A few months ago, author William Gumede described Zuma as someone with a narcissistic personality disorder — a set of traits defined by Austrian psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut as “including an exaggerated sense of superiority, a lack of self-awareness about the impact of their behaviour and having a disdain for others, who they devalue to validate their own grandiosity”. These people lack empathy, have a distorted sense of reality and are incapable of seeing anything from anyone else’s perspective. Narcissists like Zuma, Gumede argues, can’t accept responsibility and don’t care if they take down entire countries with them. The events at Nkandla, sadly for Zuma, only reinforced that perspective.
During the same-sex marriage court case and at public hearings preceding the adoption of the Civil Union Act, the South African Catholic Church was one of the groups that vehemently opposed the extension of full marriage rights to same-sex couples. The Church in effect argued that the law should not recognise the equal dignity of gay men and lesbians as we are sinners who, if we act on our emotional and sexual desire, are nothing more than perverts.
Now the Pope, the very head of the Catholic Church, has been directly implicated in mishandling the case of a paedophile priest in his former archdiocese of Munich. According to the New York Times, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was copied in on a memo from his deputy in which the priest was transferred to parish duties in Bavaria that brought him into contact with children. As a result of that decision by the then vicar-general, Father Gerhard Gruber, the priest was able to continue abusing boys, for which he was later tried and convicted.
One suspect the authority of the Catholic Church to confidently condemn others who have not abused or exploited anyone but have merely decided to stop living a lie and to follow their hearts, have been fatally compromised. As is often the case, Zapiro captures the hypocrisy of the Pope in a stark visual image.
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