The Vatican made a mistake when it suggested that the ordination of women was as grave a crime as child abuse, the Church's senior investigator into clerical sex abuse has said.
In an update to clerical disciplinary rules issued in 2010 the Vatican listed the ordination of women as one of "the most serious crimes", along with paedophilia.
But on Tuesday Mgr Charles Scicluna, promoter of justice in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told delegates at a conference on abuse in the Church, held at St Mary's University College in Twickenham, that the two issues should have been dealt with separately.
He said: "It was a mistake to give the information in the same press conference... We gave the wrong message saying that the ordination of women is as grave - it is totally different, not the same level. I would certainly not put any connection between the two - they are totally different planets."
Above: Mgr Scicluna a 2010 press conference taking questions about the Vatican's revised procedures for handling cases of sexual abuse by priests, days after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a list of grave sins that included child abuse and the ordination of women. Photo: CNS photo/Paul Haring