Friday, April 23, 2010


J wrote "I notice you've been silent about the recent pronouncement by an influential cardinal that paedophilia in the church is caused by homosexuals. Is there any wonder why organized religion is held in such contempt?"

First the New York Times:

April 14, 2010

Comments by Cardinal on Sexuality Create a Stir

ROME — Tensions rose on Wednesday over comments made Monday by the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who called homosexuality “a pathology” and linked it to pedophilia. The comments came as the Vatican was trying to calm a scandal over sexual abuse by priests.

Gay rights and victims’ groups protested the comments — and on Wednesday even the French government weighed in, calling the remarks by Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican’s second in command, “an unacceptable conflation, and one that we condemn.”

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, quickly distanced the Vatican from the remarks. “Church authorities do not have the competency to make general statements about medical or psychological issues, which we, of course, refer to specialists,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

“He was evidently speaking about abuse on the part of priests and not in the general population,” he added.

The comments, raising for the first time the touchy issue of homosexuality amid the sexual abuse scandal, once again spoke to the Vatican’s continued difficulties in effectively tackling the crisis. In suggesting a link between sexual abuse and homosexuality, Cardinal Bertone stirred up the waters rather than calming them. And even as he distanced the Vatican from those remarks, Father Lombardi answers directly to Cardinal Bertone, further evidence of the Vatican’s less-than-orchestrated message.

The issue is even more charged because Pope Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in 1986 wrote the document presenting the Vatican’s most recent stance condemning homosexuality, which determined that it was “not a sin” but “a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil,” and thus “an objective disorder.”

On a visit to Chile on Monday, Cardinal Bertone said that “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,” according to news reports.

“This pathology is one that touches all categories of people, and priests to a lesser degree in percentage terms,” he added, speaking in Spanish at a news conference. “The behavior of the priests in this case, the negative behavior, is very serious, is scandalous.”

On Wednesday, Bernard Valero, the spokesman for the French foreign minister, condemned Cardinal Bertone’s remarks at a news conference in Paris.

“France reiterates its resolute commitment to fighting discrimination and prejudice linked to sexual orientation and gender identity,” he added.

Some in Italy also criticized the remarks. Franco Grillini, a veteran gay activist, called the link “a huge lie,” the ANSA news agency reported. A front-page editorial in the center-left daily La Repubblica said, “It seems very strange to us that a man of the church doesn’t realize how far beyond the pale it is to link homosexuality to pedophilia.”

In distancing the Vatican from Cardinal Bertone’s remarks, Father Lombardi on Wednesday referred to statistics cited by the Vatican’s internal prosecutor, Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, who has said that of the 3,000 abuse cases handled in the past decade by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 60 percent involved priests attracted to adolescent boys; 30 percent involved heterosexual relations; and 10 percent concerned pedophilia, or sexual attraction toward prepubescent children.

Beyond a letter to Irish Catholics on March 20, the pope has not yet directly addressed the growing sexual abuse scandal, and pressure is growing. The crisis has raised questions about Benedict’s actions as archbishop of Munich in 1980 when a pedophile priest was moved to his diocese, and as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he is accused of failing to take strong action to punish pedophile priests in several high-profile cases.

In an interview in the German newspaper Bild on Tuesday, Benedict’s personal secretary, Msgr. Georg Gänswein, defended the pope.

“It does not make sense, nor is it helpful, for the Holy Father to comment personally on each case,” the monsignor said. “It is overlooked too fast that here the individual bishops and bishops conferences also carry responsibility.”

Maïa de la Baume contributed reporting from Paris, and Victor Homola from Berlin.


OK, J, I didn't bother to make any notice of this because it is all so dumb.. . but unfortunately what Bertone said upset many. . .and justly so because of this so-called "influential prelate" is just plain in error. . .aka ignorant of what he's flapping about! This man is the Vatican Secretary of State, just as Hilary Clinton is Secretary of State for the USA. Quelle difference!

I am glad to see the official Vatican spokesperson Father Lombardi distancing the Church from Cardinal Bertone's remarks, for what Bertone says is contrary to the official position of the Roman Church, as the NYTimes article here tells.

I am a 21 year old university student. a Catholic, and I would never make such stupid statements. I know better. Why doesn't he?

His line of chatter is not new but no one shuts him up. . . a few years back he publicly stated that a gay man could not be validly ordained because his sexual orientation made him an unfit candidate for priesthood. The then Vatican spokesman Navarro-Vals, a Spanish psychiatrist (!!!) said the same thing. Neither man was corrected for these false statements. . . .yet some of the most brilliant theological minds have been silenced by the Vatican.

I remember this so well because this was discussed in our psychology class at the time.

I think it is unfortunate that any religion is held in contempt because of the ignorance of one or several of its members. However, it happens. . . .



Gary Kelly said...

Yes, it does happen.

J said...

Well, Justin, I know how much your faith is a part of your life, and how hurtful it is to you that some in your church seem to forget the meaning of Jesus' message when it comes to the fact that sexual preference is something we are born with. I can only hope that one day the Roman Catholic Church will achieve the level of decency you have exhibited in your writings.

Jabacue said...

I try my hardest to keep my contempt at bay but often find myself getting very upset with the church and it's views on not just gays but also other issues.
Justin, the church is fortunate to have you as a member. Maybe it will be through individuals like yourself, young and intelligent, that the church will change and adapt to the 21st century.

JustinO'Shea said...

J and Jabacue. . . thank you both for your compliments! I try. . :-)

Maybe it is sheer stubbornness on my part. . .lol. . "I'll be damned if I am going to allow the likes of you to drive me out of MY church!" followed by an appropriate expletive! hahahahaha