2% of Clergy Are Pedophiles: Pope Francis

Pontiff hints at possible changes to priest celibacy

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 13, 2014 8:31 AM CDT

(Newser) – Pope Francis has offered an estimate on "the level of pedophilia in the Church," Sky News reports: He puts it at 2%, basing his information on aides' figures. "That 2% includes priests and even bishops and cardinals," the pope tells La Repubblica newspaper of Italy. "Others, more numerous, know (about the problem) but keep quiet. They punish without giving the reason," he says, per the BBC.

The figure would suggest that some 8,000 out of 414,000 clergy members worldwide are pedophiles, the BBC notes. Francis compares the issue to "leprosy" and intends to "confront it with the severity it demands." In the interview, the pontiff also discusses the possibility of priests marrying. Celibacy, he notes, wasn't instituted until "900 years after Our Lord's death." He adds: "This needs time, but there are solutions, and I will find them."

Pope Francis waves as he arrives for the Angelus prayer he delivers from the studio window overlooking St. Peter square at the Vatican, Sunday, July 13, 2014.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives for the Angelus prayer he delivers from the studio window overlooking St. Peter square at the Vatican, Sunday, July 13, 2014.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
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