Wills on the “Murderous” Catholic Church

A church that doesn’t provoke any crisis, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a Word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, what kind of gospel is that? Preachers who avoid every thorny matter so as not to be harassed do not light up the world!
- Archbishop Oscar Romero

Garry Wills – (Staggeringly Inarticulate Author, What Jesus Meant, Viking Press 2006): There is…a message of life and love in the New Testament. Little of that comes out of Rome now. People are dying of AIDS all around the world now especially in places like Africa and Indonesia now, when the Pope refuses to allow people to have contraception, he’s killing them. He’s responsible for murder. This is hardly a gospel of life and love.

Interviewer: You say that Pope Benedict is responsible for murder?

Garry Wills: Sure, sure. More people are more resentful and hateful toward the Catholic Church because of that than because of the sexual molestation problem…sexual molesters are terrible it’s…you know here in Boston, but for the most part, not always, but for the most part they didn’t kill people. This is killing people on a grand scale, and it’s a horrendous scandal, much greater than any sexual molestation scandal.


I’ve always found it interesting that people who have no intention of following church teaching on chastity will DEMAND that the church change its teaching on condoms. It’s not like they’re actually paying attention to anything the church is saying, and clearly it is a ruse. Gay men are not carousing in bath houses or at the meat racks of Fire Island while thinking…”wait…the Catholic church says Condoms are Bad, and I don’t want to be separate from the church, so I guess I’ll just have to chance it and go bareback, because there is no way I’m not partying tonight!!

– The Anchoress June ’05

One finishes this occasionally illuminating book wondering whether its author is ever going to drop his tiresome pose as a suburban Poverello and take a course in elementary logic. – Edward Oakes, reviewing Wills’ book

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Sigmund Carl and Alfred

    You know, sexual abuse by teachers in the public schools are a far greater problem- and that is an indisputable fact.

    That Garry Wills has to mention the church molestation tragedies, is nothing more than an attempt to put Catholics on the defensive. Apparently, he cannot rely on the merits of his arguments alone.

    The Catholic Church is an institution. No institutuions are perfect- none, not even gay or liberal ones. All organizations, when in the wrong, need to be called on that wrong and to rectify the situation.

    When those institutions that so ferociously attack the Church (among others) and supporters of the church in an attempt to nullify the church because of pall things and people religious.roblems, it’s time to step up and put that fire out.

    When those critics feed and care for millions, every day, then and only then will critics have a moral equality.

    Human rights are about a lot more than the veneration of genitalia or hatred of all things and people religious because they don’t share your point of view.

  • Sigmund Carl and Alfred

    Man, I really need to edit before I hit ‘enter.’

  • Myssi

    I will *never* understand the concept of saying to an adolescent “I believe it is wrong to have sex outside of marriage, but I don’t believe you can keep yourself from it, so here’s a condom/a pack of birth control pills/an IUD.” The message my children get from me instead (well, my 12 yo anyway, the boys will get their turn later) is “God expects sexual purity of you. Give it to Him because He gave His Son for you.” I know my kids are going to make mistakes as they grow into adulthood, but I hope I can help them avoid the biggest ones by not telling them that there is a “safe” way live outside God’s will. Another way I explained it to my daughter is that God will forgive you of sin that you ask Him to, but He won’t change creation for you and that means you’ll still have to live with the consequences of your sin. So, if you choose to steal, you will end up in juvenile court if you get caught. If you choose sex outside marriage, you will end up dealing with the myriad consequences of that, one of which is STDs even if you use a condom. Why should the Church (Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, or any other denomination) not teach that just because it would be easier to give in to our sinful human nature? The point is to strive to imitate God’s holiness, isn’t it?

  • Ellen

    So according to Gary Wills – men in Africa and Asia, most of whom aren’t even Christian, are saying to themselves as they go out “Well the Catholic Church says that using condoms is wrong, so I won’t.” Then they get STDs and AIDS and it’s all the pope’s fault. Makes perfect sense.

  • Jean

    What irks me more than anything (and yes, prepare for a rant) is that people like Garry Wills seem to think that our Indian and African brothers and sisters in Christ have no self-control, that people of their culture (or dare I say it their racial group) cannot be chaste or monogamous, and therefore other steps must be taken? Wills is not alone in this. I am so tired of the idea that all Indian and African problems may be solved through contraception and reduction in population. It ignores economic and political problems beyond that scope.