Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By

4/16/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic News Agency (www.catholicnewsagency.com)

"Cardinal Bertone's comments are supported completely by the John Jay study report and by clinical experience," Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons told CNA. "In fact, every priest whom I treated who was involved with children sexually had previously been involved in adult homosexual relationships."

Dr. Fitzgibbons and Cardinal Bertone

Dr. Fitzgibbons and Cardinal Bertone

Article Highlights

By

Catholic News Agency (www.catholicnewsagency.com)

4/16/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in U.S.


WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. (CNA/EWTN News) - Following Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone's comments in Chile about a link existing between homosexuality and pedophilia in cases of clerical sexual abuse, both Church officials and secular figures clarified his statement. But Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist with experience treating sexually abusive priests, told CNA that the cardinal's statement is accurate.

At a press conference last Monday evening at the Pontifical Seminary of Santiago, Chile, the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said, "Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and pedophilia." Instead, they have found a "relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia," he added.

Many gay rights organizations reacted vehemently to Cardinal Bertone's statement, leading Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press office, to assert that "it obviously refers to the problem of abuse by priests and not in the population in general."

A statement from the French Foreign Ministry calling the linkage "unacceptable" was followed by a statement by Fr. Marcus Stock, the General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. "To the best of my knowledge, there is no empirical data which concludes that sexual orientation is connected to child sexual abuse," he said.

"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,'" Fr. Stock added.

However, a U.S. psychiatrist with experience in treating priests with pedophilia disagrees that there is no link between homosexuality and sexual abuse of children. "Cardinal Bertone's comments are supported completely by the John Jay study report and by clinical experience," Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons told CNA. "In fact, every priest whom I treated who was involved with children sexually had previously been involved in adult homosexual relationships."

Fitzgibbons, who has been the director of Comprehensive Counseling Center in West Conshohocken, Penn. since 1988, has worked extensively with individuals suffering from same sex attraction (SSA) and priests accused of pedophilia. He also presently serves as a consultant to the Congregation for the Clergy at the Holy See.

In his 2002 "Letter to Catholic Bishops," Fitzgibbons identified priests prone to sexual abuse as having suffered "profound emotional pain" during childhood due to loneliness, problems in their relationships with their fathers, rejection by their peers, lack of male confidence, and poor self image or body image. Fitzgibbons said that these experiences lead priests especially to direct their sadness and anger towards the Church, her teachings on sexual morality, and the Magisterium.

He also noted that priests who have engaged in sexual misconduct with minors suffer from a "denial of sin in their lives." "They consistently refused to examine their consciences, to accept the Church's teachings on moral issues as a guide for their personal actions, or regularly avail themselves of the sacrament of reconciliation. These priests either refused to seek spiritual direction or choose (sic) a spiritual director or confessor who openly rebelled against Church teachings on sexuality," the letter said.

When asked what sort of new information has become available since the publication of the letter, Fitzgibbons put an emphasis on narcissism. "This epidemic personality weakness in the west predisposes individuals to excessive anger, the worship of self, rebelliousness against God and His Church particularly in regard to sexual morality and sexual acting-out," he said.

The psychiatrist also reviewed the findings of the John Jay researchers, who reported that 81percent of the victims of clerical sexual abuse were male of those makes who were abused, 51 percent of whom were age 11-14, 27 percent were aged 15-17, 16 percent between 8-10, and 6 percent were under 7 years of age, emphasized Fitzgibbons.

For priests who do suffer from SSA, "I would recommend that they become more knowledgeable about the emotional origins and healing of same-sex attractions, as well as the serious medical and psychiatric illnesses associated with homosexuality," advised Fitzgibbons. "We have observed many priests grow in holiness and in happiness in their ministry as a result of the healing of their childhood and adolescent male insecurity, loneliness and anger and, subsequently, their same-sex attractions."

Because of the link between homosexuality and clerical sexual abusementioned by Cardinal Bertone, men with same sex attraction have a solemn responsibility to seek help and to protect the Church from further shame and sorrow, said Fitzgibbons. 

---

Founded in continued response to Pope John Paul II’s call for a “New Evangelization,” the Catholic News Agency (CNA) has been, since 2004, one of the fastest growing Catholic news providers to the English speaking world.



Comments


More U.S.

