Archbishop Claims Pedophilia is Not a Crime

The latest nomination for the 2013 Craziest-Thing-Said-By-A-Catholic-Priest Award comes all the way from South Africa.

Step forward Wilfrid Fox (Cardinal) Napier, Archbishop of Durban.

Wilfrid Fox Napier (via

Napier was giving an interview as part of the Stephen Nolan program on BBC Radio 5 live when he referred to pedophilia as “a psychological condition, a disorder.”

What do you do with disorders? You have got to try and put them right. If I as a normal being choose to break the law knowing that I am breaking the law, then I think I need to be punished. From my experience paedophilia is actually an illness. It is not a criminal condition, it is an illness.

At worst, his comments are an abberation, even for the Catholic Church. At best, they are severely lacking any tact. The best I can do in trying to give him the benefit of the doubt is that perhaps he is drawing parallels to the way psychopaths and the criminally insane are said to be treated at secure hospitals. At least I hope he means something along those lines because otherwise he really might just be advocating it as a defense in such cases.

Napier had been in Rome as one of the 115 Cardinals who last week elected Pope Francis. His comments have been immediately drawn widespread condemnation.

Barbara Dorries, from the US-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), who was herself abused as a child by a priest, told the BBC:

If it is a disease that’s fine, but it’s also a crime and crimes are punished. Criminals are held accountable for what they did and what they do. The bishops and the cardinals have gone to great lengths to cover these crimes to enable the predators to move on, to not be arrested, to keep the secrets within the church.

How one of the leaders of the Catholic Church can’t understand that is unbelievable. Though, sadly, not very surprising.

About Mark Turner

Mark Turner was born and raised as a Catholic in the North East of England, UK. He attended two Catholic schools between the ages of five and sixteen. A product of a moderate Catholic upbringing and an early passion for science first resulted in religious apathy and by mid-teens outright disbelief.


  • Sven2547

    The attraction is an illness, the act is a crime.
    I’m curious what he means by “In my experience…”?

  • Dustin

    The DSM-IV-TR does have pedophilia listed as a paraphilia. It is a mental illness, but where Napier falls short is equating attraction and action.

  • Qu Quine

    Though technically true, it was stupid to say. The psychological condition is generally recognized when the subject is unable to prevent himself (rarely herself) from acting on these desires.

  • Fargofan

    It’s both an illness and a crime. Having an illness doesn’t give you an excuse to commit crimes. I can’t believe this is the same Catholic church that condemns homosexuality. So loving acts between adults of the same sex are abhorrent, but pedophilia is not a “criminal condition”?

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    A lot of female teachers like to bang their students. Granted they are not pedophiles by definition they ladies seem to take the cake in that field.

  • Melani Marie

    Pedophilia is not a crime. Child molestation is a crime.

  • 0xabad1dea

    The “experience” part presumably refers to the Catholic tradition of confessing even the most private sins to your priest. Hence it would be totally normal for a priest to personally know some pedophiles, both practicing and non-practicing ones, probably far more of the latter.

  • primenumbers

    And treating it as a severe illness and helping these people (hopefully before it gets to be a crime) would be the way forwards. The demonization just stops people asking for and receiving the medical help that they sorely need.

  • Opinionated Catholic

    The full transcript for more context as to the interview

  • ash

    Source for those numbers?

  • indorri

    I really wish you’d give the context the article gives (I suppose in hindsight it should be obvious, but still).

    Pedophilia – being attracted to kids

    Child molestation/sexual abuse/rape – molesting/sexually abusing/raping kids

    A pedophile is not necessarily a child abuser and, for that matter, a child sexual abuser isn’t even necessarily a pedophile.

    He is wrong to excuse child sexual abuse by those who are pedophiles, though.

  • Rain

    At least I hope he means something along those lines because otherwise he really might just be advocating it as a defense in such cases.

    It’s hard to say, because his tweets trying to explain himself @CardinalNapier are contradictory. It doesn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to be an “archbishop”, so who the hell knows.

  • Greg G.

    Lycanthropy is a disease, not a crime. Ripping people’s throats out while in the form of a werewolf is a crime. Preventing a lycanthrope from getting treatment and being prosecuted is a crime. Transporting a lycanthrope to areas of unsuspecting potential victims is immoral.

  • L.Long

    This dude is a bald faced lying hypocrite. Pedophilia may not technically be a crime but he knows that is not what it is about. Being attracted to kids—who gives a schite.

    He knows everyone is about child molestation and it is a crime – that makes him a liar.
    He is a hypocrite because like all the leaders of the RCC where are the priest that were placed into sanitariums for treatment??? Or the ones HE helped get put in jail for the crime????But then maybe he was not in a position to help with this problem so he would not be a hypocrite (on this point anyway) but he is still a liar; but then he is a religious leader so the word liar is redundant.

  • C Peterson

    Acting on pedophilia is necessarily a crime, but I do agree that we should not treat pedophiles as criminals, but rather as sick individuals that we must isolate from society, because we currently don’t know how to fix them. But I think it is uncivilized to put them in prison, or to punish them for their actions.

  • indorri

    I was going to be snarkier in this response, but decided against it. I don’t see why “isolating from society” for someone attracted to kids is humane or even reasonable. By that same logic, we would isolate from society anyone attracted to anyone because they might rape them. Make no mistake: the issue with child sexual abuse is that it is not meaningfully consensual.

  • CelticWhisper

    Willie here is technically correct – to make pedophilia illegal would be to institute Orwellian policies of “thoughtcrime” and I think it’s safe to say none of us want that.

    Unfortunately for Willie, we’re also all able to see that he’s being completely disingenuous about this. His priests don’t stop at pedophilia – they go all the way to molestation, rape, and other forms of sexual misconduct against children, and THAT is what people are (rightly) outraged about.

    But hey, thanks for playing, Willie. Try again next week.

  • A3Kr0n

    So what he’s trying to say in so many words is that he doesn’t think he should go to jail, right?

