Monday May 3, 2010
Gay Anglican Bishop Lectures Pope on Abuse Scandal
By James Tillman
May 3, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Bishop Gene Robinson, the openly gay Episcopal bishop whose 2003 ordination threatened to tear apart the Global Anglican Communion, has published an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI, in which he advises the pope how to reform the Church and denies any connection between homosexuality and the sex abuse crisis.
In his letter Robinson recalls how the Episcopal Church became aware of the sexual abuse of minors in its ranks twenty years ago in the United States, and relates in detail how his Church dealt with the problem. “Rather than refusing to acknowledge our transgressions,” he says, “we sought to change our church’s culture.”
Nevertheless, he also says, “I would not presume to instruct you. That would be arrogant. Nor would I impose upon you advice you’ve not sought.”
Robinson commends the pope’s letter to the faithful in Ireland and his meeting with victims of abuse in Malta as “a good start.” But he also goes on to make the more controversial point that it is merely a “thoroughly debunked myth” that connects homosexuality with pedophilia and child abuse.
“I believe it is misguided and wrong for gay men to be scapegoated in this scandal,” he says. “In the media, representatives of and advocates for the Roman Catholic Church have laid blame for sexual abuse at the feet of gay priests.”
Robinson’s remarks were most likely directed at Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of the Vatican, who had stated earlier this year that, “Many psychologists, many psychiatrists, have demonstrated that there is no relationship between celibacy and pedophilia.”
“But many others have demonstrated, and have told me recently, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia,” he continued. “That is the truth, this is the problem.” Bertone’s contentions appear to be supported by the fact that studies of clerical sex abuse have found that the vast majority of such abuse is homosexual in nature.
According to the John Jay Report, a report commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and issued in 2004, 81% of the victims of priestly sexual abuse were male. A 2002 study conducted by USA Today in 2002 similarly found that 91% of allegations against priests involved male victims.
One step that the Church has taken in addressing the abuse crisis has been to reiterate the requirement that men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies must not be admitted to the seminary or the priesthood.
The cardinal’s remarks have also sparked a re-analysis of the data in reference to homosexuality and pedophilia. A lengthy paper issued last month by Brian Clowes of Human Life International cites multiple studies showing that homosexuality is far higher among pedophiles than among the rest of the population. “Celibacy is not the root of the problem,” Clowes claims. “Homosexuality is.”
Robinson, however, says that “every reputable scientific study shows that homosexuals are no more or less likely to be child-abusers than heterosexuals. Psychologically healthy homosexual men are no more drawn to little boys than psychologically heterosexual men are drawn to little girls.”
He also takes direct aim at Church requirements barring homosexuals from the priesthood. “Homosexual priests have faithfully and responsibly served God throughout Catholic history,” he says. “To scapegoat them and deprive them of their pulpits is a tragedy for the people they serve and for the church. Yours is a problem of abuse, not sexual orientation.”
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