I watched today the video of Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who linked the church's pedophilia crisis with homosexuality within the church, and found myself shaking my head. Is this a cultural divide? An educational divide? Is it homophobic denial? I am baffled. I have seen no studies backing Bertone's contention. Is he simply uninformed?
Gay groups and others are now condemning Pope Benedict's number two for calling homosexuality a "pathology" and linking it directly to sexual abuse of children. It sounds more like scapegoating than anything else.
He made the comments during a visit to Chile Tuesday, and quickly they have been splashed on Web sites and in papers through Europe and the U.S. The French foreign ministry also condemned the cardinal's remarks.
What we have here is a huge gulf between the thinking of some top church officials - in this case a very important one - and that of most ordinary Catholics and others. This is a very revealing and equally troubling moment.
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Those of us who have followed the wider church story for years have seen this gulf growing. Where we go from here, how the Catholic faithful respond, remains to me a perplexing mystery.