Andre-Joseph Leonard | Belgium | Catholic Church | FEMEN | News

Topless Activists Drench Anti-Gay Belgian Archbishop with Water in Anti-Homophobia Protest


A group of topless activists drenched Belgian Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard with water yesterday in Brussels, the NY Post reports:

With messages scrawled on their torsos, the members of the group FEMEN crashed Leonard’s planned lecture on blasphemy at ULB university and screamed insults at him while dousing him with water. Leonard, 72, has come under fire for his opposition to gays and a willingness to express it publicly.

“Homosexuality is not the same as normal sex in the same way that anorexia is not a normal appetite,” he said in a Belgian television interview.

More photos (work-unfriendly) here.

You may recall that Leonard was pied in the face by activists a year ago after suggesting AIDS stemmed from the wrath of God and calling it "a sort of intrinsic justice."


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  1. Good job, ladies. Now these are the people you should be going after.

    Posted by: Tyler | Apr 24, 2013 8:56:29 AM

  2. That's an amazing photo. Well done!

    Posted by: zeddy | Apr 24, 2013 8:58:49 AM

  3. I'm certain he sees himself as a martyr.

    Posted by: Mike in the tundra | Apr 24, 2013 9:10:34 AM

  4. Was that "unholy water" used for his dousing? I'm sure it won't wash any sense into his Papist-deluded brain.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Apr 24, 2013 9:16:53 AM

  5. Obviously I support the intent, but does this achieve anything? People opposed will likely grow more resolutely opposed, and people in support will say, Yeah sure. It won't change minds, and could be negative. It's not like ACT UP protests. The topless angle is also a bit baffling, as it undermines the seriousness of the situation---even in Europe---and makes them seek like they just want attention.

    Which I realize is part of the point. And I'd love for guys like him not to exist, but throwing water on him means...what? Suddenly it's holy water?

    Posted by: Paul R | Apr 24, 2013 9:18:54 AM

  6. "Homosexuality is not the same as normal sex in the same way that anorexia is not a normal appetite"

    Idiot. A far more apt comparison would be that "Celibacy is not the same as normal sex in the same way that anorexia is not a normal appetite!"

    In reality, some people perfer pork while others prefer fish. And these are normal, healthy appetites!

    Posted by: Jeff | Apr 24, 2013 9:23:39 AM

  7. His views are abhorrent and not in keeping with the times, but these women have done more harm than good. Folks might cheer them on, but no one will take them seriously.

    Posted by: Sam | Apr 24, 2013 9:26:14 AM

  8. I take them very seriously... the nudity is brilliant because it makes the cause human, not neutral, but specific... specially if one considers that in the Catholic Church gays and women r at the bottom of the food chain, so to speak...

    equal rights does not mean erasure or assimilation of differences, but the celebration of diversity... if a man can go shirtless and dance for the pope, these women can go shirtless and protest at this archbishop...

    Posted by: V-8 | Apr 24, 2013 9:40:55 AM

  9. @Sam, I disagree. I think the wet archbishop might take them seriously. The old fogies need to be shaken up, and I think this was a great idea. He won't forget them as long as he lives.

    Posted by: Jack M | Apr 24, 2013 9:41:01 AM

  10. @Sam, totally wrong. You can not throw a rock into a lake and not make ripples. Youth see these people, I see these people and supporters see them. Their actions have and will effect people.

    Also, crazy hot, if I was straight I would be proposing to those awesome ladies.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Apr 24, 2013 9:41:01 AM

  11. As much as I may be concerned about the "mean" side of such a protest, I can only ask: Does the Archbishop now have a better understanding of how human beings feel when they have been described in vile terms and made the subject of discrimination and hatred? Unfortunately, I don't see any chance they these "religious bigots" even considering treating everyone with respect and dignity. Now his has been hurt.

    Posted by: Michael | Apr 24, 2013 9:41:36 AM

  12. You make a very good point, Jeff. Anorexia is the refusal of food. Celibacy is the refusal of sex. Ergo, celibacy has far more in common with Anorexia than homosexuality does!

