Papal candidates link gays to Catholic child abuse

Taylor Berman at Gawker reports that two of the top candidates to replace retiring Pope Benedict have predictably well-informed opinions about why Catholic priests rape so many children.

Firstly, here's Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, with the suggestion that the Africa did not experience such abuse because its communities do not "countenance" homosexuality:

"African traditional systems kind of protect or have protected its population against this tendency," he said. "Because in several communities, in several cultures in Africa homosexuality or for that matter any affair between two sexes of the same kind are not countenanced in our society."

And here's Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, at the heart of the "Vatileaks" corruption allegations, disagreeing with the plainly verifiable fact that homosexuals are no more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexuals.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone...said that some psychiatrists had found a relationship between homosexuality and paedophilia. ‘That is the problem,' he said.

Things are going to just get worse for the Roman Church.


  1. Well thank goodness that’s solved.  If only we don’t “countenance” child abuse, it will not happen.  Any other problems need solving?

    1. I think he means that if we don’t “countenance” any system that leads to child abuse, it will not happen.  So, time to get rid of the Catholic Church.

        1. I agree, as I’m sure you’ll agree that bankrupting an institution that’s made the enablement and cover-up of child sexual abuse a part of its standard operating procedure and putting its officials in the dock will send a strong message to child molesting “men of God” everywhere.

        2. Neither Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox Jews nor Britain’s madrassas have an enormous influence on world politics.

  2. Dear “progressive” observators who would be so pleased to see an african (i.e. black) pope: all the African candidates are borderline nazi. There’s quite a bunch of them in other delegations as well, but not as consistently insane as the African ones.

    1. The only reason I’m rooting for an African pope is that it would drive racist older Catholics in the West into a state of apoplexy and probably put a huge dent in collection plate contributions for at least a decade. With any luck it would also be the coup de grace to the RCC’s already diminished influence in Ireland.

      Otherwise, liberals and progressives seem to be very aware that the African candidates hold some disturbingly retrograde views, even compared to authoritarian creeps like Ratzinger.

        1. I’m laughing just imagining the comments of some 65-year-old Irish-Catholic lady in Southie as she takes down Ratzinger’s portrait and contemplates putting up Turkson’s or Arinze’s.

          1. A Muslim British MP has been getting death threats for voting in favor of gay marriage.  Droves of Daily Mail readers are dropping dead of apoplexy from trying to decide whom they hate more.

      1. Both the Catholic Church and the Episcopalian/ CoE seem likely to split into First World and Third World factions. Then they can merge, and the Church of Christ the Smiter can reinstitute the Inquisition in the Third World.

        1. eh, even the Third World has been split. Argentina has gay marriage (and one of the most progressive gender identity laws in the world); Brazil and Uruguay’s parliaments are debating either gay marriage or, at the very least, civil unions. Uruguay approved abortion up to the second trimester and the third in case of health issues for the mother. So they will have troubles reinstituting the Inquisition any time soon… Moreover, in many of these places the influence of the Catholic Church is only nominal. Their complicity in murderous dictatorships till the 90s or so was a nail in their coffin.

          1. I don’t think that South America really qualifies as Third World anymore. There are certainly areas of poverty, but there are mostly developed economies, stable governments and urbane cultures these days.

      2. “Otherwise, liberals and progressives seem to be very aware that the African candidates hold some disturbingly retrograde views, even compared to authoritarian creeps like Ratzinger.”
        That’s the problem.  An African pope might bring back Inquisition type views and practices to be levied against gays or others he deems unorthodox.

          1. Eh, remember the Borgias? One would hope religious types learned something since then, that humanity have grown somehow, and things like that could never happen again. I would not bet my life on this, though.

