Pope Makes Frank Statements On Pedophile Clergy, Celibacy

In an interview with an Italian newspaper, the Pope reportedly said two percent of priests are pedophiles and hinted celibacy might be the problem.
Posted at 9:51 PM, Jul 13, 2014

Pope Francis continues to lift the veil on the sex abuse scandals, reportedly throwing out the figure that as many as 1 in 50 clergy might be pedophiles. And he might also have called into a question a 1,000-year-old church tradition because of it. (Via Getty Images, CBS)

In an exclusive interview between the Pope and the founder of La Repubblica, 90-year-old Eugenio Scalfari, Francis reportedly spelled out his opinion on a number of the church's more contentious issues.

Though, it's worth noting the journalist, Scalfari, apparently didn't record the interview or jot down anything down. So, there's reason to take the whole story with a grain of salt. (Via Getty Images)

But according to a CBS translation, Francis hinted there might be a problem with the tradition of priest celibacy and pointed fingers toward child sex abuse scandals, which he said are a "leprosy" for the church and vowed to find a "solution."

“The 2 percent of pedophiles are priests, and even bishops and cardinals. ... And others, even more numerous, know about it but keep quiet. They punish without saying the reason why. I find this state of things untenable and it is my intention to confront it with the severity it requires.”

Francis also reportedly touched on his issues with the Italian Mafia. Back in June, the pontiff made considerable noise when he ex-communicated all members of organized crime from the Catholic church. (Via ABC)

As we mentioned earlier, there's really no way to verify if the Pope's words are completely accurate — it might be a bit of a hodgepodge, which has the Vatican at least somewhat skeptical of its authenticity. 

Al Jazeera reports Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi didn't really buy into it, saying, "This is not at all an interview in the normal sense of the word," and accused the Italian newspaper of "manipulating ingenuous readers."

And, according to The Telegraph, Lombardi said the Pope was misquoted and that he did not, in fact, say cardinals were involved in sex abuse scandals.

Then again, if the article is at least somewhat on target, it would fall in line with the Pope's recent thoughts.

Last week, the pontiff met with sex abuse victims for the first time and begged for forgiveness for the scandals that have mired the Catholic church for decades and said he would not tolerate those actions anymore. (Via The Vatican)