SANTIAGO It is homosexuality, not celibacy, that is linked to pedophilia, the Vatican's Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said on Monday, seeking to defuse the sex scandal that has battered the Roman Catholic Church.
On a visit to Chile, Bertone, dubbed the Deputy Pope, also said Pope Benedict would soon take more surprising initiatives regarding the sex abuse scandal but did not elaborate.
"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."
Bertone's visit to Chile comes as the Catholic Church has been buffeted by scandals concerning sexual abuse of children -- most of them boys -- by priests. There also have been allegations of cover-ups and even that the Pope mishandled cases when he was a bishop in Germany and a Vatican official before his election in 2005.
(Reporting by Juana Casas; Writing by Simon Gardner; Editing by Bill Trott)