Pope: Badly Trained Priests Can Be 'Little Monsters'
Thought gives him 'goose bumps,' says Francis
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2014 1:06 PM CST
Pope Francis smiles as he leaves a church in Rome Friday.   (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

(Newser) – A comment by Pope Francis regarding the training of young priests is likely to resonate with critics of the Catholic Church. The statement, made in a closed-door session with the leaders of religious orders from around the world:

  • "We must form their hearts," Francis said of men in the seminary. "Otherwise we are creating little monsters. And then these little monsters mold the people of God. This really gives me goose bumps."

The context isn't all that clear, and Reuters suggests that Francis was talking about creating selfish priests concerned about their own careers, not the church's sex-abuse scandal. At another point, however, Francis warned that the church should not accept men into the seminary who have been implicated in sex abuse, reports AP. He cited the "huge problem" of one seminary allowing in someone who had been kicked out of another. "I am not speaking about people who recognize that they are sinners: We are all sinners, but we are all not corrupt," he said. "Sinners are accepted, but not people who are corrupt."