Pell says marriage no cure for pedophile priests

Cardinal George Pell has said that statistics show that marriage will not prevent pedophilia, with 90 per cent of pedophile crimes committed by married men.

In the first of a series of two commentaries on the virtues of celibacy, Cardinal Pell said there are "no statistics to demonstrate that most priests are homosexually oriented, much less that they are homosexually active".

"Some of those who claim otherwise are too much influenced by their own circle of acquaintances," he said.

The commentary, first published in this week's Sunday Telegraph, appeared yesterday on Sydney's Archdiocesan website.

He was referring to a 1990 campaign by former or inactive priests who wanted to allow priests to be married.

Cardinal Pell acknowledges that married priests are common among other Catholic rites and other Christian denominations, but said that the "general rule" for most Catholic priests is that priests must "be celibate and refrain from sexual activity."

"No one is forced to become a priest," he added. "This commitment to life-long celibacy is a free choice after at least six years of trial and preparation and cannot be taken before the age of 23".

Cardinal George Pell: Unmarried Priests (A) (Archdiocese of Sydney 7/5/06))

Cardinal George Pell: Celibacy a choice made freely (Sunday Telegraph 7/5/06)
Appeal filed over Catholic brothers' overturned extradition order (Radio New Zealand 8/5/06)
Barrister disputes extradition concerns (NZ Catholic 6/5/06)
NZ To Appeal Clergy Extradition Block (newswire.co.nz 4/5/06)
NZ to appeal clergy ruling (Christchurch Press/stuff.co.nz 4/5/06)

9 May 2006