'I get paedophilia, not gays': Italian priest

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Father Gino Flaim was suspended from his parish after defending paedophilia on live television. Screenshot: La7/YouTube
09:37 CEST+02:00
An Italian priest was immediately suspended from his church in the northern city of Trento on Tuesday after defending paedophilia during a live television interview, arguing that “children often seek affection”.

Father Gino Flaim, of the San Giuseppe and Pio X parish, said he “understands paedophilia” but wasn’t so sure about homosexuality.

When asked to explain his comments on the La7 show, L’aria che tira, he said:

“Because I’ve been to lots of schools and I know children. Unfortunately, there are children who seek affection because they don’t get it at home.”

He acknowledged that paedophilia is a sin, but that “like all sins, it has to be accepted”. He believes that homosexuality, on the other hand, is an “illness”.

La Repubblica reported that he was immediately suspended from his church.

His comments followed allegations that the Vatican sends gay priests to a monastery in Trento “to be cured”.

The Venturini monastery in Trento, which also allegedly houses paeodophile priests, drug addicts and alcoholics, treats those “who show inappropriate sexual tendencies”, Mario Bonfante, a former Catholic priest who revealed he was gay in 2012, told La Repubblica on Monday.

Read more: Gay priests sent to Italy monastery 'to be cured'

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They also come amid controversy surrounding the Catholic Church and its views on homosexuality.

On Saturday, Polish priest Krzystof Charamsa accused the Vatican of "institutionalized homophobia".

Father Charamsa made the accusation during a ‘coming out’ speech in Rome on Saturday, a day before the Catholic Church Synod, a gathering of bishops intended to reshape the church’s teaching, got underway.

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