Vatican criticized for cardinal's claim of homosexuality and pedophilia link

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Vatican prime minister who made comments Monday linking homosexuality to paedophilia has been severely criticized by gay rights activists around the world.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Image: Wulfstan.
...many others have shown, I have recently been told, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia

—Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone

The official, Holy See 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 president of Italy's largest such group, Arcigay, Paolo Patané, says "The equation between homosexuality and paedophilia is a false, despicable and anti-scientific statement that affects the lives and dignity of millions of gay and lesbian people. It confirms the cynicism and cruelty of the Vatican hierarchies, which have covered sex crimes committed by members of the church for years throughout the world against thousands of innocent boys and girls". Gaylib, a conservative gay group, condemned the statement, 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 president of Chilean gay rights group, Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation in Chile, Rolando Jiménez, said that the statement was "a perverse strategy by the Vatican to shirk its own ethical and legal responsibility by making a spurious and disgusting connection."

[Bertone is] clumsily trying to shift attention to homosexuality and away from the focus on new crimes against children that emerge every day

—Aurelio Mancuso, former president of an Italian gay rights group

The cardinal's statements are not the first time the Catholic Church has made allegations of a link between homosexuality and paedophilia. 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 paedophilia.