As a sex abuse scandal continues to threaten the Catholic Church, the pontiff just keeps digging his own grave
Apr 03 2010
By Mary Elizabeth Williams
It’s been a rough couple weeks for the man who wears the pointy hat.
He’s been slapped with a lawsuit. He’s been excoriated by Sinéad O’Connor. And in an (pardon the phrase) utterly damning series of New York Times stories, he’s been implicated in one of the worst sex abuse cover-ups in the Catholic Church’s not-too-shabby history of sex abuse scandals.
To cut the guy some slack, Pope Benedict XVI has done a hell of a lot of apologizing lately, talking tough on the “heinous crimes” committed by the members of his profession. And before we storm the Vatican with pitchforks and torches, we’ll note that according to the National Catholic Register, no documents have yet emerged directly linking the artist formerly known as Joseph Ratzinger to the mismanagement of any sex abuse cases. In fact, under his watch in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he pushed for an unprecedented level of reform and investigation.
But being the front-line guy for an organization that’s harbored a truly outstanding number of child rapists can take a toll on a person. And so, as Catholics around the world began the Holy Week sprint toward Easter, the 82-year-old pontiff was sounding a tad defensive. In his Palm Sunday sermon, he took a moment to speak about “the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion.” Hey, pope, not to tell you how to do your job or anything, but really, when your business is looking at thousands of sex crimes — not a good moment to trot out the word “gossip.”
Things got more heated as the week wore on, when the Vatican’s Cardinal William J. Levada issued a testy official statement dissing the Times for its “attack mode” saying that “in rushing to a guilty verdict, [the Times] lacks fairness in its coverage of Pope Benedict.”
Then, during a Good Friday service conducted by the pope’s official preacher, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, the pontiff sat quietly while the priest quoted a letter he said came from a Jewish friend. “I am following the violent and concentric attacks against the church, the pope and all the faithful by the whole world,” he said. “The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt, remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.”
That’s right — comparing the outrage over real crimes and cover-ups to anti-Semitism. And this from the people who gave you the Crusades! Also, I’m sorry, Cantalamessa, but if we’re talking about “passing from personal responsibility,” didn’t your own boss Benedict recently swat some of the blame for the epidemic of pedophilia in Ireland by laying it on “the rapid transformation and secularization of Irish society”?
Category Archives: ST&R
Petition Closed. Unsuccessful.
Uganda: Dismiss the ‘Anti-Homosexuality Bill’
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (State House Nakasero) and Honorable Opio Gabriel (Minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Affairs)
Petition Started by: CAAH (Community Action Against Homophobia)
The Ugandan government is currently considering the passage of this “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” which would have devastating consequences for that country’s LGBTI community. For their safety it is vital this bill be dismissed. That is the aim of this petition.
The bill proposes that homosexuality be made illegal with the following consequences:
1) Anyone found to be practicing homosexual acts will be punished with life imprisonment
2) Anyone practicing “aggravated homosexuality” — meaning they are homosexual and have AIDS/HIV — would be facing a death sentence (this is apparently being reviewed and may be dropped from the bill).
3) Finally, citizens who do not report known homosexual acts also receive three years imprisonment, and if they publicly support homosexuality through statement or other means, that is another four years on top of that, making seven years in total.
Besides the obvious horrible consequences for the LGBTI community and their supporters, this would also affect media freedom in their country, making less information available to needy people.
People’s willingness to seek help when they are infected with HIV would be non-existent, which could mean the disease is less discussed and spreads unspoken throughout the country, even more than its devastating current presence in the region.
As stated by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission:
“The negative repercussions of the bill in Uganda will be immediate and severe. It effectively bans the free association and expression that are necessary for a flourishing civil society, and creates a climate of fear and hostility that undermines the citizenship and solidarity of all Ugandans. It will lend itself to misapplication and abuse, and implicitly encourages persecution of LGBT people by private actors. Effective HIV prevention activities in Uganda, which rely on an ability to talk frankly about sexuality and provide condoms and other safer-sex materials, will be difficult, if not impossible.”
We need to act on this, if not for the reasons above, then for basic human rights!
CAAH (Community Action against Homophobia)
Text of Bill:
Uganda, dismiss the Anti-Homosexuality Bill
I am writing to express concern about legislation that would severely restrict the rights of Ugandan citizens, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their defenders, in direct contravention of domestic and international law. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 would not only reaffirm penalties for homosexuality, but would criminalize the “promotion of homosexuality,” including funding and sponsoring LGBT organizations and broadcasting, publishing, or marketing materials on homosexuality. Any person in authority who fails to report known violations of the law within 24 hours will also be subject to a significant fine and up to 3 years in prison – even when this means turning in their colleagues, family, or friends.
