Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, who has been widely reported to be on the shortlist of potential Popes, has suggested homosexuality may be part of the reason for the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandals.
Turkson joined CNN’s Christaine Amanpour on Tuesday and discussed the possibility of sex abuse spreading to Africa.
“African traditional systems kind of protect or have protected its population against this tendency,” Turkson 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. So, that cultural ‘taboo,’ that tradition has been there. It’s helped to keep this out.”
A spokesperson for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said in a statement to the Daily Mail, “we hear less about clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Africa for the same reasons we do throughout the developing world — there tends to be lesser funding for law enforcement, less vigorous civil justice systems, less independent journalism, and an even greater power and wealth difference between church officials and their congregants.”
Turkson has been criticized for insensitive remarks about the LGBT community in the past. For instance, he supported Uganda’s infamous legislation (known as the “Kill the Gays” bill), which made homosexuality punishable by death and he’s criticized U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for calling on Africa to soften its stance on gay rights.
The 64-year-old would-be pontiff has not been shy about his willingness to assume the role of Pope “if it’s the will of God.”