By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com February 20 2013 5:33 PM ET
A Catholic Cardinal from Ghana, who is considered to be among the top candidates to become the next pope, recently made statements linking homosexuality to the ongoing sex-abuse scandal involving numerous Catholic priests.
Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson told a TV reporter that the priest sex-abuse scandal was unlikely to impact Africa as harshly as it has Europe and North America, because many African cultures are intolerant of homosexuality, reports The Australian.
"African traditional systems kind of protect or have protected its population against this tendency," said Cardinal Turkson, 64, who could become the first black pope. "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 ... so that cultural taboo, that tradition, has been there. It has served to keep [sex abuse] out."
Cardinal Turkson also defended Catholicism's ban on ordaining women, saying the exclusion is "just how the church has understood this order of ministry to be," according to The Australian.
The Australian article quoted a Stonewall spokesperson who said Cardinal Turkson's comments linking gays to pedophilia and sex-abuse scandals within the church shows "a surprisingly callous disregard for the human rights of million of people worldwide."
An English bishop disagreed, and told The Australian, "Homosexuality is irrelevant to the child-abuse problem," noting that English priests have been "very careful in this country to keep the two issues well apart."
Indeed, research indicates that gay people are no more likely to sexually abuse minors than are straight people, and that most pedophiles self-identify as heterosexual.