Two prominent cardinals have criticised the Catholic Church for spreading the “plague of the homosexual agenda,” as the Pope prepares for an extraordinary conference to address the clerical sex abuse scandal.
Cardinals Raymond Burke, from the US, and Walter Brandmüller, who is German, published an open letter in the National Catholic Register blaming the sex abuse crisis engulfing the Catholic Church on those in the clergy who have “gone away from the truth of the Gospel.”
“Before the drift in process, it seems that the difficulty is reduced to that of the abuse of minors, a horrible crime, especially when it is perpetrated by a priest, which is, however, only part of a much greater crisis,” reads the letter.
“The plague of the homosexual agenda has been spread within the Church.”
— Cardinals Raymond Burke and Walter Brandmüller
It adds: “The plague of the homosexual agenda has been spread within the Church, promoted by organized networks and protected by a climate of complicity and a conspiracy of silence.”
Bishops must stop spread of “homosexual agenda,” say cardinals
The letter was published on the eve of a planned Vatican summit opening on February 21, set to run until Sunday, meant to address clerical sex abuse.
Burke and Brandmüller are from the traditionalist wing of the Catholic Church, where it has been argued that homosexuality is a primary cause of the clerical sex abuse, and have both previously criticised Pope Francis.
“Sexual abuse is blamed on clericalism,” the letter continues.
“But the first and primary fault of the clergy does not rest in the abuse of power but in having gone away from the truth of the Gospel.”
Scientific research does not support the idea of a link between homosexuality and child molestation. In 2011, a study conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that priests experiencing same-sex attraction “were not significantly more likely to abuse minors.”
Cardinals previously blamed clerical sex abuse on homosexual people
In January, Brandmüller, the Cardinal-Deacon of the San Giuliano dei Fiamminghi church in Rome, blamed gay people for child sex abuse scandals in the Catholic church in an interview published by German-language news agency DPA to mark his 90th birthday.
In the interview, the cardinal claimed that the public’s response to sex abuse scandals have been “hypocritical,” claiming that “what has happened to abuse in the church is nothing other than what happens in society at all.”
Brandmüller went on to claim that it is “statistically proven” that homosexuality is linked to sex abuse.
He also claimed that “80 percent of the cases of sexual assault in the church affected male youths, not children.”
Burke, who serves as Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in Rome, also said that homosexuality was a “tendency that is disordered” and needed to be “purified at the root.”