A Catholic priest has provoked extreme controversy this week, after suggesting that pedophilia is more acceptable than abortion, as it "doesn't kill anyone".
Speaking to CNN affiliate WJAR, Rhode Island priest Rev. Richard Bucci of Sacred Heart Church, claimed that although child molestation and rape is a "horrible thing", comparing pedophilia with abortion isn't fair. Bucci believes that far more children have been aborted than have been abused - although he did not cite any statistical evidence to back up this claim.The priest in question has now responded to his comments:
Per CBS, the priest made the comments after he banned 44 pro-choice lawmakers from receiving communion.
In the interview, Bucci stated: "We are not talking about any other moral issue, where some may make it a comparison between pedophilia and abortion. Pedophilia doesn't kill anyone and this does."
Bucci's statements have been strongly opposed by New England lawmakers. State Representative Carol Hagan McEntee introduced a bill extending the statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims after her sister alleged she'd been abused by a Sacred Heart priest as a child.
Speaking to CNN, McEntee stated: "It's just absurd that he doesn't think [pedophilia] kills anybody. It steals their childhood and robs them of their soul ... [Bucci] should come to the statehouse and listen to the victims' testimony."
Rev. Richard Bucci's comments have since caused a lot of backlash on social media:
While shocking to some, Bucci's comments are in line with official papal doctrine. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life."
The Catechism continues: "Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being. Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safeguarding or healing as an individual...
"It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence."