The Vatican has suggested that instances of sexual abuse of minors by
Catholic priests would be more accurately described as ephebophilia --
attraction to mid to late adolescents -- rather than pedophilia.
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations, argued for the change in terminology in a statement following a meeting of the U.N. human rights council in Geneva.
"Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90 percent belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17,” said Tomasi, according to London's The Guardian newspaper.
In the statement, Tomasi also attempted to deflect criticism of the Vatican’s handling of sexual abuse scandals by pointing a finger at other church bodies, reported The Guardian.
Tomasi cited statistics to argue that no more than 5% of Catholic clergy were involved in sexual abuse, claiming that the majority of American churches struggling with abuse allegations were Protestant.
- Click here to follow The Advocate on Twitter.