Vatican No.2 'didn't mean gays outside Church'
Religious officials not competent in medical sphere14 April, 15:42
Responding to growing condemnation of the remark, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said it had statistics indicating some 60% of cases of clerical abuse of minors were committed by gays.
Lombardi recalled that the head of the Vatican's investigating office, Msgr Charles Scicluna, recently said 10% of the cases involved paedophilia "in the strict sense" and 90% involving attraction to adolescents.
Of the latter, Scicluna said some 60% were same-sex and 30% attraction to the opposite sex.
"We are obviously referring here to the problem of abuse by priests and not the general population," Lombardi said.
The spokesman underlined that Church officials should not be considered competent in psychological or medical matters and the question of paedophilia was the terrain of "specialists and ongoing research".
On Monday Bertone, who is No.2 to Pope Benedict XVI unleashed a firestorm by saying "several experts" had told him there was a link between paedophilia and homosexuality.
Gay groups in Italy and around the world were outraged.
On Wednesday the French foreign ministry condemned Bertone's "unacceptable" linkage. photo: Bertone