A Mexican archbishop is in hot water after making a statement calling abortion a much more serious offense than the rape of children by priests.
Fabio Martínez Castilla, the Archbishop of Tuxtla Gutiérrez in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas, said during a homily at the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Marcos that when children are sexually abused "their future is dying," but that it doesn’t compare with abortion because "it is murder."
"Qualitatively, abortion is much more serious than the rape of children by priests," Martínez Castilla said, adding though that "both quantitatively do much harm and deserve punishment."
Clarifying his comments, Martínez Castilla said that priests found molesting children should not be forgiven, but instead imprisoned and banned from the Church. He added priests shouldn’t be targeted because of the sexual abuse scandals that have haunted the Catholic Church over the last decade, but that "teachers, politicians, doctors and anyone who goes against the goodness and freedom of a child should be punished".
Appointed as Archbishop of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas’ capital and largest city, earlier this year, Martínez Castilla has been a vocal supporter of the Church’s policy toward contraception and abortion.
During his homily, he called contraceptives such as condoms "just patches" to avoid responsibility.
The global Catholic Church has suffered a public image crisis in the last decade in the midst of accusations of sexual molestation by priests and a widespread cover-up of the abuses.
During his time as the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI faced multiple controversies over sexual abuse cases in dioceses throughout the world and there was speculation that his resignation was related to the accusations.
Despite the accusations, Pope Benedict XVI was the first pope to openly apologize to victims and called for zero tolerance against sexual abuse by priests.
Pope Francis recently called on the Catholic Church to "act decisively" to root out sexual abuse and ensure the perpetrators are punished.