  • Carmelita Spats

    Oh. My. Science…Thank you for this information as it shows that the RCC is not “clueless” when it comes to the sexual torture of children but is an organized crime syndicate engaged in active malice towards the rule of law. The slimy Cardinal CreepCrotch states, “I don’t see how you could say that if the victim then said we don’t want this thing to go to the police, how can you then say the Church is mishandling the thing by respecting the victim’s own request.” This is EXACTLY how dangerous, violent, cults like the RCC prey, hide, threaten and abuse with impunity…particularly in the Third World. RCC=Organized Crime Syndicate.

    Here is a better source from a former priest and canon lawyer. One of the good guys fighting to protect children from your cult’s sexual violence…

  • Paul Grimm

    Wait are you saying that its ok to have sex with a child if its consensual?

  • Paul Grimm

    Wait are you saying that its ok to have sex with a child if its consensual?

  • Paul Grimm

    There needs to be a distinction made on what pedophilia is. Pedophilia is the sexual attraction towards prepubescent children.

  • Pattrsn

    Really, a lot? How many is a lot?

  • Logan Blackisle

    “the issue with child sexual abuse is that it is not meaningfully consensual.”

    Implies, correctly, that children cannot give consent.

    Is it OK to cut off a woman’s penis? The question is nonsensical and deserves no answer.

    Similarly: “Is it OK to have sex with a child if its consensual?” is a nonsensical question – children are incapable on consent.

  • C Peterson

    Surely there are humane ways to isolate a person from society. That isolation doesn’t have to be total, but needs to be of a nature that the person can’t harm anybody. And I’m not suggesting isolating people who have what might be called pedophilic tendencies, but only those who have been caught acting on them.

    I don’t know what else a society can do to protect itself in such cases except place limits on the pedophile. But I don’t see prison as the right approach at all. It’s a bit like the way people with certain communicable diseases were dealt with a hundred years ago- not criminals, but not allowed complete freedom, either. We learned how to treat the diseases, and don’t generally lock such people away anymore. Hopefully we’ll one day learn to treat pedophilia, as well.

    (I’m talking about true pedophiles, who are attracted to pre-pubescent children, not simply adults who engage in inappropriate behavior with people below the age of consent; for the most part, those people are engaging in criminal behavior, and the criminal justice system is the place to deal with them.)

  • C Peterson

    He’s saying a child can’t meaningfully give consent, which is fundamental to why we don’t allow adults to have sex with them. That seems both clear and obvious.

  • jeff akston

    This is kind of embarassing for you. Pedophelia isn’t a crime. The priest is right and you are wrong.

    Pedeophelia is just having the attraction, which is not a crime. Nobody can be convicted for just thoughts.

    Well, except in the catholic church. You get sentenced to an eternity in Hell for all sorts of thought crimes there.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    I could spend an hour copying and pasting links to news stories.

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    Perhaps he means it’s a crime if committed by laymen and if it is committed by a catholic priest then it was ORDAINED BY GAWD!!!

  • pete084

    Keeping your attraction to children inside your head isn’t a crime, but the fact is that most convicted pedophiles were caught with unlawful images or other incriminating evidence.
    A pederast takes the step from pedophilia to actual child abuse, the two are connected, make no mistake about that!

    The cardinal has added another nail to the catholic casket, and clearly demonstrates that the catholic church is detached from reality.

  • Dogly

    Why “far more of the latter”? And, he might just as easily have meant, “In my experience as a pedophile.”!

  • Dogly

    WE are demonizing demons! Most of these priests got catholic therapy. Then they were given new posts in new parishes, with new alter boys. Therapy is notoriously unsuccessful in changing the desires, or behavior of child rapists. Life in prison, with child rapist tattooed on their foreheads is therapy enough.

  • primenumbers

    The help they need is obviously not to be placed anywhere near children. Indeed not only was the Catholic “help” inadequate, it was actually ill-thought-out, or even enabling. Of course, those that covered up the abuse are not ill, just plain self-centred criminals.

    Indeed therapy is not really effective, and drugs can help, but again, they need a close watch, and a life-time of supervision if not incarceration in a proper facility (not necessarily a prison).

  • HomerThompson

    This ridiculousness is a waste of time. There will always been child raping priest, just as there will always be abusive cops. The real problem is the others who cover for them. There’s no mental illness element or bullshit pedantic analyses of words. COME ON PEOPLE, you know pedophilia is used as a short hand for child rape even if that’s not technically correct. Grow up!

  • Pseudonym

    I’ll go one further. It’s exactly the attitude expressed in this write-up which is indirectly contributing to more children being abused.

    Pedophilia is the most stigmatised disorder there is. It’s more stigmatised than sociopathy. There are understandable reasons for this, however we have a culture that pedophiles are irrevocably evil people who can’t stop themselves from molesting children. Because of the stigma associated with the disorder, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    There are plenty of pedophiles who have never abused a child and never want to abuse a child, but are discouraged from seeking help because of the stigma of being labelled a monster.

    I don’t know the full context of this guy’s remarks. However, on the assumption that he personally is not trying to cover up actual abuse, this actually gets my inaugural 2013 “surprising foresight from a Catholic priest” award.

    It’s true that the Catholic church has mishandled and covered-up a lot of sex abuse claims (how much this guy is culpable, I don’t know). However, if we are serious about stopping child abuse, eventually we will have to bite the bullet, and attack it at the best of all possible times: long before it happens.

    As a society, we will eventually have to face this. It would help not to be on the wrong side of history now. However, I have no confidence in the atheism movement to be a leader in this regard. Everyone is too busy perpetuating the dangerous meme in the service of bringing down the Catholic church.

  • Pseudonym

    I don’t know about “far more”, because pedophilia is rare. However, it’s true that there are far more pedophiles who have never, and never want to, abuse children than those who have.

    But I’m not surprised you don’t know this.

  • Pseudonym

    Is he excusing it, though? Is there anything in his remarks which is suggesting that he’s excusing it, as opposed to identifying the underlying root cause so we can attack the problem at that level?

    That’s a serious question, BTW. I haven’t read his full remarks.

    It’s certainly not evident from the snippet above that he’s trying to “excuse” anything. On the other hand, the hysteria is at such a level that we have a tendency to read it into any remark from Catholic clergy, whether it’s there or not.

