RNS linked Cardinal Peter Turkson’s CNN interview. He steered the conversation well from the political concerns of the day, and focused on the essential of the Gospel.
And this, at the 7:05 (question)/7:31 (answer) mark:
When Amanpour asked Turkson about the possibility of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal spreading to Africa, he said it would unlikely be in the same proportion as it has in Europe.
“African traditional systems kind of protect or have protected its population against this tendency,” he said. “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.”
A troubling answer. Cardinal Turkson misses on two points.
First, that sex abuse isn’t about same sex attraction as much as it about using sexuality to dominate, humiliate, and impose upon the innocent. There is probably nothing more intimate and personal than a person’s sexuality. Throwing out the gay thing is just a smokescreen.
Second, the scandal is less in the misconduct of clergy and much more in the mismanagement of predators. Could she have asked him about bishops who had mishandled wayward clergy? That would have been an interesting exchange to see.
He does concede the restoration of credibility is very needful. But he doesn’t address the problem of bishops.
I’ve seen commentary that Cardinal Turkson is too much in the news, and has campaigned his way out of consideration by his fellow cardinals. I think that if he were elected, he would need to listen to the facts and learn of the situation. Africa is not Eden. The powerful in Africa have certainly used sex to exert domination over the innocent, the weak, and the vulnerable. African bishops have not avoided their own sexual escapades.
I wish the interviewer had been more incisive and better researched on these points. At least Cardinal Turkson recognizes the credibility gap. That he doesn’t take it for granted suggests the higher-ups in Rome don’t count on it either. That can be a good thing.