In an interview last week with CNN, Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, considered by many to be the favorite to succeed Pope Benedict XVI (which would make him the first black Pope), created an uproar with his response to Christiane Amanpour's question about the possibility of the Catholic Church's sex scandal spreading to Africa. For Turkson, the issue isn't Church-wide cover ups of the scandal or any other systematic problem; instead, Turkson thinks the abuse occurred because there were too many gay priests in Europe and North America.
"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."
Right. As CNN dutifully noted in their post about the interview: "According to the American Psychological Association, 'homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.'"
Ruth Hunt, the director of public affairs at Stonewall UK, a LGBT charity, condemned Turkson's statement. "Cardinal Turkson's comments show a surprisingly callous disregard for the human rights of millions of people worldwide," she told the Times UK.
A spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests also criticized the remarks. "We hear less about clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Africa for the same reasons we do throughout the developing world - there tends to be lesser funding for law enforcement, less vigorous civil justice systems, less independent journalism, and an even greater power and wealth difference between church officials and their congregants," he said.
And if you think Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State and another popular pick to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, has a more progressive stance, bad news; according to the Daily Mail, his views are almost identical to Turkson's.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone...said that some psychiatrists had found a relationship between homosexuality and paedophilia.
‘That is the problem,' he said.
[Daily Mail//Image via AP]