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Is the Catholic Church and the Vatican popes responsible for pedophilia as well as female genital mutilation?

Recently, I had a conversation with my colleague Dr. Zrinzo, who you will remember conversed with me on the subject of “America’s gun culture.” The conversation in fact continued, and the subject of “female genital mutilation” (FGM) came up. This time Dr. Z blamed the three monotheistic religions, particularly the Catholic faith. I thought this edited portion of the conversation would also be of interest and instructive.

Dr. Zrinzo: “Under various guises, the three monotheistic religions promote genital mutilation and other immoral behaviors.”

Dr. Faria: I presume you refer to both male circumcision (MC) and FGM. The latter is a barbaric practice with the external female genitalia excised in part or in toto. It deserves severe condemnation, but it has nothing to do with any of the monotheistic religions. FGM began in the Sudan (c. 800 B.C.), way before the advent of either Christianity or Islam, and the practice is not a requirement of Jewish, Christian, or Moslem women. It is practiced mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to Somalia, as well as Egypt, Iraq and Yemen. It is a brutal and barbaric social, but not religious, practice. As for MC, indeed it was part of Hebrew religion and Talmudic practice, and remains part of the religious sects of Jews, Moslems, and Coptic Christians. MC turns out to be a hygienic practice that reduces the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as AIDS, syphilis, genital wars, and chancroid.

Dr. Zrinzo: “FGM” is ritualistic and finds its roots in gender inequality and sexual repression. Medical MC carries undeniable health benefits in certain settings. As part of religious ritual, it can lead to death of the infant.”

Dr. Faria: Rituals, as far as anthropology is concerned, may be prescribed by tradition, formalism, tribal rules, sacral symbolism and control — but not necessarily religion.

Dr. Zrinzo: “The monotheistic religions are clearly associated with female gender control, sexual repression… Why is the Catholic pope always male and why are women banned from driving in Moslem states, just to name two very minor examples?

Dr. Faria: As to the driving, I don’t know. Women can drive in Turkey and Jordan, which are Moslem countries. As to FGM and the Catholic popes, let’s say that linking a barbaric procedure — i.e., intrinsic to Africa, many matrilineal societies, performed for centuries before European colonization and the advent of Christianity — is frankly a bit far-fetched. In fact, Christian missionaries were the first to object to FGM. Linking this abhorrent practice originating in the matrilineal cultures of the Sudan and the animistic cultures of sub-Saharan Africa to male Catholic popes in the Vatican is frankly preposterous.

The above conversation is a good example of how the Catholic Church is under attack, not only in America but also in Europe, blamed for every sin under the sun by those who believe they are exposing religious abuses, or are out to satisfy their own psychological needs; or plainly, they are following talking points and advancing the cause of the new civil religion, secular humanism, that worships at the altar of the State.

But Dr. Faria, you forget pedophilia in Catholic priests! No I don’t. It is indeed a serious violation of the public trust, and it has been widely condemned, not to mention publicized relentlessly. The incidence of pedophilia is actually lower in priests (at 0.3%, although Pope Francis used the 2% figure as told by his advisors), than in the general male population (4-5%). Yet, we have been led to believe it is an epidemic in the priesthood! Pedophiles seek occupations where they can be close to children, so what about youth councilors? Unlike the clergy, one is astounded to learn it is very difficult to find statistics on those very people who we entrust (and advocate for) our children. Apparently, we are not trusted with that data, and the media is not interested.

No, I’m not Catholic. Never have been. I was brought up Presbyterian. The only time I entered those magnificent bedazzling gothic cathedrals of the Catholic Church was in my travels to Central and South America, Mexico, and Europe — but I can see this concerted attack on the Christian religion, particularly the Catholic Church, as clear as a summer day. As a pillar of Western civilization, the Catholic Church is worth defending with the truth and by responding to the criticisms, analyzing the facts, and placing them in the proper perspective.

Further reading


2. Faria MA. A defense of Western culture and civilization without apologies., November 16, 2014. Available from:

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D. is Associate Editor in Chief and World Affairs Editor of Surgical Neurology International and author of Cuba in Revolution: Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002).

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. Is the Catholic Church and the Vatican popes responsible for pedophilia as well as female genital mutilation?, April 11, 2015. Available from:

Copyright ©2015 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

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