From Al Jazeera:
Pope Francis: 1 in 50 clergy are pedophiles
In an interview, the pontiff also hinted that ban against marriage for priests may one day be lifted
July 13, 2014 9:21AM ET
One in 50 clerics are pedophiles, Pope Francis said in an interview published Sunday, in which he also hinted that the mandate of priestly celibacy may one day be lifted.
Francis condemned child sex abuse as a “leprosy” in the Church and cited his aides as saying that “the level of pedophilia in the Church is at two percent.” That figure includes priests “and even bishops and cardinals,” Italy’s La Repubblica daily quoted Francis as saying.
The figure represents around 8,000 priests out of a global number of about 414,000, according to the latest statistics from the Vatican.
I have doubts on how exact these statistics are.
Child abusers usually hide their acts, often successfully.
Often, when a priest abuses a child, only the perpetrator and the victim may know about it, as the child may be too scared to talk. Eg, after Dutch Bishop Jo Gijsen had abused a child, he threatened the child with eternal damnation in hellfire if it would talk to anyone about the abuse.
Sometimes, children’s parents may know, but not talk about it, being scared of a conflict with the church hierarchy.
Sometimes, the predatory priest’s bishop may know, but may cover up the abuse, warning neither police nor the pope, as he does not want bad public relations for the church. Etc.
Pope Francis also promised “solutions” to the issue of priestly celibacy, the Italian publication reported, raising the possibility that the Catholic Church may eventually lift a ban on married priests.
Asked by the paper whether priests might one day be permitted to marry, Francis noted that celibacy was instituted “900 years after Our Lord’s death” and that clerics can marry in some Eastern Churches under Vatican tutelage.
“There definitely is a problem but it is not a major one. This needs time but there are solutions and I will find them,” Francis said, without giving further details.
But Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the quotations in the newspaper on the existence of pedophile cardinals and the possible reform of priestly celibacy did not correspond to what the pope actually said.
The BBC writes about this:
The BBC’s David Willey in Rome says there is often a studied ambiguity in Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff statements.
He wants to show a more compassionate attitude towards Church teaching than his predecessors, but this can sometimes cause consternation among his media advisers, our correspondent adds.
Analysis: David Willey, BBC News, Rome
When is a papal interview not an interview? Sunday’s edition of La Repubblica devotes its first three pages to an account of a conversation between Pope Francis and editor Eugenio Scalfari, which took place last Thursday. Papal spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a sharp note that it was not an interview in the normal sense of the word, although he admitted it conveyed the “sense and the spirit” of the conversation.
Mr Scalfari does not use a digital recorder, and Father Lombardi said Pope Francis never checked the accuracy of the interview.
Until now, the Vatican has declined to quantify the extent of clerical sexual abuse scandals in the worldwide Church. Statistics are usually available only for countries in the developed world. In the developing world, information is usually only sketchy.
Did Pope Francis really say 2% of priests are paedophiles? Vatican disputes accuracy of Italian journalist’s conversation with pope but child abuse support group claims true rate is far higher: here.
Pope Francis puts himself in danger by tackling pedophilia cover-ups: here.