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'No data links homosexuality to child abuse'

Fr Marcus Stock

Fr Marcus Stock

Following controversial remarks by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone in which he linked homosexuality with paedophilia, the General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has issued a statement asserting he does not know of any data showing a connection between sexual orientation and child sexual abuse.

On a visit to Santiago, Chile on Monday, Cardinal Bertone told a news conference: "Many psychologists, many psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relationship between celibacy and paedophilia but many others have demonstrated, I was told recently, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and paedophilia. That is true. I have the documents of the psychologists. That is the problem."

Without reference to the Cardinal's comments, Rev Fr Marcus Stock, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales said in a statement today: "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."

Source: CCN/ICN