Pope Francis was recently quoted saying “that abuse of children was like "leprosy" infecting the Church” and he’d "confront it with the severity it demands.” Except a Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi told BBC that those were not his exact words.
According to Father Lombardi, Pope Francis had a “conversation” with Italian newspaper La Repubblica editor Eugenio Scalfari in which he was loosely quoted saying:
"Among the 2% who are paedophiles are priests, bishops and cardinals. Others, more numerous, know but keep quiet. They punish without giving the reason," Pope Francis was quoted as saying.
"I find this state of affairs intolerable," he went on.
Two percent would equate to about 8,000 of the 414,000 global number of priests.
Lombardi says the exchange between the two men was not recorded nor did Pope Francis confirm the interview’s accuracy. He also charges that the Pope never “said that there were cardinals who were pedophiles.”
During the chat, Pope Francis also spoke to what some feel is an unrealistic standard of celibacy among priests and nuns.
Asked in the same La Repubblica interview about the celibacy rule for priests, Pope Francis recalled that it was adopted 900 years after the death of Jesus Christ and pointed out that the Eastern Catholic Church allows its priests to marry.
"The problem certainly exists but it is not on a large scale. It will need time but the solutions are there and I will find them."
Papal spokesperson Lombardi also said the Pope didn’t really say that either.
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