The Australian Catholic Church has conceded that its obligatory vow of celibacy may have led to the sexual abuse of children at the hands of the clergy.
The Church's Truth, Justice and Healing council responded to the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse on Friday by releasing an activity report, which recommends that priests be given "psychosexual training".
The comprehensive 40-page report said that the abuse of priests' powers over others – referred to as "clericalism" – could have also led to the way the church usually responded to the abuse cases, including its tendency to turn a blind eye to allegations relating to sexual abuse.
"Church institutions and their leaders, over many decades, seemed to turn a blind eye, either instinctively or deliberately, to the abuse happening within their diocese or religious order, protecting the institution rather than caring for the child," the report said adding: "obligatory celibacy may have contributed to abuse in some circumstances."
The council subsequently recommended that "ongoing training and development, including psychosexual development, is necessary for priests and religious figures", the report said.
The progress report by the Truth, Justice and Healing Council of the Catholic Church comes in direct contrast to another report by the Catholic Church in the United States in May, that denied any link between celibacy and child sexual abuse.
But the council said on Friday that the Vatican not only needs to be transparent about the issue, but also needs to investigate and find out the root cause of the rampant abuses that take place in the Church.
"We we have a public inquiry into the sex crimes in the Catholic Church, you need to address how sexuality is understood and acted out by members of the clergy," The council's chief executive officer Francis Sullivan said, reports ABC News.
"You need a very clear understanding about your own sexuality, your own sexual development, your own way of relating as a person to others.
"That's called psychosexual education. Certainly in the past, there was none."