Andrew Sullivan Tagged for Rampant Falsehoods About Catholic Church, Pope

[HT: Thomas Peters, American Papist at] Following a debate the other night with Maggie Gallagher on the topic of gay "marriage," pundit Andrew Sullivan has been cited for airing a number of falsehoods and lies about the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict.

1. The most egregious and malicious falsehood in the debate from the openly gay Sullivan was his claim that Pope Benedict, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, opined in 1986 that homosexuals "deserve violence" given their "desire to change society."

In fact, in his 1986 letter "On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons," then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote the complete opposite of what Sullivan claims:

10. It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs.

Sullivan said he was "paraphrasing" what the Cardinal wrote, but, even so, Sullivan unequivocally deceived the audience. By the way, Ratzinger's 1986 letter is an excellent resource to direct to that friend or colleague at work who claims that the Church is "anti-gay." Check it out.

2. Sullivan also falsely claimed, "The current pope, knowing that a child under his auspices had been raped by a priest under his authority, covered it up and sent that rapist to go rape other children."

Sullivan is way off base on this one, too. Sullivan refers to a case in the early 1980's regarding a priest in Munich, Peter Hullermann. The New York Times flimsily trumpeted the case last spring. Needless to say, Cardinal Ratzinger did not "cover up" anything, nor did he "[send] that rapist to go rape other children." As Philip Lawler at has shown, other Church officials assigned Father Hullermann "7 months after Cardinal Ratzinger resigned his post as Archbishop of Munich, having taken up his new responsibilities as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [at the Vatican]." There is no evidence whatsoever that Cardinal Ratzinger was aware of Hullermann's assignment.

American Papist/Thomas Peters has more (1, 2), and Kathleen Gilbert at has an excellent write-up of the debate as well.

The debate took place Wednesday night (12/8/10) at Georgetown University. A shady group called "Catholics for Equality" has been connected to the event. Though they claim the term in their title, they are anything but "Catholic." Archbishop Donald Cardinal Wuerl of Washington D.C. has slammed the organization by saying that it is "not a Catholic organization" and that it "was formed in opposition to Catholic teaching."