As Pope Benedict XVI finishes his final hours as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, the world is looking to his temporary replacement.
Today (28 February), the Catholic Church will enter into a period known as ‘Sede Vacante’ (vacant See), during which a senior cardinal takes over interim powers until a new pope is elected.
Italy’s Tarciso Bertone, referred to as the camerlengo, in the past has blamed the church pedophilia on the ‘homosexual infiltration’ of the Catholic priesthood.
Speaking in Chile in 2010, he said: ‘Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and paedophilia but many others have shown, I have recently been told, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and paedophilia.
‘This pathology is one that touches all categories of people, and priests to a lesser degree in percentage terms.
‘The behaviour of the priests in this case, the negative behaviour, is very serious, is scandalous.’
Gay rights groups slammed his views, with Italy’s Arcigay calling the cardinal’s words ‘shocking and irresponsible.’
Rolando Jiménez, president for the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation in Chile, said: ‘Neither Bertone nor the Vatican has the moral authority to give lessons on sexuality.’
Benedict XVI’s tenure as leader of the Catholic Church will end later today, marking the first official resignation of a pope in nearly 600 years.
In an unexpected speech, he promised ‘unconditional reverence and obedience’ to his successor.