Sharia, go home! Billy Graham's son says. What did he mean? Watch

Image of The Reverend Franklin Graham, the overseer of the international Christian aid group Samaritan's Purse, added that Sharia law is the law of Islam, which governs public life as well as private life.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Reverend Franklin Graham, the son of legendary Christian evangelist Billy Graham has never been one to conceal his opinions. "We should be afraid of sharia law" in America, and Muslims here who want to practice sharia should go back to where they came from, "to ... continue reading


Live the Easter Way! The Holy Spirit which Transformed the Early Church Enlists Us! Watch

Image of Candle by candle, the light of the Resurrection illuminates the world around us as He who is the Light of the World fills it with His radiance.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I just watched Pope Francis preside at the Easter Vigil at the Basilica of St Peter. His homily on encountering Jesus and finding our own Galilee was beautiful. Now, I am about to depart for the Easter Vigil at my parish in Chesapeake, Virginia. I will greet the ... continue reading


Suffering, Struggle and the Christian Revolution Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Christian tradition instructs us that even undeserved and unmerited suffering, when joined in love to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, can produce extraordinary fruit within us - and then through us, as we change. This is a part of the teaching on the mystery ... continue reading


Holy Saturday: God has Died in the Flesh and Hell Trembles with Fear Watch

Image of Holy Saturday Byzantine Icon. This is a day which presents to those who approach it in contemplation, an opportunity to probe the mystery of life and death. It is a day to enter into the deeper mysteries of the faith with the millions and millions of those who have gone before us.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all ... continue reading


The Birth of Catholic Evangelism Watch

Image of I recently interviewed Jeff Cavins  for my weekly show  on Ave Maria Radio.  Jeff, who is nationally known for his study guides to the Bible, has just taken a job as Director of Evangelism at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.  It's a significant point in this nation's Church history that an apologist/educator with EWTN origins has taken a significant job inside an archdiocese.

By Deal W. Hudson

In spite of being ignored, and in some cases blacklisted, several of the hosts of EWTN radio and TV shows grew ministries of their own in the evangelistic Catholic style of Mother Angelica's still-prospering network. Jeff Cavins is one of the most successful of ... continue reading


Good Friday: Behold the Wood of the Cross Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This is Good Friday. This is the day when the whole world stands still. We recall the great Sacrifice offered on the second tree on Golgotha's Hill. There, the one St. Paul calls the New Adam (1 Cor.15), in the perfect obedience of love, did for us  what we ... continue reading


Finally Justice! Small town city manager gets 12 years in jail on corruption charges Watch

Image of Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo's party came crashing down when it was revealed in 2010 that Rizzo was giving himself an annual salary and benefits package of $1.5 million.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bell, California is a small town with less than 36,000 people. That didn't stop City Manager Robert Rizzo, along with his friends, from awarding themselves hefty raises and drawing yearly salaries as high as $1.5 million. It was fun while it lasted - now Rizzo ... continue reading


FORCED BESTIALITY: Evil teenage girls sexually assault autistic boy - and record it for posterity Watch

Image of Seventeen-year-old Lauren Bush along with her 15-year-old accomplice are accused by the St. Mary's County sheriff's department on numerous charges.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an episode shocking for its sheer cruelty, two teenage girls in Maryland are now in custody after they repeatedly abused a 16-year-old autistic boy - eventually making him perform sexual acts with a family pet - and recording it all on their cell phones. LOS ... continue reading


HOW LONG BEFORE THE SYSTEM BREAKS? Working Americans increasingly made to pay for those on welfare Watch

Image of Those who work in America are increasingly being made to pay for those who don't -- in the manner of an over-burdened ox.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're an American who awakes each day to begin a day of toil you have no interest in, take heed: There are only more reasons to hit your pillow in frustration each night as you drift off to sleep. You are an endangered species, and the media has not rallied ... continue reading


Ron Paul warns Feds may stage 'Waco styled' raid Watch

Image of Cliven Bundy has been fighting with the Bureau of Land Management for 20 years over his cattle and grazing rights.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While Cliven Bundy, his family, their supporters, and myriad militiamen forced federal agents from the Bureau of Land Management to back off of the Bundy's Nevada ranch and release hundreds of captured cattle, one politician warns that the feds could be planning ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 2:14, 22-32
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
1 [In a quiet voice Of David] Protect me, O God, in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 28:8-15
8 Filled with awe and great joy the women came ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 21st, 2014 Image

St. Anselm
April 21: St. Anselm Archbishop of Canterbury and Confessor APRIL 21,A.D. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter