Mexico bishop says porn, tv to blame for priest abuse

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Washington Post

Friday, April 16, 2010; 6:10 PM

By Miguel Angel Gutierrez and Cyntia Barrera Diaz

Reuters

 MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A prominent Roman Catholic bishop in Mexico blamed eroticism on television and Internet pornography for child abuse by priests, in the latest incendiary comments on sex scandals in the church.

“With so much invasion of eroticism, sometimes it’s not easy to stay celibate or to respect children,” Bishop Felipe Arizmendi said during an annual meeting of Mexican bishops near Mexico City on Thursday.

“If on television and on the Internet and in so many media outlets there is pornography, it is very difficult to stay pure and chaste,” said Arizmendi, an influential bishop from the colonial town of San Cristobal de las Casas in southern Mexico.

“Obviously when there is generalized sexual freedom it’s more likely there could be cases of pedophilia,” he added.

The bishop was in charge of the formation of priests for two decades in Mexico but said that loose morals in society had made it difficult to keep seminarians committed to the faith.

The timing of his comments comes as Pope Benedict turned 83 on Friday and the Catholic hierarchy has been rattled by revelations of sexual abuse scandals in parishes around the world.

It also follows several controversial comments made by Catholic clergy, including on Monday when the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said priest pedophilia was linked to homosexuality not celibacy.

“Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and pedophilia, but many others have shown, I have recently been told, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia,” he told a news conference in Santiago, Chile.

Mexico is home to the world’s second-largest Roman Catholic population after Brazil and the country has been rocked by its own share of allegations against Catholic leaders.

Last year, the pope ordered an inquiry into the powerful Legionaries of Christ order whose Mexican founder, Marcial Maciel, was discovered to be a sexual molester of young boys. Maciel, who died in 2008, also was known to have fathered at least one child.

The Vatican was hit by another embarrassing revelation this week when a website posted a letter by a senior cardinal heartily congratulating a French bishop in 2001 for not denouncing a self-confessed abusive priest to the police.

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Mexico rejects church criticism of sex education

google.com

16 April 2010

(AP) – 3 hours ago

 MEXICO CITY — Mexican educators and officials defended the country’s public school sex education Friday from criticism by a Roman Catholic bishop who said such teachings make celibacy vows more difficult for priests to keep.

 Education Secretary Alonso Lujambio told reporters that public-school sexual education texts “seek to make our boys and girls responsible, to take responsibility for their actions, and for that they need information.”

Lujambio said the programs are careful to avoid “hurting any social sensitivities.”

 On Thursday, Bishop Felipe Arizmendi said that “when there is generalized sexual licentiousness, it is more common to have pederasty.”

 “In the midst of the invasion of so much eroticism, it is not easy to remain faithful in celibacy, or in respecting children,” Arizmendi, the bishop of the San Cristobal de las Casas diocese in Chiapas state, said at a meeting of Mexican bishops.

He said part of the blame for the current environment lies with sex education programs that gave “only genital information.”In a statement Friday, the Mexican Association for Sexual Health, a group of professional counselors and educators, defended the need for the government sex-ed programs and criticized the bishop’s comments.”Those of good conscience in the church should stop this absurdity and find good help,” the statement said.”Blaming the problems that the Catholic Church has had with priests’ sexually abusing minors on sex education makes no sense,” it added. “It borders on the pathetic.”

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