The head of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio, distances himself from far-right agitator Milo Yiannopoulos after accepting an invitation to bless the crowd at an anti-abortion conference in suburban Cleveland with fallen Yiannopoulos disgrace following comments that seemed to endorse pederasty.
Bishop Edward C. Malesic is scheduled to pray Saturday morning for attendees of the second day of the “Bringing America Back” conference, which is being held at an Embassy Suites in Independence, Ohio. Yiannopoulos was the keynote speaker on Friday’s opening night. The event also includes ultra-conservative speakers like Fr. James Altman, an outspoken anti-vaxxer who was expelled by church leaders from his Wisconsin parish after he said Catholic Democrats were “godless” and would spend eternity in the fiery depths of hell; Pamela Acker, biologist and abortion hater known for spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines; and Catherine Davis, an activist who equates abortion with genocide. Candidate for Governor and anti-abortion brand Jim Renacci – who was endorsed, then unapproved by pillow peddler Mike Lindell – was at last year’s conference.
Asked about Yiannopoulos’ appearance at the gala, Deacon James Armstrong, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, said Malesic had “not paid much attention to any of the speakers – he had better speak at this group of the best way to complete the abortion and that’s it.
“I don’t know if he knows all the speakers or who’s on the program,” Armstrong told The Daily Beast on Friday night. “He really only has a few minutes to offer a prayer and he really wants to tell the people gathered, his thoughts on how to end the scourge of abortion. That’s his intention. That’s it. He doesn’t don’t hang around, he’ll say a prayer and leave.
Malesic is “not a speaker, he’s not a presenter,” Armstrong continued. “He was invited to come and say a prayer, to say a few words, he is not on the platform to speak. So that’s his only interest.
Armstrong then emailed a statement to The Daily Beast, explaining, “Bishop Malesic expressed his support for the cause of life from conception to natural death. He accepted an invitation from the conference organizers to say a few words and offer a prayer, as he is the bishop of all the faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. He does not plan to attend any of the proposed presentations.
In early 2017, Yiannopoulos appeared on a podcast during which he said that relationships between young boys and adult men are “some of the most important, rewarding and inspiring relationships in life, the most important in shaping life”, and can be “extremely positive experiences for these young boys. .”
“In the homosexual world, in particular, some of these relationships between younger boys and older men – the kind of ‘coming of age’ relationship – these relationships in which these older men help these young boys discover who they are and give them security and safety. and provide them with love and some sort of reliable rock, where they can’t talk to their parents,” Yiannopoulos insisted.
When one of the investigators remarked that Yiannopoulos seemed to be describing “the molestation of a Catholic priest,” Yiannopoulos fired back: “And you know what? I am grateful to Father Michael. I wouldn’t give such a good head if it wasn’t for him.
Elsewhere in the podcast, Yiannopoulos called the age of consent laws “arbitrary and oppressive.”
Yiannopoulos, who lost a major book deal and a plum spot at CPAC over the comments, and quit his job at far-right outlet Breitbart, later claimed his comments were taken out of context.
Another church leader invited to bless the convention, Pastor Walter Moss, said he was surprised to hear about Yiannopoulos’ sordid worldview.
“First, I didn’t know that was the case,” Moss told The Daily Beast when informed that Yiannopoulos had made favorable comments about pedophilia. “Number two, he speaks tonight. I appear tomorrow. I have never heard of him before. I can’t comment because I really didn’t know. I will have to take some time to assess and investigate on my own.
Yiannopoulos, who considers himself “ex-gay”, has publicly attacked Jews, feminists, Muslims, members of the transgender community and Black Lives Matter activists, according to the Anti-Defamation League. He is now an advocate for gay conversion therapy.
During a November 2021 prayer rally in Baltimore, Yiannopoulos called Catholic bishops “sodomites” and called face masks worn during the COVID pandemic “faggot snouts.”
Yiannopoulos could not be reached for comment Friday night.