Pope Francis has said two per cent of the Roman Catholic clergy worldwide, the equivalent of 8,000 members, are pedophiles.
The figure was revealed as the Archbishop of Canterbury separately admitted he expects more sex scandals to emerge from within the Anglican Church.
The Pope described child sex abusers as a “leprosy” within the Catholic Church and said the offenders include “priests and even bishops and cardinals.”
In an interview with La Repubblica newspaper in Italy, the pontiff cited his aides as saying that “the level of pedophilia in the Church is at two per cent.”
As the Catholic clergy numbers 414,000, it would mean more than 8,000 priests fall into this category. Estimates of the prevalence of paedophilia in the wider population range from a fraction of one per cent to four per cent.
In an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show Sunday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, said it was becoming clearer that pedophilia had not been properly addressed within Anglicanism and disclosed that he deals with the issue on a daily basis.
Asked if he was braced for the child abuse inquiry led by Baroness Butler-Sloss to uncover “bad stories,” the Archbishop replied: “I would love to say there weren’t, but I expect there are.
“There are in almost every institution in this land.”