Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Catholic aide says gay men commit most paedophilia

There was fresh controversy today over child sex abuse and the Catholic church when an archbishop's aide claimed the majority of paedophilia was being perpetrated by gay men.

Father John Owen, the communications officer for the archdiocese of Cardiff and a Catholic chaplain at Cardiff University, was a guest on BBC1's The Big Questions.

His remarks concerned last Wednesday's publication of the Ryan Inquiry, a 2,565-page report detailing the abuse and rape of children in Ireland's Catholic institutions, and came days after the newly-appointed archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, angered charities by saying it took courage for religious orders and clergy to confront the past.

Asked by the show's presenter, Nicky Campbell, whether the church cared more about its own reputation than the welfare of children, Owen replied: "These matters are so ghastly that people don't want to look at them, they can't believe these things are taking place within the orbit of a Christian church, perversion of Christianity.

"Let me tell you of course before you go too far, most of the offences are being committed by homosexuals."

Despite condemnation from the other panellists, two of whom were sexually abused, the churchman insisted he was stating the facts and told them to "be silent".

He said the "vast majority" of abuse cases in the UK affected teenage boys. "Now what does that tell you? Now that is a fact," he added.

A statement from the archdiocese distanced itself from Owen, saying "his comments seeming to link abuse and homosexuality" did not reflect the "consistent views" of the archdiocese of Cardiff.

Colm O'Gorman, author of Beyond Belief, a book about his own experience of clerical sexual abuse, and who was on the programme, described Owen's comments as "ill-informed, ignorant, corrupt and dishonest". He said: "The church has created a link between homosexual sex and priests who rape and sodomise children. It scapegoats someone else and creates a side issue. It removes the criminal aspect and the rape becomes some sort of consensual adult behaviour."

O'Gorman also expressed concern about the church's understanding of the significance of the issue, saying: "A child protection policy is only as good as the people implementing it."

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Source (GUK)