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Belgium’s Roman Catholic Church, already reeling from allegations of sexual abuse, faced a new scandal Friday after its primate wrote that AIDS was “a sort of inherent justice.”
Many lawmakers condemned Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, the head of the Belgian church, for the remarks in a new book and Belgium’s center for equal opportunities received a series of complaints, including one by a lawyer who said his comments were incitement to hatred.
The Church is struggling to recover from the resignation of the Bishop of Bruges in April after he admitted sexually abusing a nephew.
In his book “Monseigneur Leonard – Conversations,” the archbishop referred to a remark by the late Pope John Paul II who said, when asked whether AIDS was a punishment from God, that it was difficult to judge God’s will.
“I would not at all think in such terms. I do not see this illness as a punishment, at most a sort of inherent justice, a bit like how we are presented with the bill for what we do to the environment,” Leonard said…
Leonard told a news conference Friday he felt he had been misunderstood as regarding AIDS in all forms as a punishment. He said his words referred to promiscuous sex…
He also said he was targeting “certain practices” and not HIV positive people or those with AIDS, who should not be discriminated against.
Sometimes it’s laughable to watch some pompous ignoranus try to wiggle their way out of public stupidity. Sarah Palin’s “refudiate” moment comes to mind.
But, echoing the bigotry of religious fundamentalists, the criminal rationale used so often to condemn humans to second-class citizenship and third-rate medical care – ain’t ever funny. It’s as worthy of contempt as any other criminal ideology.