The Patristic Institute Augustinianum wrote to correct me. There will be no conference of European cosmetic surgeons at the Vatican’s Patristic Institute Augustinianum. It was a hoax. And I fell for it. Mea maxima culpa. I am chagrined for having let myself be taken in. Now I really am blushing. I allowed my distaste for this grotesque pontificate to get the better of me.
Alexandros Bader does, indeed, practice cosmetic/aesthetic gynecology. The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, a controversial non-profit with an international membership, cites him as a “world class surgeon” who presents vaginal enhancement techniques to other surgeons and trainees at conferences and symposia around the globe. Dr. Bader practices in his native Greece, in London, and Dubai. But he will not be coming to the Patristic Institute.
Thank God for lesser favors. It is a relief to know that the Vatican will not rent its premises to just any comers with cash. Last year’s arrangement with Porsche, an established brand, proved a mutually gratifying exercise in shared cachet. Certainly, the perfect sports car ranks as a classier ideal than the quest for perfect genitalia. I should have known better.
Unhappily, the facts of ecclesial politics and ambitions move closer to burlesque at breakneck speed. Vatican relish for previously implausible agendas is going full throttle. It gets harder for skepticism to catch its breath. Or as Nora Ephron once admitted: “No matter how cynical I get, I can’t keep up.”
Before the Porsche gala, who could have imagined the Vatican renting space for corporate bashes in the manner of a secular institution? Before Francis, who would have foreseen a pope conspiring in secret with an authoritarian American president to flatter and yield to a Cuban communist dictator? Could anyone anticipate a papal regime in thrall to the poisonous god of climate change? Or cozy with U.N. operatives and abortion evangels like Jeffrey Sachs and Ban Ki-moon? Would anyone have believed a Vatican dedicated to a pseudo-scientific swindle of pivotal import while it blinked at the concrete reality of advancing Islamic terror?
Vatican push to dogmatize apocalyptic flimflam puts us on warning: the inconceivable is fast becoming believable. Today’s hoax is poised to become tomorrow’s verity.