Pope Franics has admitted that there is ‘corruption in the Vatican’, and has called clerical sexual abuse an ‘illness’.

The Pope’s comments were made to representatives of Catholic men’s religious orders in Novemeber, and were published yesterday in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, RNS reports.

‘There is corruption in the Vatican. But I’m at peace…If there is a problem, I write a note to St. Joseph and put it under a statue that I have in my room. It is a statue of St. Joseph sleeping. And now he sleeps on a mattress of notes!’

The Pope’s remarks included pertinent topics such as the child sex abuse scandal, and the criticism that the pontiff himself has recently received.

Francis called clerical sexual abuse an ‘illness’, noting how victims of abuse can become abusers themselves. ‘For every four people who abuse, it seems that two have been abused in their lives. They sow the seeds for abuse in the future: it is devastating.’

The Pope also said that the ‘devil’ was present whenever priests abused others. This week brought fresh revelations of the clerical abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, with reports that more than 4,440 children were allegedly abused by priests in the Australian Catholic Church, from 1950 to 2010.

Francis has also received heavy criticism more recently, with conservatives in particular frustrated by his more liberal positions on refugees, divorce and climate change, as well as his role in the Knights of Malta controversy.

Last week number of posters of Pope Francis appeared across Rome criticising the pontiff, featuring the title ‘Where’s your mercy?’

In his interview the Pope was positive about the criticism he receives. ‘It is good to be criticized, I always like it,’ he said. ‘Life is also about misunderstandings and tensions. Criticism makes you grow, I accept them, I respond.’


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