some Traddies may sometimes be, they are not within light years of the degree of nastiness to be found in the currently ascendant faction.