Homosexuality, pedophilia related: cardinal
Most clerical abuse cases involve attraction to male adolescents, Vatican spokesman confirms
The Vatican secretary of state told reporters in Chile that no serious study has ever shown a connection between celibacy and pedophilia, but many psychologists and psychiatrists believe there is a connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was visiting Chile April 6-12 to participate in events for the country's bicentennial and to demonstrate Pope Benedict XVI's solidarity with victims of a February 27 earthquake, made the remarks to reporters in Santiago.
"Many psychologists and many psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relationship between celibacy and pedophilia, but many others have shown and they told me recently, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia," the cardinal said April 12 after giving the opening talk at a meeting of the Chilean bishops' conference.
Cardinal Bertone told reporters that pedophilia is a pathology that "touches all categories of people," including priests, but "in a lower percentage" than the general population. Still, he said, "it is very serious, it is scandalous" that there are priests who abuse minors.
The cardinal also confirmed that Pope Benedict is reviewing the Church's universal norms for handling accusations of sex abuse against clergy. He gave no details about what revisions would be made.
Asked to comment on about Cardinal Bertone's remarks about pedophilia and homosexuality, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said Church leaders must rely on experts in psychology and medicine to understand the phenomenon of pedophilia.
The only thing Church leaders can say for certain, he said April 14, is what their own statistics tell them about priests who have abused minors and whose cases have been reported to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Father Lombardi said the data released by the doctrinal congregation in March showed that 60 percent of the 3,000 cases handled by the Vatican since 2001 have involved sexual attraction toward male adolescents, 30 percent involved heterosexual relations, and the remaining ten percent were cases of pedophilia, involving an adult sexual preference for pre-pubescent children.
How interesting that the secretary of state, a powerful figure in the Vatican, looks to "many psychologists and psychiatrists" for supposedly reliable information on the alleged link between homosexuality and pedophilia, yet the Church chooses to ignore the opinions of hundreds of thousands of psychiatrists and psychologists, based on scientific research, that homosexuality is not a disorder. It is interesting also that the cardinal claims to have recently spoken to these "many" experts - how many could he have spoken to?