The Catholic Church, currently embroiled in child sex abuse scandals in Europe as well as the United States, is ignoring calls for compulsory celibacy to be reviewed.
Finland’s community of Catholic priests says it has not discussed the recent European scandals.
“The media has exaggerated the issue,” says Teemo Sippo, the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Catholic Church in Finland.
Sippo says he is not aware of a single child sex abuse case in Finland stemming from the Catholic Church. However Sippo believes current discussions on pedophilia are cathartic.
“The problem has been that people have tried to hide it. The whole atmosphere will improve now that it’s taken seriously,” says Sippo.
While celibacy is the practice of the Catholic clergy today, it’s largely undisputed that early priests were married.
Although Catholic priests are allowed to marry in some countries, such as the Ukraine, celibacy will remain the rule for priests in Finland.
“A priest should give all his strength to the church. The congregation is the priest’s wife,” Sippo explains.
Finland is home to some 10,000 Catholics. The whole country forms one single diocese.