Tagged: Benedict XVI

Top Papal Candidate Blames Child Sex Abuse Scandal on Gays

We learned last week that Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, widely considered to be a top candidate to replace outgoing Pope Benedict XVI as the spiritual leader of the billion-member Roman Catholic Church, harbors some incredibly frightening beliefs about LGBT people. When asked about the draconian anti-gay laws in Africa, including Uganda’s notorious “Kill the Gays” bill, Turkson didn’t condemn them or denounce them. Instead, he said that murderous hostility towards gays and lesbians was a tradition that should be respected and understood in the name of cultural fairness.

turkson_amanpourAnd it gets even worse. In an interview with CNN that very same day, correspondent Christiane Amanpour asked Turkson whether the clergy child sex abuse crisis and cover-ups, which have rocked the Catholic Church in Europe and North America, might spread to Africa. The cardinal responded that it is unlikely to have occurred on a similar scale on his side of the Mediterranean because African societies and cultures are better protected from “this tendency.” Surely by “this tendency,” Turkson was referring to the psychiatric disorder of pedophilia, right?


As far as Cardinal Turkson is concerned, the violation of children by priests isn’t caused by pedophilia, but by homosexuality:

“…African traditional systems kind of protect or have protected its population against this tendency a little bit. 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, so that cultural, if you want, the taboo that traditionally has been there, has served to keep this out.”

You’re reading that correctly: Cardinal Turkson not only thinks homosexuality is linked with pedophilia (a vicious anti-gay myth that’s been denounced by literally every mainstream organization of mental health professionals) and blames the Catholic Church’s repugnant sex abuse problem on gays in the priesthood, but he believes that the “traditional” homophobia present in many African societies – you know, the very same murderous bigotry he wants everyone to understand and respect – serves a positive social purpose by protecting African children from sexual assault.

Turkson’s galactically outdated views on homosexuality are both breathtakingly ignorant and astonishingly dangerous. Priestly sexual abuse is the biggest challenge currently facing the worldwide Catholic Church, and Turkson’s remarks make it abundantly clear that if he were to become pope, his response would be to blame the scandal – and Catholicism’s shredded moral credibility – not on child-raping priests, but on gay people. And all this as LGBTs across the African continent face the very real threat of imprisonment and execution.

Do you think a Pope Turkson would hear their cries, or would he stand silently by as they’re persecuted, beaten, jailed, and put to death?

I hope we never have to find out.

Originally published by the Bilerico Project.

My Favorite Benedict XVI Moment

AP Photo
AP Photo

Regular readers know that I’m no fan of Pope Benedict XVI. Still, his ability to be colossally out of touch created many deliciously cringe-inducing awkward moments. I wanted to share with all of you my favorite such moment, from a papal audience in 2010 in which shirtless male acrobats performed for His Holiness.

Remember this? If so, enjoy a refresher. If not, you’re in for a treat:

If that isn’t a psychology dissertation waiting to happen, I don’t know what is. 😉

I’ll end by sharing a photo I snapped of Pope Benedict on November 25, 2009, when Michael and I attended a papal audience in Vatican City at the Paul VI Audience Hall. No, there were no shirtless acrobats present that day. Yes, we were both very sad about that.


Pope Benedict Abruptly Resigns the Papacy

benedict_evil_glare-300x217Pope Benedict XVI announced today during a meeting of Vatican cardinals that he will resign the papacy effective February 28. In a statement issued at noon today Vatican time (6 a.m. Eastern Time), the Pope wrote,

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.

Benedict XVI is the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years; the last pope to do so was Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 to end the Western Schism.

NPR reports that news of the Pope’s resignation took the Vatican, including members of the Pope’s inner circle, by surprise. One reason may be that, as the National Catholic Reporter points out, the consensus among most modern popes is that resignation is unacceptable. Benedict’s predecessor, John Paul II, famously refused to resign even as his body was being ravaged by Parkinson’s disease and osteoarthritis. Pope Paul VI said that paternity cannot be resigned, concluding that a pope “could not resign the apostolic mandate except in the presence of an incurable illness or an impediment that would prevent the exercise of the functions of the successor of Peter.”

I must confess that what shocks me most about the whole matter (in addition to the utter lack of modern precedent for the action Pope Benedict is taking) is the abruptness of his exit — February 28 is just seventeen days away. It seems odd, and I wonder if there isn’t perhaps more to the story, either that he’s much closer to death’s door than any of us are aware of, or he’s resigning swiftly to avoid some as-yet-unknown scandal. Only time will tell.

