Rome — A priest has lost his post in northern Italy after saying he can “understand” pedophilia within the church. The priest appeared to blame children for sexual abuse and described homosexuality as a sickness.
“Pedophilia I can understand, homosexuality I don’t understand,” Fr. Gino Flaim, a priest in Trento, told Italy’s La7 channel. “Unfortunately there are children that look for affection, because they don’t have it at home. And perhaps if they find a priest, he could also give in.”
Asked if the accusations against pedophiles were justified, Flaim said: “It’s a sin, and as with all sins they also become accepted.”
The priest went on to say that he viewed homosexuality as a sickness, adding that both pedophiles and gay people suffer inside because they see they are different from others.
The Trento archdiocese was quick to distance itself from Flaim’s remarks, issuing a statement in which it said it “completely disassociates” itself from the priest’s words.
Flaim, the release said, “expressed arguments that do not in any way represent the position of the archdiocese of Trento and the sentiments of the whole church community.” The priest has been removed from his post within the parish and is no longer allowed to preach.
The priest’s comments follow Pope Francis’ U.S. meeting last month with five adults who were sexually abused as children. During the meeting, the pontiff expressed his “deep regret” that some bishops covered up abuse by priests, vowing to hold clergy accountable if they either abused children or protected pedophiles.