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Gay Times June 10 - Issue 381


Scapegoats

From 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina, gays have been made scapegoats for the world’s worst problems. Now, as the Vatican claims a link between homosexuality and child abuse, Peter Lloyd asks: why the hell is everything always our fault?

Just when you think the world can’t get any crazier, it does. Last month, the Pope’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, declared scientific proof that a link existed between homosexuality and child sex abuse – despite mass evidence to the contrary.
During a press conference in Chile, Bertone, the second in the Vatican hierarchy, said that: “many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relation between celibacy and paedophilia, but many others have demonstrated that there is a relation between homosexuality and paedophilia. That is true. That is the problem.”
Naturally, the comments sparked anger amongst the gay community. Yet perhaps what we found most alarming – not least offensive – about the latest attack was not the factual inaccuracy that existed at its core, but the psychology rooted behind it.
Much more than just homophobic opinion disguised as religion (which is bad enough), these remarks were part of a shrewd, well-timed, calculated move to deflect attention from the church’s latest scandals: firstly, that a ceremonial usher in the Vatican and a member of an affiliated choir were part of a prostitution ring, and secondly, that a number of children had been abused within the seat of the Roman Catholic church.
Their defence? To play the press at their own game. And, according to human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, we were the diversion.
“He has, in effect, blamed gay priests for the paedophile scandal that has engulfed the Church,” he told GT. “Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is a blatant distorter of the truth and an outrageous homophobe. His vile smears against gay people bring shame and dishonour to the church. The Vatican is trying to deflect attention from the sex crimes of Catholic clergy by blaming gay people. This is really sick.
“The truth is that priests and bishops abused girls and boys alike. There is absolutely no connection whatsoever between paedophilia and loving, consenting adult gay relationships. It shows the depths of dishonesty and homophobia that infects the Vatican at the highest level.
“The Vatican leadership is morally bankrupt and is rightly scorned by all decent Catholics. The Vatican and its clergy are responsible for child sex abuse, the cover-up and the protection of paedophile priests. Yet it is trying to blame everyone else. First, the Vatican attempted to dismiss and hide child sex abuse. Then it tried to silence the victims with pay-offs and threats of excommunication. In 2001, the Pope ordered bishops to observe ‘papal secrecy’ and he ignored paedophile abuse cases that were bought to his attention.

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