Sunday March 2 2014

Of paedophiles, the Catholic Church and Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law

By Alan Tacca

Under great Western pressure against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and frightened by domestic demand that he signs it, President Museveni was wriggling between a rock and an extremely hard place. But as he finally signed the Bill into law, a story from Bugembe told of a 26-year-old man who had defiled his eight-month-old step-daughter, with the child discharging pus from her injured parts.

Media reports suggest there must be hundreds of such outrages committed in Uganda every year, most of them not followed by the police and the courts to satisfactory closure.

In those reports, the victims are almost exclusively girls, and the criminals, men, implying the homosexual trait is far less common than the paedophiliac in the general population.
Informal observation and the occasional bombshell thrown by rebellious insiders suggest a radically different pattern of abuse in Catholic institutions. The criminals remain overwhelmingly men, but the victims are also overwhelmingly boys.

In the West, where human rights causes are fought more fiercely, and where the sanctity of religious organisations is more openly challenged, the same pattern emerges: men of the frock serially abusing boys entrusted to them.

Let us get one thing out of the way. Except in the language of the new political correctness, where almost any disability is glossed over and the sufferer is described as simply “different”, the inability to be drawn to the opposite sex (and instead being attracted to the same sex) is clearly an abnormality.

The genetic markings for the two sexes probably occurred hundreds of millions of years ago, long before our ancestors became primates. But nature has its imperfections. For instance, incidents of homosexuality have been observed in giraffes.

Man’s copulation has a lot to do with reproduction and the preservation of the species. But the pleasure derived from the act leads him back to it again and again, even without reproduction in view. The languor into which he collapses after orgasm is a reminder that he is lucky not to die after passing on his genes, the way some insects do!

For about half of its history, the Catholic establishment has grappled with sex and hoped its inner circle can rise above its mundane reality by denying it. Everywhere, you see this denial; from its celibate monastic communities to its segregated schools.

However, so powerful is the sexual drive, that in their segregated communities, many of the men and women begin to seek gratification from their own gender. The case for social conditioning is no less valid than the case for genetic orientation.

But while one can figure out how the male (playing male) can achieve his goal, or two women in mutual embrace, it is puzzling how the male (playing lady) gets his erotic dividends. So the male who pursues fellow males starts out at a disadvantage. He suspects that his potential partner expects no reciprocal pleasure, and would probably render him service more like an emotionally detached prostitute. Courtship could leave the suitor rejected, despised and (above all) exposed.

Enter the innocent youngsters. Exploiting their trust and wielding their power, the men of the frock dispense little favours and entangle their young charges in relationships from which the latter usually cannot escape, damaging them psychologically for the rest of their lives.

With paedophilia and homosexuality intertwined, the notion of consenting adults gets distorted. For, in practice, adults who were damaged when young are often involved; people who were vulnerable and unable to resist or speak out.

Catholic Church insiders who seriously question the system are swiftly and ruthlessly dealt with.
It is paradoxical. The Catholic Church, which is among the most rigid objectors, is in practice also a leading breeder of paedophiles and same sex partners.

A few weeks back, the UN challenged the Vatican on its horrendous record regarding the sexual abuse of children. Even under a relatively more compassionate chief, Pope Francis, the Vatican response was not much better than the old hypocrisy. Can the Draconian law hero, David Bahati, or Uganda’s Ethics minister, Fr Lokodo, and President Museveni launch an offensive in this cloistered minefield?

Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator