"We are not talking about any other moral issue, where some may make it a comparison between pedophilia and abortion. Pedophilia doesn't kill anyone and this does," Bucci told local reporters Feb 9, apparently attempting to emphasize the gravity of abortion, and addressing the clerical sexual abuse crisis.
According to some studies, people who experience sexual abuse as a child are three times more likely to commit suicide than national average. People who experience multiple acts of abuse are even more likely to take their own lives.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2005 called acts of child sexual abuse "a horrendous sin in the eyes of God." The Church says that a person who has committed any act of sexual abuse should not recieve the Eucharist without first sacramentally confessing the sin.
Tobin's Feb. 13 statement did not address Bucci's specific arguments. It did emphasize that "abortion destroys innocent unborn life; it exploits vulnerable women; it diminishes family life; and it corrodes the moral fabric of society. There are no circumstances, personal or political, that justify the termination of unborn children."
"The Catholic Church has been very clear and consistent in condemning the evil of abortion, and we affirm that those who promote, support and approve abortion, including civic leaders, are responsible for having committed a grave evil in the sight of Almighty God," the statement added.
At the same time, Tobin also emphasized that "Sexual abuse, wherever and whenever it occurs, causes long-lasting, sometimes permanent and devastating harm to the victims/survivors, their families and the entire community."
"Allegations of sexual abuse must always be taken most seriously and every effort should be made to protect children and youth, to eliminate abuse, to prosecute abusers, and to offer assistance to those who have been harmed," Tobin added.
Tobin did not indicate how the Diocese of Providence will respond directly to Bucci, and the diocese declined to respond to questions from CNA.
"In the current public discussion, I urge all parties to refrain from unhelpful, inflammatory rhetoric, and to reflect personally and prayerfully on the consequences of these grave matters. May we renew our efforts to protect life and promote the common good, especially for children and youth, and may God bless our commitment with wisdom, prudence, humility and charity," the bishop said.