The number two in the Vatican hierarchy, the Pope’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, claims there is a link between homosexuality and child sex abuse.

“He has, in effect, blamed gay priests for the paedophile scandal that has engulfed the Church,” said human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, who is a spokesperson for the UK ‘Protest the Pope’ campaign.

See the story about the Cardinal’s comments here:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/latinamerica/6955641.html

“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,” added Mr Tatchell.

“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.

“More recently, the Vatican accused the media of waging an anti-Catholic campaign. It compared criticism of the Pope to the Nazi persecution of the Jews. These are insulting lies and nonsense,” said Mr Tatchell.

Peter Tatchell’s petition to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, against the Pope’s State Visit to Britain in September, is on the Downing Street website.

It already has over 12,000 signatures:

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/ProtestthePope/

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