Last week, TWO’s Evan Hurst reported that House Minority Leader John Boehner joined right wing Catholics to attack the Human Right’s Campaign’s Harry Knox as an “anti-Catholic bigot” and called on him to resign from President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
They were allegedly upset that Knox correctly stated that the Pope is hurting people in the name of Jesus by actively working against honest sex and contraception education in sub-Saharan Africa, and is thus contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS on that continent.
The attacks on Knox over old comments seemed oddly timed and forced – as if those leveling the bogus charges were desperately groping to find a political issue to serve as a smoke screen to distract the world. It was unclear at the time why these pious henchmen wanted us to avert our gaze.
Well, today the other Prada shoe fell.
It became sickeningly obvious why the Church needed to quickly find a Boogie Man. A new child abuse scandal rocked the Roman Catholic Church in Pope Benedict’s XVI native Germany. According to The New York Times:
The widening public scandal began last month with allegations that three priests at the elite Canisius Jesuit high school in Berlin had sexually abused students in the 1970s and ’80s. In the midst of a steadily growing uproar over the handling of that case, the German magazine Der Spiegel published an article that said nearly 100 clerics and laypeople had been suspected of abusing children and teenagers nationwide since 1995.
Der Spiegel said that at least 94 clerics and laypeople had been suspected of abuse since 1995, based on a poll of 27 of Germany’s 30 Catholic dioceses. The magazine’s cover this week was illustrated with an image of a priest reaching suggestively under his robes.
Making matters worse for Rome, Irish victims of the church’s rampant sexual abuse wrote a letter to the Pope asking him to take responsibility for the church’s concealment of child molestation by forcing out bishops implicated in the decades of cover-up.
Exactly, why hasn’t The Pope done this already? Why isn’t punishing child rapists a top priority, rather than the Vatican’s outrageous campaign against marriage equality, where consenting adults commit their lives to each other?
The way I see it, conservative Catholics, such as Boehner, Thomas Peters of the American Papist Blog, Dr. Kevin Roberts of Catholic Families for America, and Larry Cirignano of Faithful Catholic Citizens tried to pick a fight with America’s largest LGBT rights groups last week over condoms only days before the German report and Irish letter were publicly released. They knew this week’s shameful news would turn stomachs and they needed to find a scapegoat.
Fortunately, their conjured anti-gay dust-up fooled no one and the world’s eyes are firmly fixed on the real issue — the church’s continued exploitation of youth and the heartbreaking cover-ups.
Before the Roman Catholic Church preaches about values and points fingers, I believe it must clean up its own house. At the moment, it has no moral authority to talk about sexual matters – from condoms to birth control to homosexuality.
The Vatican has a priority problem. I suggest it take a break and spend the next year devoting all of its energy, time and financial resources to healing the hurt it has caused to its own members. Indeed, Germany has lost 3 million Catholics since 1990. Today’s tawdry revelations won’t help reverse this trend. Nor will launching fake attacks on LGBT people and leaders as a diversion from perversion that has brought the church to its knees.