    And effectiveness of this tactic aside, his "excellency" certainly looks like ostentatiously pious and self-righteous tw@t in that 2nd photo.

    Posted by: Caliban | Apr 24, 2013 9:55:17 AM

  13. Doesn't do anything to help our cause. This activity makes us look bad. I am with Sam on this.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Apr 24, 2013 10:16:39 AM

  14. Um, the news item doesn't say but, after the water was thrown on him, did the archbishop start screaming "I'm melting! Melting! Oh - what a world - what a world!"?

    Posted by: jamal49 | Apr 24, 2013 10:20:49 AM

  15. I may disagree the action, but I hope it made him thinking.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Apr 24, 2013 10:24:04 AM

  16. Completely with Sam. This helps kids how exactly? If they're closeted (and especially if religious), it scares them. If they're out, it seems pointless like it does to most adults. It seems self-serving.

    I dislike most religious figures, but physically attacking them while half-naked isn't going to do much for us.

    Posted by: Paul R | Apr 24, 2013 10:25:22 AM

  17. Since I was busy on the jeremy irons post saying the protest against him was misdirected, this creep is a great example of the kind of person we should be protesting against. I would definitely do it differently, but at least they chose the right target.

    Posted by: Brian | Apr 24, 2013 10:35:41 AM

  18. Great job. These guys should meet a douse of water every time they step out into public.

    Posted by: Mawm | Apr 24, 2013 10:47:18 AM

  19. This is the type of actions that make all of us look bad. This will not change his views - only enhance them. We change minds one person at a time using rational means - not one that adds fuel to the fire.

    Posted by: Guy | Apr 24, 2013 10:48:13 AM

  20. I'm just curious: What would have happened if Towleroad had posted the photos without the breasts blurred out and without the NSFW *warning*? What would have happened? Would Towleroad be fined?

    The idea that these photos are somehow prurient, and that we have to be protected from them, makes me far more uncomfortable than seeing them.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Apr 24, 2013 10:51:57 AM

  21. Dastius Krazitauc | Apr 24, 2013 10:51:57 AM

    I agree, but we all know that straight men can't be held responsible for their actions when faced with bare breasts. Since this is obviously not a problem with the Catholic Clergy, maybe they're afraid of arousing Towleroad's Lesbian audience

    Posted by: StevyD | Apr 24, 2013 11:13:30 AM

  22. What a waste of perfectly good water. Unless it was holy water then by all means splash that evil spawn of Satan who pretends he is of God with more. He deserves it.

    Posted by: RMc | Apr 24, 2013 11:43:34 AM

  23. They should save up some really foul d0uche backwash for next time.

    Nice t1ts, btw. Seriously.

    Posted by: Pope-on-a-Rope | Apr 24, 2013 12:03:29 PM

  24. WTF is with Towle's text censor?

    D.ouche? T.its?

    Posted by: Pope-on-a-Rope | Apr 24, 2013 12:05:32 PM

  25. I'm surprised at the number of people on Towleroad who are equating celibacy with anorexia as something unhealthy. The analogy doesn't hold. Food, some amount of it at least, is necessary to nourish and sustain the body. Too little of it is unhealthy. The same is not true of sex. Sex is a natural and pleasurable part of life, but it isn's strictly speaking necessary. No one dies for a lack of sex. (I speak for individuals, a whole society of people who didn't have sex would obviously not survive because no one would reproduce.)

    The church considers celibacy a gift. It knows that not everyone is capable of it. And this is one reason why societies have traditionally frowned upon people remaining single past a certain age - they know that most people desire sex in their lives.

    I agree that homosexuality should not be considred abnormal, but are we now going to take the stigma that once was put on gays and put it on celibate people? And if celibacy is abnormal how do we help those who have this "condition?" This argument is on very shaky ground.

    Posted by: Mary | Apr 24, 2013 12:57:00 PM

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