Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone

Despite attempts at damage control, there’s growing outrage over a statement by a senior Vatican priest that homosexuality is linked to paedophilia in the Catholic Church.

On Wednesday, the Vatican attempted to clarify the recent comment by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, who asserted “that there is a relationship between homosexuality and paedophilia.”

The Church said that although Bertone’s remarks did not represent its official view, according to statistics on the child abuse cases it was aware of “approximately 60% referred to individuals of the same sex and 30% of heterosexual character.”

However, in a surprising move, the Catholic Church in England and Wales contradicted the Vatican. Father Marcus Stock, the general secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said in a statement:

“To the best of my knowledge, there is no empirical data which concludes that sexual orientation is connected to child sexual abuse. The consensus among researchers is that the sexual abuse of children is not a question of sexual ‘orientation’, whether heterosexual or homosexual, but of a disordered attraction or ‘fixation’.

“Many abusers of children have never developed the capacity for mature adult relationships. Instead, their sexual attractions focus on children – boys, girls, or both. In the sexual abuse of children the issue is the sexual fixation of the abusers, and not their sexual orientation.”

France was the first country to slam the Cardinal’s statement: “This is an unacceptable linkage and we condemn this,” said foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero.

“Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is a blatant distorter of the truth and an outrageous homophobe. His vile smears against gay people bring shame and dishonour to the church,” added British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell in a statement, which described that Vatican as “morally bankrupt.”

He went on to say: “The truth is that priests and bishops abused girls and boys alike. There is absolutely no connection whatsoever between paedophilia and loving, consenting adult gay relationships. It shows the depths of dishonesty and homophobia that infects the Vatican at the highest level.

“The Vatican and its clergy are responsible for child sex abuse, the cover-up and the protection of paedophile priests. Yet it is trying to blame everyone else.”

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