As seductive as certain perspectives of international law may appear to those who disagree with the outcome of the interpretative exercise conducted by this Court in the contempt judgment, sight must not be lost of the proper place of international law, especially in respect of an application for rescission. The approach that my Brother adopts may be apposite in the context of an appeal, where a court is enjoined to consider whether the court a quo erred in its interpretation of the law. Although it should be clear by now, I shall repeat it once more: this is not an appeal, for this Court’s orders are not appealable. I am deeply concerned that seeking to rely on articles of the ICCPR as a basis for rescission constitutes nothing more than sophistry.
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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