Regard must be had to the higher standard of conduct expected from public officials, and the number of falsehoods that have been put forward by the Public Protector in the course of the litigation. This conduct included the numerous “misstatements”, like misrepresenting, under oath, her reliance on evidence of economic experts in drawing up the report, failing to provide a complete record, ordered and indexed, so that the contents thereof could be determined, failing to disclose material meetings and then obfuscating the reasons for them and the reasons why they had not been previously disclosed, and generally failing to provide the court with a frank and candid account of her conduct in preparing the report. The punitive aspect of the costs order therefore stands.
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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