German cardinal angers Twitter by blaming homosexuality for sexual abuse in Catholic Church
Published time: 4 Jan, 2019 19:30
It is not the Catholic Church that should be blamed for child sex abuse by priests but modern public morals and the spread of homosexuality, one of the top Catholic prelates alleged, sparking outrage on social media.
Sex abuse in the Catholic Church has recently become a burning issue, casting a shadow on the Church’s reputation in light of numerous scandals regarding harassment and rape. However, Cardinal Walter Brandmueller believes the public outrage over the issue is “quite hypocritical” as the abuse is not some institutional problem but a mere indication of a malady that has gripped modern society as a whole.
“What has happened in the Church in terms of abuse is nothing short of what has been happening to the society as a whole,” Brandmueller told German dpa news agency. He then designated growing sexualization as the root cause of the problem and said that the real scandal consists in the fact that the Church failed to distinguish itself from the rest of society.
Doubling down, the cleric said: “It would be no less divorced from reality to forget or even to conceal that 80 percent of abuse cases within the Church ranks affected male youths and not children.”
He also alleged that it is “statistically proven” that there is a “link” between homosexuality and abuse while providing no specific data on the issue.
His words, however, did not sit well with many people on social media, as his interview provoked a wave of angry comments on Twitter. Some, including regional MP Christian Flisek, said the prelate must be living “in his own world” or in a “bubble” to say something like that.
Others fired back at Brandmueller, saying the “relativization” of sex abuse in the Catholic Church is “just completely wrong,” and blaming the problem on homosexuality is “tasteless.” Terms like “unappealing” and “misguided” were also used in the comments.
Some also accused Brandmueller of attempting to downplay the issue of abuse and shift the focus away from the Catholic Church in general. “What a shameful way for the Catholic Church to relativize guilt and defame homosexuals. Very poor!” Ulf Poschardt, a journalist at Die Welt, tweeted.
The cardinal’s comments came as the Catholic Church still struggles to combat sex abuse in its ranks. Last December, Pope Francis directly called on abusive priests to turn themselves in, adding that they should prepare for “divine justice”.
In 2018, the Catholic Church was plagued by various scandals, from the US to Europe.
In Germany, a leaked study revealed that more than 3,600 people were abused by Catholic clergy over more than 50 years. The explosive report also blamed practices such as celibacy or the far-reaching clerical power of individual clergymen for exacerbating the problem.