Gay men are no more likely than heterosexual men to molest boys. This is a fact so solidly established that even the US Conference of Bishops has admitted its truth. But the blood libel continues to be repeated, most recently by the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone:
“Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and pedophilia but many others have shown, I have recently been told, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia,” he told a news conference in Santiago.
“This pathology is one that touches all categories of people, and priests to a lesser degree in percentage terms,” he said. “The behavior of the priests in this case, the negative behavior, is very serious, is scandalous.”
Was the “pathology that touches priests to a lesser degree” Bertone referred to homosexuality or pedophilia?
If he meant the former, ew, bigot, but also laughably wrong. Exact numbers are hard to come by for predictable reasons, but it is estimated that anywhere from one in four to one in three Catholic priests self-identify as gay.
If he meant the latter, he’s also wrong. Catholic priests are no more or less likely to rape children than men in any other profession which puts them into contact with children. But prevalence per se has never been Rome’s issue. It’s been the willingness to enable, ignore, or relocate abusers, and the refusal to report them to external authorities or initiate any punishment harsher than strongly worded letters and forced secluded retirements.