The negative repercussions of the bill in Uganda will be immediate and severe. It effectively bans the free association and expression that are necessary for a flourishing civil society, and creates a climate of fear and hostility that undermines the citizenship and solidarity of all Ugandans. It will lend itself to misapplication and abuse, and implicitly encourages persecution of LGBT people by private actors. Effective HIV prevention activities in Uganda, which rely on an ability to talk frankly about sexuality and provide condoms and other safer-sex materials, will be difficult, if not impossible.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill violates National Objective 5(2) of the Ugandan Constitution, which provides that “the State shall guarantee and respect the independence of non-governmental organizations which protect and promote human rights.” Moreover, it directly violates the right to equality and freedom from discrimination (Article 21), the right to privacy (Article 27), the right to freedoms of speech, expression, association, and assembly (Article 29), the protection of minorities (Article 36), and the protection of civic rights and activities (Article 38) to which all Ugandans are entitled. It also violates the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and other international human rights treaties to which Uganda is a party. This bill undermines Uganda’s commitment to the international human rights regime and threatens the basic human rights of all its citizens.
The Bill’s revocation of fundamental rights would also seriously undermine the country’s reputation and credibility in the international arena. Because it claims jurisdiction over Ugandans who violate its provisions while outside of the country, the Bill will strain Uganda’s relations with regional and international partners.
While people may hold differing opinions about sexual orientation and gender identity, the legislation before Parliament is an ineffective and fundamentally illegal way to express opposition to a minority group. In recognition of the importance of a diverse, dynamic civil society and the domestic and international commitments that Uganda has made, I urge you to swiftly dismiss the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 and reaffirm the rights and responsibilities of all Ugandans.
[Your name here]
Cross-dresser is locked up
A cross-dresser who was caught at Dubai International Airport as he attempted to leave the country with a man to get married has been jailed for three years.
The 22-year-old Emirati student was found guilty of charges of homosexuality, male prostitution, having an illegal affair, producing and distributing pornography, wearing women’s clothes in public and insulting religion.
Police reports said they found images of the man on the Internet wearing an Islamic headscarf and women’s clothes while reading the Quran.
Catholic kids legally denied re-enrollment because of Mommies – ‘archbishop’ sticks foot in mouth again anyway
Boulder’s Sacred Heart of Jesus School legally denies re-enrollment of lesbians’ children
9News: ‘Archdiocese’ says couple living in ‘disaccord with Catholic teaching’
By Erica Meltzer
Thu Mar 04 2010
Two sisters, believed to be in preschool and kindergarten, students at a Catholic school in Boulder, will not be allowed to re-enroll next year because the students’ parents are a lesbian couple, 9News reported Thursday night.
Teachers at Sacred Heart of Jesus School told 9News they were told at a staff meeting earlier this week that the students would not be allowed to return to school next year because of the students’ home situation. The teachers also were told not to talk to the media.
In a statement to 9News, the “archbishop” of Denver said the parents disqualified their children from enrollment by their actions.
“Homosexual couples living together as a couple are in disaccord with Catholic teaching,” the statement said.
According to the “archbishop”, parents who enroll their kids at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School are expected to follow the Catholic Church’s beliefs.
“No person shall be admitted as a student in any Catholic school unless that person and his/her parent(s) subscribe to the school’s philosophy and agree to abide by the educational policies and regulations of the school and ‘archdiocese’,” the statement said.
[Actually, every single family of every single student at every single Catholic school is living “in disaccord with Catholic teaching” in some way, for example by ongoing birth control, or practicing serial marriage which is obvious and “in your face” deeply anti-Christian — and none of their parents are abiding by all of the policies and regulations of the church or the school.]
Some staff members told 9News they were upset that a school that preaches love and understanding would take these actions.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus School could not be reached for comment late Thursday, [a regular school day].
The “priest” who did this is a lying, hypocritical, bigoted creep, whining about his “suffering” over this action, while ignoring the true suffering of this family, which he alone caused, quite legally. I guess he forgot that Jesus said the church’s petty “rules” don’t matter a bit when it comes to reaching out to help human beings (eating the temple’s food; helping others — even animals, let alone humans — on the Sabbath, and on and on).