Vatican criticized for cardinal’s claim over child abuse

A senior Vatican official who made comments Monday linking homosexuality to pedophilia has been severely criticized by gay rights activists around the world.

The official, Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said yesterday that instead of celibacy, homosexuality was responsible for recent allegations of child abuse by Catholic priests.

He said, on a televised broadcast in Chile, that “Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and paedophilia but many others have shown, I have recently been told, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and paedophilia.

This pathology is one that touches all categories of people, and priests to a lesser degree in percentage terms.” He also claimed to have documents of scientific studies proving his claims.

His statements were immediately criticized by several gay rights groups in both South America and Europe. The Italian group Gaylib condemned those statements, saying that it was “worrying that the foreign minister of a state that occupies the heart of the Italian capital would use arguments that are considered passé even in the Third World.”

The former president of Italian gay rights group Arcigay, Aurelio Mancuso, claimed that Bertone was “clumsily trying to shift attention to homosexuality and away from the focus on new crimes against children that emerge every day.”

The president of Chilean gay rights group Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation in Chile, Rolando Jiménez, said that the statements were “a perverse strategy by the Vatican to shirk its own ethical and legal responsibility by making a spurious and disgusting connection.”

The cardinal’s statements are not the first time the Catholic Church has had issues with allegations of a link between homosexuality and pedophilia; in 2005, the Vatican prohibited men from becoming priests if they “showed deeply rooted homosexual tendencies.” The move came shortly after a major child abuse scandal in the United States, and the move was seen as implicitly linking homosexuality with pedophilia.

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