The general secretary of the Catholic bishops' conference of England and Wales issued the following statement this morning in response to Cardinal Bertone's attempt to link sex abuse of minors to homosexuality:
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.
The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have adopted policies which ensure that all candidates for the priesthood undergo a thorough psychological screening. All candidates for the priesthood and diaconate are required to demonstrate the capacity for mature relationships and a fully integrated sexuality appropriate to their celibate or married way of life.
Rev Fr Marcus Stock
General Secretary, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Meanwhile, the Vatican's spokesman Fr Lombardi has put out the following statement:
Church authorities do not consider it their responsibility to make general statements of a specifically physiological or medical character, which is why they naturally refer back to experts study and ongoing research on the subject. With regards the ecclesiastical authorities competence, in the area of the causes of abuse of minors by priests in recent years addressed by the Congregation for the Doctrine the Faith, the statistical data was reported in the interview by Mgr. Scicluna, according to which about 10% of cases were paedophilia in the strict sense, while 90% were cases of ephebophilia (ie towards adolescents). Of these approximately 60% referred to individuals of the same sex and 30% of heterosexual character. We refer here of course to the problem of abuse by priests and not in the general population.
I've written about Bertone's imprudence in the Guardian here.