      3. As much as I would love to watch the Catholic church collapse under the weight of its own bullshit, as an ex-Catholic I have to say you’ve got it all wrong. They would LOVE to see a non-white pope. Let me give you peek behind the veil of my parents’ (and others’) lunacy:

        You see, the Catholic church has basically convinced its followers that secularism is a great evil and secular governments have created secular societies in the West that are causing great numbers of souls to be lost to evil and decadence. The decline of Catholicism in the West is a source of despair for Catholics while the rise of Catholicism (and Christianity in general regardless of denomination, if you can believe that) in emerging countries is a source of great hope.

        The believers in the West convince themselves that their societies are faltering, crumbling, failing. They see themselves as the last bulwarks of civilization while the heathens tear down the pillars of society. This is why they don’t even question the logic of people like Rush Limbaugh when he says Obama is anti-christian because he doesn’t like an organization in Africa called the Lord’s Republican Army (because they don’t know how horrible the LRA is, they only see the word “Lord”). The growth of Christianity outside of the US is a shining beacon of hope to these people who casually ignore the atrocities and barbarism of third-world christianity.

        They would love an African pope. They’d see him as a harbinger of “progress” being brought back to the West from the formerly uncivilized third world. To them it’s like Jesus coming back from the desert after 40 days. Not only that, but his regressive views would only make them feel better about their own views, which they’re tired of having constantly challenged by their Western neighbors. He would be a great comfort to them by reassuring them there were right all along.

        Lastly, and this is the racist part, they would hold him up as a token of their own inclusiveness. “See, we can have an Obama too. We’re not racists.” A black pope would strengthen the church, not weaken it. One only has to look at the popularity of Desmond Tutu throughout the Catholic church to see this. Be careful what you wish for.

    2. While some of the attitudes exhibited by representatives of the Church in Africa are reprehensible, I don’t think it helps anything to call them ‘Nazis’. African nations have their own peculiar politics that don’t necessarily map well onto European history.

      1. African nations have their own peculiar politics that don’t necessarily map well onto European history.

        The death penalty for gays is certainly “peculiar politics”, but comparing it to Nazism seems pretty damn appropriate. Did you want to defend slavery as a cultural institution next?

        1. I don’t think NelC was making excuses for these abhorrent views, I think NelC was saying that it makes no sense to map African retrograde politics onto the political phenomenon that was Nazi-ism. One can disagree with that or not, but it hardly implies making apologies for homophobia (or slavery). 

          1. Antinous, I think Slartibartfatsdomino is right. And, considering this, I think NeIC is pretty damn right. The Nationalsozialismus as an ideology is a very European thing. Fascism, among others, isn’t. (At least, in its wider form. Ok, we invented it in Italy, in a way, but other regions came up with the same idea. Independently. :sigh:) 

            By the way, sure as the sun rises, there will be people blaming “tribal” culture and “underdeveloped ethics” for abominable views of African clerics. Racism is at the doorstep, ready to knock. (Discl.: did not read further down yet, might even be the case already?)

            It’s going to be very difficult not to pull a Goodwin one direction or the other when someone from Africa gets to be elected in the Conclave. This is not going to help the discussion ’bout how to get rid of these narratives called “religion”.

          2. Like Mordecai says above.

            I’m still so boggled by the widespread gay-extermination meme in African nations that I have trouble producing coherent thoughts about it. But comparison with Nazism seems entirely appropriate. However, a comparison is not the same as labelling. An African homocidal homophobe may be like a Nazi in certain respects, but they aren’t actually a Nazi, and labelling them as such won’t help defeat the problem. An African homophobe has his own reasons for being a homophobe, and influence by Nazism is improbable. For one thing, a Nazi would have no truck with blacks. You think it’s hard to get in the local golf club if you’re black, try getting into a Neo-Nazi group if you’re black.

            Possibly I’m being old and overly pedantic, and ‘Nazi’ is going the same way as ‘vandal’ and ‘thug’, and good riddance to it. But at the moment Nazism is still a live thing, still a weak but present force in European politics, and it troubles me to pretend that it’s so dead that it can be used as a verbal bogeyman, a space-filler reached for when you wish to insult someone. There are people still alive who fought and killed actual Nazis, after all.

      2. Cardinal Turkson defends Kill-the-Gays legislation such as Uganda’s. Calling him a Nazi seems fair enough to me.

        His tendency to go all Post-Modernist to defend atrocities in the African context — “The intensity of the reaction is probably commensurate with tradition” — is hardly reassuring. Suddenly universal human values go out the window compared to traditional culture.

    3. Sorry, but if my position is that mankind would be well served by a decline in the influence of the RCC why WOULDN’T I want the pope to be manifestly insane?

      1. If only we could be certain of a causal link between increasingly insane policies and subsequent decline in influence.

        Perhaps the US House of Representatives in this post-2012 presidential election period would be a good example…or not.

        1. I think US Presidential politics post-2003 are a better fit here, and the sad reality is: the harder insane policies are pushed as dogma, the more people will follow them, as long as you can demonstrate that you can actually execute on them. It’s a vicious spiral.

    4. Cardinal Turkson:

      African traditional systems kind of protect or have protected its population against this tendency [the homosexual scourge].

      He does not specifically mention armbands with pink triangles, but the eliminationist mentality is there.

    5.  I think nothing would be better for helping end the nonsense that is called the Church than to elect someone so “conservative” as to make the current Pope look like Arlo Guthrie.  :)

      That Ghanaian guy sounds just right for that sort of thing.

    6.  “Which of these bad people should be in charge of this bad organization to do bad things?” is a real “the only way to win is not to play” sort of scenario.

          1. Harsh. I agree that prayer as invocation of supernatural powers is completely worthless; but as a moment of self-reflection/meditation and self-empowerment towards life, it’s pretty powerful stuff. Which is why these hokey-pokey, white-robey old men keep hanging on to it as an instrument of power over masses of people.

  3. what about Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga from honduras who said “Cardinal Maradiaga, in a May 2002 interview with the Italian-Catholic publication 30 Giorni, claimed that in order to divert attention from the Israeli-Palestinian crisis; Jews influenced the media to exploit the current controversy regarding sexual abuse by Catholic priests. This provoked outrage from the anti-Defamation league.”

    1. And he’s supposed to be one of the more “moderate” candidates. What a rotten institution the RCC is.

  4. “Not countenanced” is a nice euphemism for “considered capital crimes”. The Inquisition might have had a better historical reputation if guys like Turkson had been doing the propaganda back then.

      1. One of the dubious distinctions of being this old an institution is that that the Catholic Church holds the world record for consistently being on the wrong side of history.

        1. The downside of being on the wrong side of history, though, is that it sometimes takes a very long time for it to become apparent, and it’s not possible to hold dead people responsible for their crimes.

          On the other hand Pope John Paul II did concede that Galileo was right about the Earth revolving around the sun, so I guess positive change is possible.

          1. That didn’t take long, did it? Only 350 years since Newton.

            “Dude, I’ve found out this stuff is a bit different from what we thought.”

            “YOU’RE WRONG! Stop talking about this bullshit or I’ll kill you!”

            “Ok, ok, but sooner or later you’ll see what I mean.”

            … 100 years later …

            “Dude, we’ve totally found out how this whole universe thing is moving. It’s nothing like you thought.”

            “I’m not listening! Lalalalalala…”

            “Why am I talking to you, again?”

            … another 300 years later…

            “Dude, we are going to Mars! One day we’ll get to some supermassive black hole that can send us back in time!”

            “Oh, so the Sun doesn’t rotate around the Earth, does it? I think we owe that guy an apology, after all. But please don’t tell me anything about that evolution crap, I am many things but not the son of a monkey.”

    1. Benedict XVI and John Paul II picked the lot of them. I think Benedict’s cardinals might even constitute a majority.

  5. Q: “And what about all those priests who molested little girls?”

    A: “Oh, that’s just a coincidence.”

