[QODLink]
Europe

Pope promises 'solution' to priestly celibacy

Pledge raises prospect of marriage ban on priests being lifted as Francis puts "level of paedophilia" at two percent.

Last updated: 13 Jul 2014 15:41
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Pope Francis has previously begged for forgiveness in a meeting with Catholics sexually abused by clergy [AP]

Pope Francis has promised "solutions" to the issue of priestly celibacy in an interview that raises the possibility the Roman Catholic Church could eventually lift the interdiction on married priests.

In an interview with Italy's La Repubblica daily published on Sunday, Francis also condemned child sex abuse as a "leprosy" in the Church and cited his aides as saying that "the level of paedophilia in the Church is at two percent".

"That two percent includes priests and even bishops and cardinals," he said.

Asked whether priests might one day be allowed to marry, Francis pointed out 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.

The interview was the third in a series with the 90-year-old founder of the La Repubblica daily, Eugenio Scalfari, a famous journalist and known atheist.

Francis begs forgiveness

Earlier this month Francis begged for forgiveness in his first meeting with Catholics sexually abused by members of the clergy and went further than any of his predecessors by vowing to hold bishops accountable for their handling of paedophile priests.

Abuse victims and their advocates had long demanded that higher-ups be made to answer for the decades-long cover-ups of rape and molestation of youngsters in a scandal that has rocked the church and dismayed its worldwide flock of 1.2 billion.

The pope celebrated a private Mass with six victims - two each from Ireland, Britain and Germany - at his Vatican residence, and spent the rest of the morning listening to their accounts, one-on-one.

"Before God and his people, I express my sorrow for the sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you. And I humbly ask forgiveness," Francis said, according to the Associated Press news agency.

"I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves," the pope said.

"This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused, and it endangered other minors who were at risk."

388

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
Growing poverty is strengthening a trend among UK Muslims to fund charitable work closer to home.
join our mailing list