Catholics in Notts outraged as East Midlands MEP describes the Church as 'systematically paedophile'
AN EAST Midlands Euro MP has angered Catholics in Notts after describing the Catholic Church as "systematically paedophile".
Tory Member of the European Parliament Roger Helmer made the comments following Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to Britain.
In his blog Mr Helmer wrote: "It would not be fair to describe the Church as 'institutionally paedophile'.
"So far as I know it has no rules or systems designed to support or promote paedophilia. But I think it would be perfectly fair to describe it as systemically paedophile."
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He also said the cause of the Church's problems is the vow of celibacy which priests take.
He said: "If you take healthy young men and deny them a natural outlet for their natural instincts, then many of them will seek unnatural outlets. "Priestly celibacy is meant to focus the priest's mind on God's work, but all too often it seems to focus his mind on altar boys."
Catholics in Notts have criticised his comments.
David Paton, 44, from The Holy Spirit in West Bridgford, said: "It concerns me that he is making a statement about celibacy being the route of the problem when there is absolutely no basis to that.
"Abuse happens in all quarters of society. Just one case in the Catholic Church is one too many but there is no evidence that priests are involved in more cases of abuse than other members of society."
Teresa Schmitz, 42, from St Barnabas Cathedral in Derby Road, said: "Paedophiles are mentally ill and there are scientific or psychological reasons for that illness.
"To suggest it stems from celibacy is ludicrous."
Defending his blog Mr Helmer said: "This is my opinion and if people don't agree with it that's fine."