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Mel Gibson hits out at Church over sex abuse

Actor and Oscar-winning director Mel Gibson, who plays a priest in the forthcoming movie Signs, yesterday called for a hard line against pedophile priests.

"Quite frankly, I think that those guys who have misused their authority should be punished hard," said Gibson, a father of seven and one of Hollywood's highest-profile Catholics.

"It's one of the most heinous crimes you can commit against kids."

Gibson also said corruption within the church went much higher, but he defended the institution.

"Any institution is capable of being corrupted and I think it's the same when it comes to ... the Catholic Church," he said.

"But there are many priests who are not like that and you cannot blame the institution or the principles of the institution for the actions of those who corrupt it."

Gibson, 46, who was educated at an all-boys Catholic school in Australia, said the scandal had not shaken his faith.

"It's deplorable, yes, but ... when bad things happen, I can separate the human aspect from what's clearly about something else," he said. "You have to be prepared to sort of trust, even if things look bleak or grim. It's a matter of putting your wellbeing in the hands of something greater than yourself."

Gibson plays Episcopalian minister Graham Hess, a man who loses his faith in God after the tragic death of his wife, in his new film Signs, due to open on 15 August.

Signs: official site
Signs: unofficial site


2 Aug 2002