Pope Francis reportedly suggested that the celibacy of Catholic priests was a problem, hinting that the marriage ban for priests could be lifted in the future, according to an interview with Italy's La Repubblica.

The pope also noted that some Eastern Catholic churches allow priests to marry, and that the celibacy rule for priests was enacted 900 years after the death of Jesus Christ.

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“There definitely is a problem but it is not a major one. This needs time but there are solutions and I will find them," the pope told La Repubblica editor Eugenio Scalfari.

The Pope also said the sexual abuse of children was a "leprosy" and that "about 2 percent" of Catholic clergy are paedophiles. The Pope said he would confront the problem with "the severity it demands," reported the BBC.

The 90-year-old Scalfari does not record or take notes during interviews.

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The Vatican responded, reported CBS News, by saying the interview was "the result of his memory as an expert journalist but not of a precise transcript of a recording nor of a revision from the part of the interested, to whom the words are attributed to."

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