Bertone's words infuriated gay activists in Chile and elsewhere, The Times of London reported.
"There is no relationship between pedophilia and homosexuality," Rolando Jimenez of the Movement for the Integration and Freedom of Homosexuals in Chile said Tuesday.
Bertone at a news conference Monday suggested his statement has scientific backing: "Many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relationship between celibacy and pedophilia. But many others have demonstrated, I have been told recently, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is true. That is the problem."
The scandal about clerical sexual abuse has recently spread to Europe and elsewhere several years after it erupted in the United States. While Pope Benedict XVI has apologized for wrong done to victims, the church has also reacted by blaming the news media.
The pope's German birthplace has been defaced with graffiti as have billboards in Malta advertising his planned weekend visit.