Gee the Vatican can't help but stir up the very waters it's trying so desperately to calm. First they compared criticism of RC kid-diddling to anti-semitism. Then it was dismissed as "petty gossip." Then some retired RC nutjob blamed the criticism on a Zionist plot.
Today the pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone risked jumped into the pool by claiming that paedophilia was linked to homosexuality and had nothing to do with the Vatican's doctrine of celibacy:
"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 paedophilia," he told a news conference in Santiago.
It does appear, however, that pope Benny is feeling the heat. He's now issued directions to Bishops to report kid-diddling to the police. From The Guardian:
The short set of rules, published online in English, is an attempt to satisfy critics who have accused the Catholic church of covering up some of the dozens of abuse cases coming to light in the US and Europe. "Civil law concerning reporting of crimes to the appropriate authorities should always be followed," it states.
Francis X Rocca, Vatican correspondent for Religion News Service, said: "This is a new and notable public emphasis on the need to follow local laws."
The Vatican daily L'Osservatore Romano described the rules as part of a "transparency drive" adopted by the Vatican. The document, it added, was based on the Motu Proprio, the 2001 Vatican ruling which ordered bishops to forward abuse cases to Rome.
But one Vatican expert said the 2001 document gave no specific instructions on reporting to the police. "There is no similar sentence in the Motu Proprio," said John Allen, senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. "The Vatican may say these guidelines make explicit what was always understood but the truth is that for years abuse was not reported to the police."
In Ireland, bishops reportedly understood the 2001 rules to mean they should not tell police about abuse.