Pope Francis Says “1 in 50 are Paedophiles”

In a candid conversation with the 90 year old Eugnio Scalfari, the pope seemingly let this candid piece of information slip.

But it wasn’t on record. Eugenio Scalfari writes for La Repubblica which carries the Pope interview.

What seems to have occurred is that the pope has informed the world that nearly 1 in 50 priests (Around 8000 of them) are paedophiles and they include bishops and cardinals.  And that the pope thinks that overturning the celibacy rule is the solution.

I sort of disagree on that part. Child molesters often are married and/or not celibate. What they have is power over children  that is unfettered.

Later in the day, the Vatican was already pushing back against the purported interview.

“It is important to notice that words that Mr. Scalfari attributes to the Pope in quotations come from the expert journalist Scalfari’s own memory of what the Pope said,” spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement collected by Vatican Insider. “And it is not an exact transcription of a recording nor [was there] a review of such a transcript by the Pope himself to whom the words are attributed.” He added that this was not “an interview in the normal use of the word, as if there had been a series of questions and answers that faithfully and exactly reflect the precise thoughts of the one being interviewed.”

This isn’t the first time the pope has said something “controversial” (by Catholic standards) if you remember? In April he was off  telling people that divorce isn’t all that bad which is a major change from the official Catholic Party line.

If this is the new Church? Then its been willing to accept divorce and willing to admit the mistakes and problem with abusive priests and this is a window into how bad and how deep the prior cover up for the Church was if sex offenders are becoming cardinals and bishops.

If not? It’s a rather thoughtless statement made by the pope.


  1. petemoulton says

    Bill Donohue is already firing up his fax machine: “See? It’s only two percent of the priests and hierarchy! What could go wrong?”

  2. drjuliebug says

    I don’t at all buy the explanation that prolonged celibacy turns men into rapists or pedophiles, but I think there’s a nugget of truth in the idea that lifting the celibacy requirement would help. At present, the priesthood is a convenient place for an abuser to hide. He can delude himself that he’s running away from his violent sexual urges by joining a celibate order, but if even he hadn’t already planned to find victims in his workplace, he’d certainly figure out very soon that he could do so and his authority might protect him from consequences. And at the same time, devout people who aren’t abusers, and would thrive in some sort of religious vocation, rule out that option because they don’t want to be celibate.

    That said, it’s also clear that having access to consensual sex doesn’t prevent rape or pedophilia. Jerry Sandusky is married. So is Rolf Harris. Celebrities still get caught committing sexual assault, even though their celebrity alone would easily attract consensual sex partners. The Catholic Church might become better at weeding sexually disturbed men out of the clergy if they relaxed the celibacy requirement, but that alone would be nowhere near enough.

  3. smrnda says


    I’ve been thinking much the same for a while, along with wondering that if a priest who had taken a vow of celibacy just wanted sex, they could easily (these days) find a consenting adult online who would be sympathetic to their situation.

    The priesthood? I think that any position of religious authority is a place for a predator to hide, mostly since it’s where they’ll get more trust than they are entitled to.

  4. says

    I think that any position of religious authority is a place for a predator to hide

    Let’s simplify it: predators are attracted to authority in all forms, because it makes it easier.

  5. Oob says

    Do you get the impression that the pope is constantly needing “damage control” from the various biships and such after everything he says?

    I think the pope actually believes all this stuff, but every single time he says something like this all these bishops come out of the woodwork to say “no no no, what he meant is “. So the pope interprets the “real meaning” of god’s words, and then the rank after that comes along and interprets the “real meaning” of the pope’s words. Get the impression that the pope is currently just an unruly pet they’re trying to keep a tight leash on?

    If the current pope isn’t just a convenient mascot and actually HAS some power to do things, I think the next step is a direct mandate that the entire catholic church MUST work with local law enforcement and report any suspected child abuse, just like everyone else. Nothing short of that will suffice here.

  6. sugarfrosted says

    Technically the Catholic Church has been ok with divorce for a long time. They just pretend it didn’t happen and make up an excuse, as to why it wasn’t valid, unless there is a political reason not to, which is why the Anglican Church exists.

  7. Kevin Kehres says

    @5. True. Sandusky being one prime example as a trusted coach. Married, straight, predator. No religious authority required.

    In my own (indirect, thankfully) experience, it was an elementary school teacher and a scout master.

    Predators are attracted to prey. And they gravitate to those situations where they can be near them and in a position of authority and/or respect.

    I suspect the 1 in 50 estimate might be applicable across a wide spectrum.

  8. Pen says

    There was an article in the Guardian about this where the author said

    Psychiatrists who specialise in this field estimate its (pedophilia’s) prevalence at about 4% of the general population.>blockquote>

    I don’t know exactly how they got that figure, and perhaps some of those pedophiles are diagnosed by psychiatrists but never commit crimes? At any rate, it’s half the Pope’s estimate but probably in the ball park.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>