  6. Pig people. Just when you think these guys can’t be any more despicable and completely out of touch. At least he didn’t accuse the church’s critics of carrying out a “pogrom” on them this time…

  7. Suppose Bertone is right about the “problem” (not that he is): how does requiring priests to live with a bunch of other dudes for a few years, telling them they can’t marry or have sex, and then putting them in a position of authority over young people help solve the problem?

    1. I think most of the RCC’s own problems would be solved with a single pen-stroke: abolish forced celibacy. 

      The rule was clearly introduced by people interested in avoiding the establishment of a “holy aristocracy” (for comparison, look at how many Muslims are still killing each other over who was the “right” relative of the Prophet). At some point it stopped to work (see: Borgia), and it’s now counter-productive, a magnet for weirdos and a blackmailing tool (a lot of people inside the RCC nowadays are not-really-in-the-closet gays, and when they are on the wrong side of an argument involving power, threats will be made).

      Allowing priests to have a normal life would rekindle the faith among European followers, generating a watershed moment, and go a long way toward re-establishing trust in the organization. 

      I say this as a totally-atheist, non-baptised guy married to a Catholic in a Catholic ceremony. My loved one deserves better defenders of her faith.

  8. They’re quoting psychiatrists now?  I’m not getting my head wrapped around that.  I got so far as making parallels with opening the door to the Wiz of Oz’s control room and then got confused.

    1. LOL!

      OK, I might have to start a “Pope Pool” for fun. Though I’m pretty sure gambling is a sin. Oh well, not my problem.

      Go Canada Pope!

  9. So…. the third candidate’s got really modern views on transparency and compensation, and was totally not a Nazi ever. Right?

  10. The Catholic church is nothing. It is not special, just like the rest of us. It is not immune to anything (murder, corruption, molestation, abuse), just like the rest of us. It deserves no favoritism, and is (or rather, should be) subject to justice, just like the rest of us. So how could it possibly be able to promise anyone salvation? It is nothing but a special club created to make it’s leaders feel like god and it’s followers feel protected and privileged. 

    It creates its own need for itself. Then it protects itself with cowardice and lies. Any Catholic priests out there wish to comment?  *crickets*

    1. I heard that the Pope declared any Catholic reading or commenting on BoingBoing (but not BoingBoib) will be excommunicated.

  11. Just BTW, only recently, a historian published a book about the ‘Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio’, where sexual abuse of fellow nuns and even attempted murder happend in the 19th century. All was hushed up until now, but someone who was actively (also, sexually) involved (literally!) wrote the dogma about the infallability of the pope later. And a lot of other canonical law. I can just provide a gtranslate link to a newspaper review recently published, which was eye-bulging.

    The scholar who wrote that book (Hubert Wolf) is absolutely not in the line of Dan Brown. He’s a renowned specialist in research on the Inquisition (today:Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), and has access to the Vatican’s archives. And related to the minithread up in the comments about ‘Nazis & Church’: if you’ve got access to the Harvard Theological Review (paywall…), see the review of his book about the relations of Nazi Germany to the Vatican.

    1. Send out the children, because what I’m going to say NEXT is PG. Fisting though, kids should know about that, which is why I already described it for them.

  12. Even if Turkson is right and non-African societies tolerating homosexuality is a bad thing how does that excuse or let the RC church off the hook for all this sexual torture of children?  These specific scandals are not about things happening in society in general but in the society called the RC church: which does not tolerate homosexuality and barely tolerates sexuality at all.  His best defence is to accuse unrelated parties of bad (in his opinion anyway) behaviour to distract attention from his group’s (far worse) boo-boos?

    It’s no surprise that groups which suppress sexuality have the worst behaviour in this field.  I’m near the centre of the Ultra-orthodox Jewish community in my town and I don’t think it’s a co-incidence that it’s also one of the big centres of sleazy second-story massage parlours.  As Oscar Wilde said “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.”

    1. It was all off-topic. I gave you the benefit of the doubt, explained my rationale and left your comment. And you abused it. It’s gone now.

      1. For a given definition of benefit. One I felt obliged to defend against.

        You certainly did little to counter the impression that sparked my tangent.


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