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Rant and Rave: Cardinal Bertone’s Claims May be Unpopular, But They’re True

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

By Helen Lee

However unpopular, Cardinal Bertone’s claims are not completely off the mark.

After being asked about the possible link between celibacy and sexual abuse among priests, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, responded, “Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and pedophilia.” He then added that they had found “a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia.” Cue awkward silence.

Needless to say, Bertone’s remarks are not exactly being received warmly. Bernard Valero, the French Foreign Ministry spokesman, commented that Bertone made an “unacceptable association that we condemn.” But while Cardinal Bertone’s timing might have been a little off (fuel to the fire?), his facts were not.

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Rant and Rave: The Vatican’s sex abuse scandal

Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, pictured above at St. John's School for The Deaf in Wisconsin (1960), was not defrocked for molesting as many as 200 deaf boys from 1950-1974. (Picture courtesy of the New York Times)

The Vatican has been under recent fire for its role in covering up cases of sex abuse. Last weekend, after a great deal of silence, Pope Benedict released a statement of apology to victims of sexual abuse in Ireland, reprimanding Irish bishops as well.

Yesterday, a New York Times article reported that the Vatican had neglected to defrock a Milwaukee priest who molested 200 boys. As far as the Times is concerned, the Vatican’s highest priority is “protecting the church from scandal.” But even I know that the Vatican is not omniscient. It completely relies on the bishops to keep it informed about suspected cases of abuse.

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