  • Pseudonym

    We don’t know how to treat them because not enough come forward for treatment because we think of them as untreatable evil people. We don’t know how to treat the underlying cause of pedophilia, but we do know how to effectively prevent many people from sexually abusing other people with a combination of therapy and medication. We know this because it works with some rapists.

    If it helps, consider that the overwhelming majority of men who are attracted to women (to pick but one example) manage to get through their day without committing rape.

    We should put child abusers in prison for their actions, but only for their actions. A pedophile who has never abused a child, and does not want to abuse a child, should be in treatment. And we should help and encourage that person as much as possible.

  • Pseudonym

    The plural of anecdote is not data.

  • wmdkitty

    Even if it is an illness (which I don’t believe for one second), the fact remains that pedophiles objectify, sexualize, and eventually, RAPE CHILDREN.

    As far as I’m concerned, all pedos, even the ones who “don’t want to” act on their urges, need to be locked away for the safety of society.

  • wmdkitty

    I, for one, am disgusted at the number of comments I just read defending pedophiles.

    It doesn’t matter whether they act on those criminal urges, the very fact that they even think, for one second, that it would be a good idea to rape a child makes them a danger.

    Lock them up in the general population, and let nature take its course.

  • wmdkitty

    Yes, yes, let’s not punish kiddie-diddlers and rapists for their CRIMES… *rolleyes*

  • wmdkitty

    Treatment doesn’t work. We tried that up here in WA, and guess what the baby-rapers did after completing “treatment” and being released?

    Yup. Raped more babies.

  • Jordan Olsen

    “Pedophilia is not a crime. Child molestation is a crime.” YES. However, the rest of the interview (here: is still TERRIBLE. He clearly says that if someone is abused by a pedophile, they are mentally ill and thus not criminally responsible if they then abuse a child. When Dolan calls him on it he gets defensive, but later takes the position again.

    While sad that they were abused, a victim who becomes an abuser is just that; a criminally culpable abuser. Comparing this to someone who is not competent to stand trial is a load of BS as the child abuser still knows right from wrong.

    Read the entire interview, it is illuminating (and infuriating) for a number of other reasons.

  • wmdkitty

    After reading your disgusting defense of pedophilia, I can only assume you speak from personal experience…

  • Jordan Olsen

    “Pedophilia is not a crime. Child molestation is a crime.” YES. However, the rest of the interview (here: is still TERRIBLE. He clearly says that if someone is abused by a pedophile, they are mentally ill and thus not criminally responsible if they then abuse a child. When Dolan calls him on it he gets defensive, but later takes the position again.

    While sad that they were abused, a victim who becomes an abuser is just that; a criminally culpable abuser. Comparing this to someone who is not competent to stand trial is a load of BS as the child abuser still knows right from wrong.

    Read the entire interview, it is illuminating (and infuriating) for a number of other reasons.

  • C Peterson

    Correct, we should not punish people with mental illnesses who commit crimes because of those illnesses. We should treat them, and where we are unable to treat them, we should remove them to a situation where they pose no danger to others.

    I expect that in a hundred years people will look back on our punishment of people like this as being as morally objectionable as slavery or laws against homosexual behavior.

  • Jordan Olsen

    Pedophilia is “short hand” for for a condition in which an adult has a primary sexual attraction to prepubescent children.

    Child rape is “short hand” for child rape.

  • wmdkitty

    Big differences, there.

    Slavery took a whole class of people and deemed them inhuman and used them as farm animals. Harmful.

    Homosexual behaviour is 100% harmless, and should not be legislated against.

    Pedophilia, by its very nature, involves criminal behaviours against children. It is, therefore, inherently harmful, even if it isn’t being acted on, because the baby-raper WILL cave to his urges, and he WILL prey on children. This is not an “illness”, and these subhuman wastes of DNA deserve nothing more than a bullet to the brain. Followed by a second bullet, just to be sure.

  • indorri

    This is the problem with inconsistent terminology because I thought when you said “pedophile”, you meant (as you state) “those with pedophilic tendencies”, but it seems you meant what I term “child abusers”. In that front, your suggestion is actually more lenient than what I usually see from most people. That’s why I explained the issue about pedophilia being about consent, because I wrongfully thought you were going with the “pedophiles are icky people who think kids are sexy, what’s wrong with them, lock them away!!11″ angle.

  • C Peterson

    No difference at all, I think. Each case involves people who are as they are through no action of their own or through mechanisms outside their control.

    Most people now see homosexuality as harmless, but it was not always seen as such, and was therefore treated as illegal.

    Pedophilia, of course, does not involve criminal behavior. When sufficiently severe, it may push people into acting in a criminal way. But we recognize the concept of extenuating circumstances, and don’t always punish criminal behavior.

    Your belief that pedophilia is not an illness flies in the face of the opinions of most experts in psychology, and I see your view as little different from those who make the same claim about homosexuality.

    I do not seek to use the illness of pedophilia to excuse the act of child molestation, simply to recognize that punishment is not the appropriate way of dealing with it.

  • indorri

    I do not think it is appropriate to put a bullet in the brain of anyone who has deviant thoughts. Frankly, advocacy of murder sounds significantly more dangerous than a bunch of guys who have urges we find disgusting.

  • Feminerd

    I disagree. People can have urges they know are wrong and don’t act on. If the stigma were less, people could set up a network of support around themselves and if they started to slip at all, those friends would help pull them back. Anorexics do this sometimes- they have early-warning friends who point out signs of relapses and help support the person in their efforts to eat. People with other mental illnesses do this too. Not everyone with pedophilia will in fact objectify, sexualize, and/or rape children, just as not all heterosexual males will objectify, sexualize, and/or rape women.

  • Feminerd

    You’re talking about people who have already committed crimes. People who commit sex crimes are notorious for having very high recidivism rates. That’s not what Pseudonym or C Peterson is talking about. They’re talking about people who are sexually attracted to children and don’t act on that attraction.

  • indorri

    He seems to significantly downplay it. It’s not my opinion that whether someone is a pedophile or not should come into play when considering their culpability. I don’t see the issue as “he wants to bugger a child!1, but he’s just a poor sick puppy”, I see it as “he took advantage of a position of power to abuse someone”. That holds both for those who are pedophiles and those who aren’t. The majority of these cases, I would imagine by the nature of being a priest, involves a marked use of power to have achieved what they did. The circumstances around addressing that are not the same as addressing someone being attracted to little Timmy.

