The Telegraph reports that Father Gino Flaim, an Italian priest, has outraged and humiliated Catholic Church officials by saying he understands why priests “succumb” to urges to sexually abuse children, and by deeming homosexuality “a sickness.”
A priest for nearly half a decade, 75-year-old Father Flaim suggested that children are sometimes to blame, as they tempt priests into sexual relationships:
“I can understand pedophilia,” he told La7, an Italian television channel. “I’ve been in lots of schools and I know children. Unfortunately there are some children who look for affection because they don’t get it at home. And perhaps if they find a priest (in whom to confide)… he might succumb. And I understand this.”
When asked whether he was insinuating that some children were at fault, he said, “For the large part, yes,” but emphasized that he wasn’t condoning sexual abuse, adding that homosexuality is a “sickness.”
He was summarily dismissed from his position in the parish of San Giuseppe within hours of making the comments.
In a statement, the archdiocese of Trento said:
“We disassociate ourselves completely from the remarks made by this priest. He expressed views which do not represent in any way the position of the archdiocese.”