Finally, the expressions of joy I’m seeing from many in the LGBT community about Benedict XVI’s impending departure from the Chair of Peter strike me, sadly, as rather misplaced. Without a doubt, the current pope is notoriously homophobic (for example, he recently referred to gay people as “defective”). However, Benedict has appointed a majority of the cardinals who will elect his successor, and the vast majority of bishops around the world were named by either Benedict or his equally anti-gay predecessor, John Paul II. Given the fact that popes tend to appoint prelates who share their views, institutional homophobia in the Roman Catholic Church isn’t likely to go away anytime soon, even as Catholics in Western countries continue to drift further away from the Church on these and other issues.

I snapped this photo of Pope Benedict XVI in a papal audience in Vatican City on November 25, 2009.
I snapped this photo of Pope Benedict XVI in a papal audience in Vatican City on November 25, 2009.

Pope Blesses Uganda’s Top “Kill the Gays” Lawmaker

Last March, Pope Benedict XVI explicitly blessed the anti-LGBT spiritual bullying campaign of the U.S. Catholic bishops in an address delivered to a delegation headed by Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt (one of the most outspoken homophobes in the American Catholic hierarchy). Many current and former LGBT Catholics, myself included, were horrified and disgusted by the Pope’s divisive gesture. I wrote at the time:

Pope Benedict’s words today, delivered to a group of bishops headed by one of the American Catholic Church’s most notorious homophobes, amount to nothing less than an official endorsement — no, a blessing — of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ all-out campaign of spiritual bullying and forceful political lobbying against American lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, couples, and families.

The leader of the religion into which I was born has just cloaked anti-gay hatred with the mantle of faith to an unprecedented degree and explicitly endorsed malicious religion-based bigotry in a way I never imagined possible.

Awful, right? Well this week, Benedict pulled a stunt that was (unbelievably) even more reprehensible: he blessed Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, who has promised to pass the infamous “Kill the Gays Bill” as a “Christmas gift” to the Ugandan people. Seriously. According to a report from Uganda’s New Vision News, Kadaga seemed almost breathlessly effusive as she described the encounter:

Kadaga who led a delegation of Ugandan legislators to the Vatican expressed delight at meeting the Pope and visiting St Peter’s Basilicca [sic].

“I think this is a moment that cannot be repeated. We have been reading about him, hearing stories about St.Peter’s Basilica but now we are here physically. “I think it is something that I will remember all my life. It’s a very great moment and I thank God for this opportunity,” she said minutes after meeting the Pope.

The Speaker dedicated to all Ugandans readings from the book of St.Mark which the Pope quoted in several languages during the Vatican mass. She handed over to the Pope a portrait of the Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo, a historical place where Christians were murdered because of their allegiance to their faith.

If you’ve just spat out your coffee, you’re not alone. Noted gay blogger David Badash says it best: “The deathly irony is inescapable.” And if that wasn’t ironic enough:

The Ugandan delegation was in Rome to attend the 7th Consultative Assembly of Parliamentarians for the International Criminal Court and the World Parliamentary Conference on Human Rights.

I am stunned, folks. Apparently, even a person who wants to kill gays for Christmas can get a blessing from Pope Benedict XVI. Pure evil.


After you’ve shared this article on Facebook, check out and consider sharing this image from AllOut as well:

h/t: David Badash

Incidentally, Badash and Andy Towle both report that the Mass where Benedict blessed Kadaga was also the Mass at which the Pope sent his first tweet. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to do a little tweeting myself, to let ol’ Pontifex know how I feel about his blessing a woman about to commit crimes against humanity.

Originally published at Back2Stonewall.

MN Football Star Chris Kluwe Defends Mom of Gay Son Against Homophobic Archbishop

chris_kluwe3Earlier this week, I reported on a 2010 letter written by Twin Cities Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt to the mother of a gay son. When the woman contacted him and pleaded for acceptance on her son’s behalf, Nienstedt responded by warning that her eternal salvation was potentially at risk unless she changed her view and accepted the Catholic Church’s anti-gay teachings — essentially demanding that she choose between accepting her son and saving her soul.

The awful story apparently caused enough of a stir to attract the attention of Chris Kluwe, a Minnesota Vikings football star who also happens to be an amazing spokesperson for marriage equality. This outspoken ally responded in an eloquent letter to Nienstedt and Pope Benedict XVI that Kluwe posted on his blog:

Do you presume to speak for God, Archbishop Nienstedt? Will you tell these children, faithful children who attend Sunday school and earnestly pray every day, that they are somehow lessened in God’s eyes? Will you grasp that millstone, Archbishop Nienstedt, grasp it all the way to the bottom, clutching at the heavy weight of earthly power and influence even as it drags you down?