  • C Peterson

    I think society would suffer far greater harm from adopting a system where we punish or lock away people for what they might do than it ever would for what they actually do.

    Preemptive punishment is utterly unethical and unacceptable in my view.

  • indorri

    Messy language makes for messy thoughts. I don’t say that as a platitude, I think it’s aptly demonstrated here. Equivocation and poor map/territory resolution just results in confused communications. Pedophiles are a distinct class from child rapists, just as teleiophiles are a distinct class from adult rapists.

  • C Peterson

    To be clear: I am talking about both pedophiles who have committed crimes and ones who haven’t. In the case of those who have not, I don’t believe they should be punished or compelled into treatment (although I think treatment options should be available). In the case of those who have committed crimes, I do believe they should be treated, monitored, or incarcerated, as deemed appropriate, but not treated as criminals and not punished. There is no justice in that.

  • Avery Thompson

    No no no no NO. There is so much wrong in this post it hurts.

    For a start, pedophilia is not a crime. Pedophilia is defined as a sexual attraction toward children. If you are sexually attracted to children, you are a pedophile even if you have never acted on those impulses.

    If you do act on those impulses (by having a sexual encounter with a child) then you are a child molester. At that point, you have committed a crime.

    There is an important distinction here. Namely that certain thoughts are not illegal, but certain actions are.

    What the archbishop is saying is that people who are arrested for child molestation should be given psychological help instead of simply thrown in a prison to rot. That’s a position I support completely.

    Now, in the interview, he goes on to say that pedophiles who molest children should not be punished at all, because they are not in control of their actions. That’s complete bullshit. Of course, you can’t expect a Catholic priest to get everything right.

    I’ll close by echoing what Pseudonym said earlier. When you equate pedophilia with child abuse, you become part of the problem. You make it more difficult for pedophiles to get the help they need, and thus make it more likely that they will succumb to their illness and actually harm someone.

  • Feminerd

    There I disagree with you too, C Peterson. Rape is rape. Sexual abuse is sexual abuse. It isn’t about sex but about control. Rape or abuse of an adult is a crime, and rape or abuse of a child is no less of a crime. Being attracted to children does not excuse criminal responsibility for abusing them any more than being attracted to grown women excuses criminal responsibility for abusing them.

  • Avery Thompson

    I think what you’re failing to realize is that pedophiles are people. They also have no choice in whether or not they get to be pedophiles. Further, just because they are attracted to children doesn’t mean they ever think “it would be a good idea to rape” them, in much the same way that most heterosexual men are attracted to women, but never think “it would be a good idea to rape” them. And frankly, I’m disgusted at your surprising lack of empathy, and your apparent willingness to imprison people who haven’t committed any crimes.

  • slaq

    I agree that pedophilia is not a crime, but a disorder (and really, it’s only a disorder in the sense that it’s inappropriate to have sex with children, as they aren’t biologically mature enough to give consent.) However, the Catholic Church had done the exact opposite of what you’ve proposed in terms of dealing with child abuse. Instead of trying to stop child abuse before it happens, the Catholic church is content with covering it up after it happens. You can make the argument that we need to stop punishing pedophiles and start helping them (an argument that I agree with,) but that doesn’t change the fact that the Catholic church has consistently ignored, covered up, and in many ways condoned actually child abuse – not just pedophilia.

  • C Peterson

    Rape is rape. Sexual abuse is sexual abuse.

    I don’t think so. These things can be caused by a variety of things, ranging from criminality, to control, to pedophilia or sociopathy.

    I don’t believe there is any justice in punishing those who cannot control their actions, or who cannot recognize that what they are doing is wrong. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t separate such people from society, but to treat them as equivalent to criminals is wrong, and punishing them serves no purpose, as it will not modify their behavior.

  • Feminerd

    And I’m saying there is no such thing as out-of-control pedophilia or sexual attraction. Sexual urges are inherently controllable. There is no such thing as “uncontrollable lust”. Therein lies my disagreement with you.

    Everyone who rapes can control their actions. Everyone who rapes knows what they are doing is wrong or at least, damned well ought to (consent is not a hard concept). Thus, everyone who rapes deserves to be punished.

    Your arguments buy into a crucial component of rape culture- that male sexual urges are somehow too powerful to be controlled sometimes. This places the onus on victims/survivors to ‘tame the beast’ or otherwise prevent their own abuse. That’s utter bullshit in all ways. Pedophilia is a mental illness and people can not and should not be punished for thought crimes or urges. Actual crimes that hurt other actual people? Oh yes, those deserve punishment. Or are you one of those people who (erroneously) thinks rapists are all mentally deviant?

  • NewDawn2006

    I disagree. You first, cannot prove that “all pedos” act on their urges. Second, locking someone away who has not acted on an urge is morally unacceptable. You cannot lock someone up for something they might do. Then we would be living in a “Minority Report” world, and that is not acceptable. There is a court system for a reason. There are psychopaths out there who have never killed anyone and never will ( So we should just lock all of them up just in case? Innocent until proven guilty. Beyond that. Not culpable for possibilities.

  • wmdkitty

    My empathy and compassion are for those who deserve it — the VICTIMS.

  • wmdkitty

    It’s not an illness if it can’t be treated.

    Pedophilia cannot be treated short of lifelong incarceration in a secure facility or death, and thus is not an “illness”, but an absolute moral failure on the part of the baby-raper.

  • C Peterson

    It is a mark of mental illness that people cannot control their actions. To suggest that all sexual urges are controllable, by all people, stands at odds with well accepted psychological understanding.

    Not everyone who rapes or molests children can control their actions. Not all rapists, molesters, or murderers are capable of knowing or feeling that what they do is wrong.

    I am not remotely suggesting that most male sexual urges are too powerful to be controlled. I’m pointing out that a certain number of criminals are incapable of controlling their actions… and true pedophilia (that is, attraction to pre-pubescent children) is a clinically recognized mental illness, which can lead to criminal behavior outside the reasonable control of the perpetrator.

  • Avery Thompson

    Bullshit. Who says that pedophilia can’t be treated? You? Well forgive me if I decide not to take your word for it. And correct me if I’m wrong, but are you advocating murdering pedophiles? Because that’s really not cool. Also, again, pedophile =/= child molester. They are not the same thing. Picture a Venn Diagram. Pedophiles are one circle, child molesters are another. They overlap, but they are not the same thing.

  • Avery Thompson

    What victims? We are talking about people who haven’t harmed any children. These are people who are sexually attracted to children (through no fault of their own) and may never actually abuse a child. From your comments, you are completely in favor of throwing these people in jail, even if they’ve never committed a crime. In this case, the only victims are the people being imprisoned for the crime of making you feel icky.

  • observer

    Oh hell, why stop there, why not go the whole nine-yards in your paranoia and lock up evey adult you suspect is being attracted to children? Sure, some of them may not actually be pedos, but then again, the whole “think of the children!” fallacy wasn’t ment to make a logical point.

  • chicago dyke

    i’m mildly kleptomaniac. always have been. when i was a little girl, and was cute and could get away with it, i’d knick stuff from people’s houses, and if i got caught, i’d act all “cute and silly” and pretend like it was a ‘mistake.’ 9/10 adults gave me a Stern Talking To and i’d promise to never do it again. and i’d do it again, someplace else.

    as i got older, i realized that the Cute Defense wasn’t going to work anymore. i am still really attracted to shiny things that aren’t mine. but i have learned to control my behaviors, and not steal, because as an adult, theft is a crime and crime means fines and/or jail.

    very few adults who engage in sexual activity with minors are unaware of the legal consequences. just as very few murderers, fraud and con artists, or streakers are unaware of the laws banning those activities. there is no reason to place sex criminals in a special category “just sick” and not at the same time “criminal.”

    can mental illness lead to crime? yes. is that an excuse, a reason not to treat as well as punish the offender? no. society falls apart when there are no consequences to criminal behavior. witness what is happening in the world of theft and fraud in the banking industry right now, for example. almost a decade of failing to put fraudulent bank executives in jail has trashed the world economy and shows no signs of slowing that collapse. all because of logic like yours.

    crime must be punished. humanely, of course. but if there are no consequences, we all suffer.

  • Pseudonym

    This thread, despite all efforts to derail it, is about what this guy said, not about stuff the Catholic Church has done. What this guy said, at least as far as we can tell from the snippet above, more forward-thinking than about half the comments here.

  • NG

    I think a lot of you need to listen to an episode of Dan Savage’s Savage Love podcast. There was an episode a few months ago (#231) which featured a call from a man who was, as the episode described him, “a self-loathing pedophile.” I wouldn’t lock up this guy because he hasn’t acted on it and is doing all he can to not act on it. He wants help but is afraid because of the stigma and possible legal repercussions. Some of the responses I’ve read are exactly what he fears.

  • Pseudonym

    As others have noted, you don’t know that this is a fact. The stigma around pedophilia is so strong that we generally don’t know who suffers from pedophilia and who doesn’t until they offend. The ones who rape children are the only ones you know about.

    Let’s make this personal for a moment. What if we had a child who had pedophilia?

    If any of us had a child who had some kind of serious mental illness or psychiatric disorder, I’m certain we’d all try to be as concerned and supportive as we could. I think that’s a given. The degree of shock would, I suspect, depend on precisely which disorder it was.

    We can assume, for the purpose of the question, that the child in question is an adult, has never abused a child, and does not want to abuse a child. We can also assume that you would do the obvious “right things”, like get them into treatment as quickly as possible.

    How would you feel? And how would it feel to know that a large part of society thinks that your child, who has never harmed anyone and does not want to harm anyone, is a monster?

    For my part, I honestly don’t know how I’d feel in that situation. It must be horrible. It was bad enough learning that my daughter has a (fairly mild as these things go) disability.

  • chicago dyke

    the bottom line is that the Archbishop should’ve just kept his trap shut. regardless of the nuances about the distinctions between pedophilia, criminal sexual behavior, and the benefits of incarceration vs therapy, the catholic church as ABSOLUTELY NO AUTHORITY on this matter. at this point, they are criminals guilty of child rape, and covering up acts of child rape, as well as victim shaming and financial fraud to avoid the consequences of sheltering abusive rapists.

    all Catholic leaders should be saying at this point is, “no comment.” anything out of their mouths smacks of the rankest hypocrisy.

  • Feminerd

    C Peterson, you are wrong. Not all sexual urges are controllable by all people (thus why some people masturbate in public due to their illness) but not one study I have ever heard of or read shows any mental illness can lead to uncontrollable rapine or sexual abuse. Every study of even self-admitted rapists and molesters I’ve read shows that they knew rape/molestation was a wrong action. In the case of rape or molestation, their protestations of consent or seduction prove that they understand that sexual contact against the will of another is wrong, they were just unclear how that applied to their case. Murder is in a different category, given the rare but tragic examples of post-partum psychosis, general psychosis, and paranoid schizophrenia that pop up. You simply cannot conflate murderers with rapists, however, because the profiles, actions, and possible mental illnesses for the two groups are very different.

    Your argument is also absurd. If sexual attraction leads to rape and/or sexual abuse, then we would expect to see some evidence of it in the rape statistics. We don’t. What we see is an out-of-control rape culture and distorted view of masculinity, a warped misunderstanding of consent, and a whole lot of rationalizations for “grey rape”. People who are attracted to adults (of either gender) and have high libidos are not more likely to rape. People who are attracted to kids can, and often do, somehow refrain from raping people as well. People who rape are not sick. They have performed criminal actions they knew were wrong and must be treated accordingly.

  • Pseudonym

    And I’m saying there is no such thing as out-of-control pedophilia or sexual attraction.

    While I agree with you for the most part, I don’t know enough about modern thinking on criminal psychology/psychiatry to know whether or not this is true.

    Here’s the bottom line:

    Some people are, by a combination of both nature and nurture, more vulnerable to committing a crime than other people. That’s true no matter what kind of crime it is. In many, if not most, cases, it’s possible to intervene in the lives of these vulnerable people so that they never commit a crime in such a way that it doesn’t violate their civil rights (e.g. locking them away for something they haven’t done).

    There are people who are such a great risk to society that they need to be removed from society. There is such a thing as “criminally insane”. And, of course, it goes without saying that actual crimes, especially crimes against children, should be punished.

    However, merely having a mental disorder doesn’t automatically make someone a danger to society. If such a person has never harmed another person, and does not wish to harm another person, I firmly believe that society should assist that person.

  • Pseudonym

    He seems to significantly downplay it.

    Again, without having read the whole remarks, I should point out that one person’s “downplaying it” is another person’s “discussing a different-but-related topic”.

  • Pseudonym

    One more thing.

    Even if it is an illness (which I don’t believe for one second) [...]

    The word I used was “disorder”, not “illness”. Nonetheless, I’m curious. What do you believe it is?

  • Feminerd

    I agree with you 100%.

  • Pseudonym

    I expect that in a hundred years people will look back on our punishment of people like this as being as morally objectionable as slavery or laws against homosexual behavior.

    In a hundred years, our whole criminal justice system will look archaic and barbaric. But also, in a hundred years, we may have better, proven screening and treatments for mental disorders like pedophilia which makes the need for punishment largely obsolete.

    I think that we will always have a need for separating people from society, if they are a danger (particularly a proven danger) to others. Whether or not we call it “punishment” is largely immaterial.

    I think of the case of “Typhoid Mary”. She was a clear, proven danger to others through no fault of her own, the medical technology of the day had no way of preventing the harm she caused, and she had no apparent desire to change her behaviour. It seems barbaric to us today that she was basically locked up for the rest of her life, but it was understandable at the time.

  • wmdkitty

    It’s a perversion that has no place in society because pedophilia, by its very nature and definition causes a lifetime of physical and mental harm to the children preyed upon.

    Hey, you wouldn’t let a rabid dog run around endangering the neighbourhood. You’d confine that fucker, or put him down. (Of course, ideally, the dog would never have caught rabies in the first place…)

  • Pseudonym

    Not personal experience, but if it helps, my next-door neighbour used to be the head of psychiatry at a very large hospital.

    What got me most interested in this topic, though, was this piece from Australian TV a few years ago.

  • Cory Albrecht

    The do at least take five minutes and post a handful to back up that assertion.

  • rg57

    “no such thing as out-of-control … sexual attraction”

    This is a bad argument, because the same thing was said about gay men not too long ago. In consensual gay sex, one or both participants was regarded as a victim. One or both were regarded as criminal. It’s still that way in many places.

    It was expected that gay men would just have to control their urges, find women, and go straight, or stay celibate. We all know how well that worked out.

    And good grief, even the haters are arguing at the Supreme Court that straight couples (society’s model for ideal adult behavior) are so uncontrollably horny, they can’t stop themselves from creating accidental children.

    If even society’s ideal people can’t control themselves, resulting in unwanted, uncared-for children, why would it be different for those suffering from mental illness?

  • Bad_homonym

    Pedophiles need help. Molesters need severe punishment. The 2 aren’t the same. This priest is missing the point. I think anyone who has these feelings is sick and needs help. Those that act on these feelings need to be locked up indefinately! We don’t want to go down the slippery thought police slope. That’s what the bible preaches!

  • indorri

    This is going to get extraordinarily messy. I’m not certain consensual gay sex was regarded to have “victims” in traditional condemnations. That’s at least one difference: kids are universally regarded as the victim (except for some rather… questionable strains of thoughts from one particular RCC higher-up whose name escapes me at the moment.)

    Now, granted, if we ever get a kid of the rare mindset such that he/she is a) sexually knowledgeable, b) teleiophilically-oriented, and c) impatient and precocious enough to articulate that publicly, shit shall verily fly. But whether such a kid can even exist is up in the air. I suspect most people don’t think it possible.

  • Pseudonym

    Once again, there seems to be a confusion between pedophilia and child sexual abuse.

    Pedophilia is a mental disorder where an adult experiences sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children. That is its definition. No more, no less.

    Pedophilia is not child sexual abuse in just the same way that kleptomania is not theft and alcoholism is not assault. Theft should be punished, but kleptomania should be treated.

  • Aramis

    Given the current state of the Catholic Church, such hair-splitting can only serve to further alienate Catholics from their leadership. The advent of worldwide news and instant access to information is going to spell the end of such repressive institutions, and I can’t say I’m unhappy to see it happen.

    At this point I just wonder who’s giving these bozos enough money to keep afloat.

  • Paul Grimm

    Ok that clarifies it

  • Houndentenor

    Dan Savage has dealt with the issue of how hard it is for such people to get counseling and treatment so they don’t. Not getting counseling of course puts children in far greater harm than helping them deal with the issue so they don’t harm people too young to consent to sex. And sorry but this isn’t just about “bringing down the Catholic Chruch”. People were just as outraged about the Sandusky cover-up at Penn and that’s not a church. That’s just BS. People are outraged because an organization that people trusted betrayed that trust by knowing send someone into their parish they knew would likely commit more crimes like the ones they’d already committed somewhere else. That’s monstrous I don’t care who did it and I’d be just as outraged if school officials, religious or not, did that to kids.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    The big list: Female teachers with students
    Most comprehensive account on Internet of women predators on campus.

    The above consist of 13 pages with multiple women on each page.

  • C Peterson

    Aberrations exist across a spectrum; there’s a fundamental difference between mild kleptomania and severe pedophilia. People with mental illnesses may be nearly fully functional, or severely handicapped.

    I haven’t remotely suggested that pedophiles who act on their impulses not face serious consequences as a result of their actions, only that I consider punishment to be an unjust, brutal, and immoral response to a crime carried out by anyone unable to manage their impulses.

  • C Peterson

    I do think is important to distinguish between a negative action taken against a person in order to protect society, and a negative action taken as punishment. To punish somebody who is not fully responsible for their own actions makes a mockery of justice. If society doesn’t make that distinction, I see it as morally corrupt.

  • beadknitter

    Kleptomania is an illness too, bu its still against the law if you shoplift cuz you have it.

  • HomerThompson

    Is that a serious response? Did you not read my comment. Telling me what the correct classfications are is cute, but you know full well that it blows right past the point. If you accused someone of being a pedofile, you know full and damn well the response would be “I never touch/raped” those kids. If you’re point is that failure to employ proper language can be problematic then congrats, you’ve created a straw man. The point I’m making is that as wrong as it may be in a technical sense, that’s the accepted equivalency. As as such, that’s what the fuck the article talking about. But you already knew. You just wanted to sound smart on this board. You’re the type of person to say in the middle of a bee attack that technically they’re wasps. Fine, but you know good and well, Brainy Smurf, that that’s not the mother fucking point.

  • HomerThompson

    No it’s not. Ask an average person if they think pedophiles are just people who are attracted or if it involves child rape. Stop being so fucking pedantic. You’re so anxious to show everyone how smart you are, you have decided to ignore my post and imagine that I have said something else. THE AVERAGE PERSON DOESN’T KNOW THIS DIFFERENCE. So, since this article wasn’t written in a psychological journal, I would expect common usage. How could you possibly be this disingenuous? And just to cut you off at the knees. I accept your technical definitions, just not their use in order to contrive bullshit theories. In this article, like many, many, many articles on the subject, pedophilia is child rape.

  • wmdkitty

    Dude, your “source” is WND.

    How can you even begin to take it seriously?

  • wmdkitty

    And yet we do in fact lock people up when they present a danger to themselves or others, especially when they’re in such a mental state as to have no understanding of or control over their own actions.

    A pedophile, offender or not, ALWAYS presents a danger to the children around him. We may not know if or when he will offend, but by the time we know he’s offended, he’ll have a trail of broken lives behind him. Each and every one of those molestations and rapes could have been prevented by identifying and incarcerating pedophiles before they ever act out on a child.

  • wmdkitty

    The only “help” a pedophile needs is a pair of handcuffs and a 8×10 cell. For life.

  • ImRike

    They just locked up that policeman who fantasized about cooking and eating women. He is going to prison even though he never acted on his fantasy.

  • wmdkitty

    Precisely — we do lock people up if their fantasy is something that does, in fact, place others in harm’s way.

  • Pseudonym

    Just to be clear, my point was that the organised atheist movement will probably not lead on reforming society’s attitudes to this kind of mental disorder is that it has a huge emotional investment in using society’s mass hysteria about pedophilia to attack the Catholic church.

    You only need to read this very article (you don’t even have to go to the comments!) to see why bringing evidence and reason to the issue of pedophilia isn’t going to happen in organised atheism any time soon. When a Catholic archbishop actually does say something rational and sane about the nature of pedophilia, the knee-jerk reaction is that he must be wrong and clueless because… uhm… because Catholicism, that’s why.

    What I’m definitively not saying is the RCC is the only game in town when it comes to mishandling and covering up of child sexual abuse. There’s plenty of it going around.

  • Edmond

    Why is he saying anything controversial for a believer? The Bible sets no age limit for sex with children. Where does it say not to do this? As long as he checks his moral compass according to Holy Magnetic North, then what’s the problem?

  • Hermann o

    Peadophilia can´t be treated, at least thats what the reasearch at the Charité in Berlin says, they see it as a sexual identity!

  • Bad_homonym

    Except we don’t know if there are any, or perhaps many who live among us without acting on their disorder. If there are, are we to convict them of thought crimes? I’ve thought of knocking over a bank! What should my punishment be? We MUST punish crime but can’t punish thoughts no matter how repugnant.

  • Tim Brown

    Wow. It is amazing so many people who claim to be progressives are advocating thought crime.

  • eccles11

    Try this. I am attracted to asian women. Therefore I ALWAYS present a danger to Asian women around me.

    Rubbish. An attraction does not mean one has no self control.

  • wmdkitty

    Asian women are able to give informed consent. Children aren’t. Children are also in a subordinate position to adults, and easily manipulated.

  • eccles11

    wmdkittys horrible reactionary attitude is precisely why we will be unable to find and treat pedophile UNTIL they have raped. This reactionary attitude means that no pedophile that wants to seek help, because they KNOW there is the chance they might harm someone can do it safely without fear of stigmatisation, and if wmdkitty had his/her/it’s way, incarceration. This will ensure that we only ever know that someone is a pedophile AFTER they offend.

  • wmdkitty

    If it was my child? Fuck ‘em, if my hypothetical child is a danger to others, LOCK HIM UP.

  • eccles11

    Just as a pedophile can ignore the problem of consent, so could I.

    The point is, there is always choice on the part of a potential attacker. Your moral/ethical system is not related to your sexual preference.

  • wmdkitty

    And never mind the children that are preyed upon while you sit here wringing your hands and going, “but we can’t know for sure“.

  • eccles11

    Never mind the children that WILL be preyed upon, because those who have those urges will never be able to seek treatment for their condition until AFTER they offend.

  • wmdkitty

    And some thoughts are so inherently dangerous, regardless of intent, that they must be punished.

    If you plan a murder, you can be charged with a crime.

    Likewise, if you find children “sexy”, you should be locked up for life.

  • wmdkitty

    Oh, the ones preyed upon because YOU insist on enabling these sick fucks? The ones that wouldn’t be preyed upon if we identify and preemptively incarcerate the baby-rapers?

    Fuck you and your high horse. Pedophiles, “active” or not, are 100% inherently dangerous, and need to be locked up before they ever lay one greasy finger on a child.

  • eccles11

    How would we identify these people? In your dytopian thoughtcrime ideal society, What kind of person would ever let it be known that they have a problem? The answer is: they wouldn’t. They would keep it inside, never disclose to another, never seek treatment.

    The only way we would be able to identify a predator is once they have already harmed a child.

    You boneheaded reactionary idealism will cause more harm than it would help.

  • Agrajag

    This article is very poor. Pedophilia is not a crime, this is a plain fact. In general I would like to think that most atheists are opposed to thought-crime. Generally speaking there are no thoughts or emotions that by themselves are crimes.

    You’re only punished for what you do — and in extremely rare cases where other concerns trump free speech, for what you say. Never for what you think, or for what you feel.

  • Aramis

    EXACTLY. These idiots are behaving with callous insensitivity at best, and with criminal negligence at worst. We’ve proven many times their outright complicity with rapists and abusers. The best option really is just to shut up about it. But like the Republicans just can’t stop jabbering about rape and abortion, Catholic priests just can’t stop talking about pedophilia. It’s so self-destructive it boggles the mind.

