Some Catholic bishops state orientation has no connection to child sexual abuse

In an interesting development today the Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales issued a statement making clear that in England and Wales, the Roman Catholic church recognizes the sexual orientation has nothing to do with pedophilia. Not surprising, but the timing of the statement is interesting.

The statement reads in part:

“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.”

This isn’t terribly surprising in and of itself. It represents the mainstream opinion on the question. But the release today does raise an eyebrow. Because yesterday a high-ranking official of the Roman Catholic Church said just the opposite:

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, made the comments during a news conference Monday in Chile, where one of the church’s highest-profile pedophile cases involves a priest having sex with young girls.

“Many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relation between celibacy and pedophilia. But many others have demonstrated, I have been told recently, that there is a relation between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is true,” said Bertone. “That is the problem.”

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