FILE – Demonstrators protest the pedophile priest scandal
FILE – Demonstrators protest the pedophile priest scandal

ROME - The Catholic Church in northern Italy's Trento region has sanctioned a priest who said pedophilia in the church was caused by children seeking the affection of priests.

The Trento archdiocese said in a statement it had removed the Reverend Gino Flaim from all pastoral work and forbidden him from preaching after an interview was aired on the La7 private television network Tuesday evening.

In the comments, Flaim said he had worked in schools and understood children.

"Unfortunately, there are children who seek out affection because they don't get any at home," he said. "And it can be that maybe they find some priests. And I understand this.''

Flaim also said he couldn't understand the "sickness'' of homosexuality.

The archdiocese said it “fully disassociated itself” from Flaim's words.