One in fifty Catholic priests is a paedophile: Pope Francis – Hannah Roberts

Boy crucified on cardinal

Hannah Roberts“While Pope Francis has carried out sweeping reforms to the Vatican, he has been accused of not doing enough to tackle the child abuse crisis.” – Hannah Roberts

Pope Francis has revealed that around one in every 50 Catholic priests is a paedophile.

Condemning the issue as a “leprosy” which infects the Church, the Pontiff was yesterday reported as claiming that even bishops and cardinals are among the “2 per cent” carrying out child abuse.

He also said that many more in the Church are guilty of covering it up, adding: “This state of affairs is intolerable.”

Damning reports by the UN this year have accused the Vatican of “systematically” adopting policies that allowed priests to rape and molest thousands of children over decades, failing to report allegations to the authorities and transferring offenders to new dioceses where they could abuse again.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica yesterday, Francis denounced the corruption of children as “the most terrible and unclean thing imaginable” Francis + Justin Welbyand vowed to “confront it with the seriousness it demands.”

The Pope’s comments come as Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby warned that fresh child abuse would be uncovered in the Church of England.

Asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show [on 12 July 2014] whether more cases would emerge, he said: “I would love to say there weren’t but I expect there are.

“There are in almost every institution in this land.”

He added that the Church needed to apologise and explain how “utterly devastated” it was about its history child abuse.

He said: “It is becoming clearer and clearer that for many, many years things were not dealt with as they should have been dealt with. We must show justice to survivors of abuse.”

While Pope Francis has carried out sweeping reforms to the Vatican, he has been accused of not doing enough to tackle the child abuse crisis. 

In his interview, Francis was quoted as saying: ‘The Church is fighting for the eradication of the habit and for education that rehabilitates. 

“But this leprosy is also present in our house. Many of my colleagues who are working against it tell me that paedophilia inside the Church is at the level of 2 per cent.”

He said that the figures supplied by Church officials were supposed to reassure him, but added: “But I have to say that they do not reassure me by any means.

“On the contrary, I find them deeply concerning. Among the 2 per cent who are paedophiles are even bishops and cardinals.”

Swiss Guard saluting a CardinalLast night Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the newspaper’s report had “captured the spirit” of the conversation, but denied that Francis had said there are some cardinals who are paedophiles. 

In his interview, the Pope acknowledged that paedophilia was common and widespread in the Catholic Church, and reportedly called the requirement for celibacy among priests “a problem” for which he is “finding the solution”—although the Vatican also denied that he said this.

Last week Pope Francis issued his strongest words on paedophile priests so far as he held a historic three-hour meeting with six abuse victims, including two from Britain and two from Ireland.

In a mass before the meeting, he begged abuse survivors for forgiveness for the “sacrilegious” crimes committed by “the sons and daughters of the Church who have betrayed their mission.”

British abuse victim Peter Saunders, 57, who was molested for more than five years by two priests, a teacher and a member of his family from the age of eight, described the experience as “life-changing.”

The first cases of abuse at the hands of priests came to light in the US and Canada in the 1980s. In the 1990s, revelations began to emerge of widespread abuse in Ireland, before cases were exposed in more than a dozen countries in the last decade.

In 2009, two damning reports into allegations of paedophilia in Ireland revealed the extent of cover-ups spanned decades and involved thousands of victims.

Last week the Pope said the Catholic Church had been guilty of “complicity” in covering up what he called “despicable actions” and “grave sins.” 

He said members of the Catholic Church should “weep before the execrable acts of abuse which have left life-long scars.” – Mail Online, 13 July 2014

» Hannah Roberts is the Daily Mail’s correspondent in Rome.

Crucified boy

One Response

  1. How many Catholic priests in the world?

    Worldwide according to Wikipedia

    Worldwide, the total number of priests in 1970 was 419,728. In 2012, there were a total of 414,313 priests. While the total number of priests worldwide has therefore remained about the same since 1970, the Catholic population has nearly doubled, growing from 653.6 million in 1970 to 1.196 billion in 2013.

    How many Catholic priests in India?

    “As of 2000, just six of the 156 Catholic bishops in India were Dalits, and out of 12,500 Catholic priests, only about 600 were Dalits.” – National Catholic Reporter

    We recommend reading the whole article for more information about the Catholic Church in India.

    For more statistics of Catholics by diocese, go to Catholic-Hierarchy.org for Catholic Church in India.

    Statistics for 2011 from Wikipedia

    – Bishops: 168
    – Total number of diocesan priests: 9,301
    – Religious Priests: 6,765
    – Religious Brothers: 2,528
    – Religious Sisters: 50,112
    – Colleges and schools: 14,429
    – Training Institutes: 1,086
    – Hospitals and dispensaries: 1,826
    – Publications: 292

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