Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pope's #2 Under Fire for Blaming Sex Abuse of Children on Homosexual "Pathology"

MSNBC has posted a Reuters article reporting that gay rights groups, the French Foreign Ministry and even some pro-Vatican Catholic blogs have denounced Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone for repeating the universally discredited canard that gay priests and nuns are to blame for the church's sex abuse of children.

As noted here last November, such scape-goating has even been rejected by researchers studying the U.S. sex abuse scandal on behalf of the U.S. Catholic bishops.

Excerpts from the MSNBC posting follow:

Gay groups and politicians condemned Pope Benedict's number two on Wednesday for calling homosexuality a "pathology" and linking it directly to sexual abuse of children.

The comments made by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone during a visit to Chile, and the controversy they caused, were splashed on mainstream Italian newspapers on Wednesday.

The French foreign ministry and some Catholic blogs that support the pope also condemned the cardinal's remarks.

Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, who is sometimes called the "deputy pope," told a news conference in Santiago on Monday:

"Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and pedophilia, but many others have shown, I have recently been told, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia.

"This pathology is one that touches all categories of people, and priests to a lesser degree in percentage terms," he said. "The behavior of the priests in this case, the negative behavior, is very serious, is scandalous."

Gay rights activists reacted with derision and outrage.

"This is a scientific absurdity. The World Health Organization calls homosexuality a variation of human behavior. It is pedophilia that is a pathology, a crime, not homosexuality," said Franco Grillini, a former parliamentarian who was at the vanguard of Italy's gay rights movement.

"Because they have their own problems with the abuse crisis and don't know how to handle it, they are trying to pass their 'cross' from their shoulders on to ours," Grillini told Reuters.

The French foreign ministry called it an "unacceptable linkage that we condemn."

Some pro-Vatican Catholic blogs said more controversy was the last thing the Vatican needed.

"Pedophilia and homosexuality: Bertone trips up — again — on gays," read a post in the Italian-language "Blog of the Friends of Pope Ratzinger."

A front-page editorial in Rome's left-leaning La Repubblica newspaper titled "The Confusion in the Church" said Bertone's comments would end up causing the Church more "harm to itself, not homosexuals."

Bertone was also criticized by Alessandra Mussolini, a right-wing parliamentarian whose grandfather, wartime Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, sent gays into internal exile.

"You can't link sexual orientation to pedophilia ... this link risks becoming dangerously misleading for the protection of children," Mussolini said.

ArciLesbica, Italy's main lesbian rights group, accused the Vatican of using "violent and deceptive statements" to divert attention from its abuse scandal and said Italian parents should consider removing their children from Church-run institutions.

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