TRENTO , Italy, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- A Trento, Italy, Catholic priest was suspended after defending pedophilia during a television interview.
The Rev. Gino Flaim said he "understands pedophilia" as an attempt by children to find affection.
He told Italy's La7 television channel, "I've been to lots of schools, and I know children. Unfortunately there are children who seek affection because they don't receive it at home and I understand that some priests can give up. Pedophilia is a sin, and like all sins has to be accepted."
He was less forgiving of homosexuality, referring to it as a "disease."
Flaim's comments resulted in his immediate suspension from his position at Trento's San Giuseppe and Pio X parish, and came as Pope Francis convened a global synod of 300 bishops on family issues, including the church's attitude toward homosexuality. Monday the pope urged the church to "move forward," noting it is not "a museum to keep or preserve."
Meanwhile, local media reported a Trento monastery has become a site the Vatican employs to "cure" gay priests. Former priest Mario Bonfante, who revealed in 2012 he is gay, told newspaper La Repubblica on Monday the Venturini monastery is a clinic for pedophile, alcoholic and drug-addicted priests, as well as for those "who show inappropriate sexual tendencies."
Prior to the synod, the Rev. Krzysztof Charamsa, a Vatican priest, revealed he is in a gay relationship and is challenging the church's "backward" views on homosexuality.