Thursday April 15, 2010

English Bishops Attack Cardinal for Comments on Homosexual Priest Crisis

By Hilary White

ROME, April 15, 2010 ( – The Cardinal Secretary of State and number two man in the Vatican, Tarcisio Bertone, is under attack from within and without the Catholic Church, for stating that the clerical abuse crisis is linked to homosexuality in the priesthood.

While visiting Chile, Cardinal Bertone said on Monday that while experts have found no link between priestly celibacy and the abuse of minors, psychologists “have demonstrated, and have told me recently, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia.”

“That is the truth, this is the problem,” he added.

Today, a spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales struck out at the cardinal, saying there is no research showing a connection between homosexuality and abuse of minors.

Fr. Marcus Stock, general secretary to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said, “To the best of my knowledge, there is no empirical data which concludes that sexual orientation is connected to child sexual abuse.

“The consensus among researchers is that the sexual abuse of children is not a question of sexual orientation, whether heterosexual or homosexual, but of a disordered attraction or fixation. Many abusers of children have never developed the capacity for mature adult relationships.”

The Family Research Council (FRC), however, today came to Bertone’s defense, stating that, “While activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two.”

According to the pro-family organization, “About a third of all child sex abuse cases involve men molesting boys – and in one study, 86% of such men identified themselves as homosexual or bisexual. Try as they might, gays and lesbians can’t shrug off the link.” The organization linked to one study of 229 admitted offenders by researchers with the St. Paul Ramsey Medical Center to substantiate their claim.

Bertone’s comments have also touched off a small media flurry of editorials and comments from politicians denouncing the cardinal for drawing a connection between homosexuals in the priesthood and the abuse crisis.

However, in a statement that was widely interpreted in the press as a “distancing” from Bertone’s comments, Fr. Frederico Lombardi, papal spokesman and head of the Vatican’s press office, pointed out that the Vatican’s own statistics show that the great majority of cases from around the world involve “same-sex attraction.”

Lombardi did not address the question of the relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia directly, saying only that, “Church authorities do not consider it within their competency to make general statements of a specifically psychological or medical nature, but refer to research studies undertaken by specialists in these matters.”

He also quoted statistics compiled by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, showing that in fact only 10 per cent of priestly abuse cases can strictly be classified as pedophilia – that is, cases of sexual molestation of pre-pubescent children. Ninety per cent of cases, Lombardi said, “are better defined as Ephebophilia (ie attraction towards adolescents).” Of these, he said, approximately 60 per cent involve “same-sex attraction.”

The comments from the Catholic bishops of England were echoed by Bernard Valero, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of France, who said it is “unacceptable” to link pedophilia and homosexuality.

“France reiterates its commitment in the fight against the discrimination and stigma related to sexual orientation and gender identity,” Valero said.

After Bertone’s press conference, Chilean Senator Patricio Walker, of the Christian Democratic Party, said in a local radio interview, “I would like to know the studies he says he has because for me the declarations he made were very surprising.”

In the far-left magazine Huffington Post, Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin wrote that it is “blaming the wrong people” to tie homosexuals in the priesthood with the abuse crisis.

The cardinal’s comments, Martin said, are “to put it charitably, surprising,” because “being gay does not make one a pedophile.” Fr. Martin cited “the lived experience of emotionally mature and psychologically healthy gay men (and women) who have never, ever abused a child.”

But even Fr. Martin, a long-time apologist for homosexuals in the priesthood, could not completely ignore the statistics, some of which were compiled in 2004 by a report commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, showing that the overwhelming majority of sexual abuse cases by priests have been homosexual in nature.

He admitted, “So, there were clearly some gay priests who were attracted to adolescent boys, and who preyed on them.

“But not the vast majority of gay priests, who never abused anyone. This is a critical point. And this is also where the situation grows more complex.”

Fr. Martin complained that the reason prelates in the Church associate homosexuality with abuse of young people is the lack of “public models of healthy, mature, loving celibate gay priests to rebut that argument.”


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