A senior Vatican official’s comments linking homosexuality with paedophilia have brought a wave of indignation worldwide. Gay rights activists and politicians have condemned Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone for his interpretation of the Catholic church’s child sex abuse scandals, largely cases of priests molesting mainly boys. Speaking during a visit to Chile, the Vatican Secretary of State and number two to the Pope laid the blame on gay sexuality not celibacy.
“Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and pedophilia”, said Cardinal Bertone. “But many others have shown, and I have been told recently, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is the truth, I read it in a document written by psychologists, so that is the problem.”
The Vatican did not mention the Cardinal’s comments in its official report on the press conference. Gay rights groups accused him of trying to shift attention away from crimes against children and onto homosexuality.
“Paedophilia is a crime, and it is also one of the most hideous crimes we know”, said Daniele Stoppello, lawyer for the homosexual rights group Arcigay. “So I believe all efforts should be directed not at releasing statements which are neither useful nor solve the problem, but at driving out pedophiles and bringing them to justice.”
Cardinal Bertone’s comments came as the Vatican continued trying to limit the damage done by the sex abuse scandals. It has defended its handling of them as exemplary, and has published guidelines on how to deal with new cases.