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

“Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

Tell me, Archbishop, Pope, what purpose does the Church serve attempting to influence the affairs of a secular state? The federal benefits under law currently denied gay couples certainly fall under the realm of Caesar, don’t they? No one is forcing the Catholic Church to marry gay couples if that is not the Church’s wish. You can keep the sanctity of Catholic marriage solely between heterosexual couples if you feel that is what’s required (again though, I caution you on the dangers of presumed infallibility). All we are asking is for you to extend the open hand of tolerance instead of the closed fist of fear and hate. As American citizens, we respect the right for everyone to practice whichever religion they so choose, including the right to not practice one at all. Haven’t we learned enough from the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the Talibans of the world? What does it benefit the Church to attempt to influence secular policy in this country, especially when that influence is to deny basic human rights to others? Will you now assume Caesar’s throne, grasping the transitory ephemera of worldly power and control, while forsaking the eternal kingdom of Heaven?

I’m not a religious man, but the only thing I can think to say in response is a big, resounding “amen!”

H/t: Will Kohler at Back2Stonewall

Photo by David Bowman for Out Magazine. Click for link.
Photo by David Bowman for Out Magazine. Click for link.

Draft of French Marriage Equality Law Removes Gender-Specific Language

The draft of France’s forthcoming marriage equality law isn’t just going to grant same-sex couples equal marriage and adoption rights. The Telegraph reports that it goes one step further, removing all gender-specific language in French civil law so as not to show a preference to straight parents over LGBT parents:

The move, which has outraged Catholics, means only the word “parents” would be used in identical marriage ceremonies for all heterosexual and same-sex couples.

The draft law states that “marriage is a union of two people, of different or the same gender”.

It says all references to “mothers and fathers” in the civil code – which enshrines French law – will be swapped for simply “parents”.

The law would also give equal adoption rights to homosexual and heterosexual couples.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told France’s Catholic newspaper La Croix: “Who is to say that a heterosexual couple will bring a child up better than a homosexual couple, that they will guarantee the best conditions for the child’s development?”

“What is certain is that the interest of the child is a major preoccupation for the government.”

Philippe_BarbarinPredictably, the push for marriage equality in France has that nation’s Catholic bishops up in arms; the Telegraph article quotes Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, as saying that it would lead to legalized incest and polygamy. Calling homosexuality “a concept of human nature that has proven defective,” Pope Benedict XVI has invited 30 French bishops to Italy to urge them to fight even harder against equal marriage rights.

The draft marriage equality law is scheduled to be presented to the cabinet of Prime Minister François Hollande for approval on October 31.

The Pope Has a Fragrance But You Can’t Have It!

Nanna, nanna, boo boo?

So Pope Benedict XVI — the same pope who just last week endorsed the U.S. bishops’ anti-gay bullying — is apparently quite the dandy: MSNBC reports today that il Papa has commissioned his own fragrance.

Woah, hold on there. Resist the inevitable impulse to dash out the door to the nearest parfumerie. Put your car keys away and sit back down in your chair. Even if you want to smell like the Pope — and you know you want to — you can’t. There’ll be no spritzing of papal perfume for you. (I know, I know. Try to compose yourself before reading any further.) That’s because unlike fragrances from other celebrities like Britney, Jean-Paul Gaultier, or Madonna, eau de Pope is for the pontiff’s exclusive use.

Yeah, that’s right. Be jealous. Be very jealous.

The article is reproduced below, in its entirety, without further comment. I’m very interested to see all of your comments, though…

At 84, Pope Benedict XVI has proven to be a spiffy dresser. He wears cherry red loafers that landed him in the pages of Esquire magazine as the “accessorizer of the year,” he’s been spotted wearing sunglasses by Gucci and been outfitted by the Italian fashion house, Belstaff. Now, according to the Guardian, il Papa has commissioned his own brand of eau de cologne, a scent that only he may wear.

The fragrance is a combination of lime tree, verbena and grass and was created by Silvana Casoli, an Italian nose, as perfume makers are called, who has created scents for Sarah Jessica Parker, Katy Perry, Madonna and Sting.

Casoli also made scents for priests who embarked on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain – the perfumes, named Water of Faith and Water of Hope, were so beloved by the pilgrims that they presented samples to their pope, the Guardian reported.

Casoli made a secret pact with the pope and refused to release further details about the ingredients but she did reveal that as she tried to come up with the perfect concoction, she thought of nature and the pope’s love of the forests.

“I realized that an essence like this had to have at its core something pure and clean, recalling the idea of peace,” Casoli told Il Messagero newspaper. “I thought of the smells the Pope would smell when praying at the Grotto of Lourdes.”

She did not, however, divulge what the cologne would be called.