  • slaq

    …Except this guy is an archbishop, a representative of the Catholic church. It’s entirely possible that his comment had nothing to do with trying to justify actions taken by the Catholic church, and is instead simply him voicing his opinion on a social and medical issue, but I tend to doubt it.

  • Georgina

    An alcoholic, who has been on the wagon for years, should not be incarcerated for a possible DUI they might commit one day.

    We need to stop throwing out the -phile and -phobia labels as though they were hair colours.

    A child rapist should be shot, basta.
    A person who fantasises about sex with children but does not touch a child, is guilty of nothing at all.

    Not every window-shopper is a thief.

  • indorri

    It is a serious response because it actually matters, no matter how much you wish to accuse me of intellectual snobbery by pointing it out. I care because it’s the same crap that gets people saying atheism is religion, Wicca is Satanism and abortion is murder. Words matter and no amount of flailing around, ad-hominim and psuedo-anti-intellectualism is going to change that.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Right. Let’s just lock them all up. That still leaves us with the small problem of figuring out which ones don’t want to act on their urges and won’t as opposed to the ones who do act on their urges, who are easy to identify. Even in the “Minority Report” they eventually figured out that putting people in jail for crimes that they might do is wrong.

    As a man, some people consider me a potential rapist. Why not put all the men in prison, then? How can you tell, ahead of time, which ones will act on their urges and which ones won’t? How can you tell which ones even have those urges?

  • The Other Weirdo

    What difference does that make? A pedophile can, but I don’t that he must necessarily must, ignore consent. So can a man ignore consent in regards to a woman legally capable of giving or withholding one. Let’s lock away all potential rapists.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Point them out, then.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Today it’s pedophiles. Yesterday it was Satanic Ritual Abuse. The day before it was witches. All are moral panics, and none are a good way to legislate.

  • The Other Weirdo

    That’s what Jesus said.

    Thought crimes. Really? How very… dictatorial of you.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Your enthusiasm for burning witches alive is at 10. We need it at 1.

  • The Other Weirdo

    What defines a crime?

  • The Other Weirdo

    Apparently, given the comments on this thread, I would say at least some atheists are perfectly a-okay with throwing people in jail for thought-crimes.

    And they say the old ways are done. Ha!

  • The Other Weirdo

    No. The actual theft is against the law. It should be, and it should be punished when it occurs. Kleptomania is not against the law.

  • John (not McCain)

    You are a danger to civilization and should be locked up forever.

  • Steve Bowen

    You could argue that sans free will nobody is morally responsible for anything ever. But you would still have to have punishment as deterrent even if rehabilitation was part of the package.
    As for WMDKitty I’m not sure that ze has thought the argument through. For one thing the judgement that all paedophiles are an unqualified danger to children can only be based on the subset of paedophiles who have actually proved to be a danger. As paraphilias go I suspect it is more prevelant in the general population than would be assumed by numbers of child abusers alone but closet paedophiles are never going to out themselves, so we just can’t know.

  • John (not McCain)

    My empathy and compassion are for those who deserve it – people who have to be around you.

  • John (not McCain)

    It’s not an illness if it can’t be treated? You really are stupid. I guess my dad’s untreatable lung cancer wasn’t an illness.

  • baal

    “Lock them up in the general population, and let nature take its course.”

    I upped your recent comment that rape isn’t an appropriate punishment in a different thread today. Here, however you’re ok with rape and/or murder as tools of punishment. It seems somewhat inconsistent.

    Pro-forma comment on OP; Doesn’t the RCC have PR firm? They look like hell when they are apologists for child molesters. They are incompetent at controlling their message. And who knows, maybe if they get in practice of not being monstrous in public, they might learn to be less monstrous in private.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    It is a simple list instead of me posting 50 different articles.

  • Bad_homonym

    Ok. For lack of better solutions. Lets lock em all up! Who are they? As I pointed out we don’t know if there are zero activity abusing Pedos out there or 10% or 80% of the population. How do you propose we start? Your solution fails before you get out of the gate, unless you want hitleresque paranoia to dictate who goes!

  • HomerThompson

    But even now, you ignore the point. There seemed to be some questions about delving into thought crimes and how people merely felt. No one in common parlance imagines a pedophile unconnected to the physical action. Thus, that is the definition that this article is using. So please, tell me how what you’re saying is relevant to that point. Again, I’m not saying you’re wrong. It’s just a non sequitur.

  • Feminerd

    What matters on this sort of question is not absolute numbers but rate of abuse. Each instance of abuse is individually awful, but what is the chance a female teacher will abuse one of her students? How does that compare to other rates of abuse by other gender/profession combinations?

    I only (briefly) looked at the first page. There were 12 names there, so if there’s 13 pages and all are similar then there’s ~156 women named. I could not find data for only high school teachers (assuming the first page is representative, these women almost exclusively abused teenagers instead of prepubescent children), but I did find gender breakdowns for teachers in the US. There were ~3.7 million primary and secondary school teachers in the US in 2007-2008. 76% of them were female, for ~2.8 million female teachers in the US at that time. The first page pulled data from over five years (ranging from 2005 to 2010), so assuming an even distribution of assaults per year and that abusers hurt more than one child or abused children for more than one year, that all women were guilty, and that this list is comprehensive, that means ~30 teachers per year.*

    That comes out to a 0.005% predator rate among all female primary and secondary school teachers. From an AP article about this issue; “Like Lindsey, the perpetrators that the AP found are everyday educators—teachers, school psychologists, principals and superintendents among them. They’re often popular and recognized for excellence and, in nearly nine out of 10 cases, they’re male.”** So if 156 women represent 10% of predators, there are ~1560 male predators out of 880,000 male teachers. That means ~1.7% of male teachers are sexually abusive to a student.

    Given a male teacher and a female teacher, it is almost 1000x more likely the male teacher is an abusive pedophile. The chance is low for both of them, but this surely does not count as a primarily female problem.


  • Houndentenor

    No, atheists will probably not be better on this than anyone else. The very idea of children being abused is appalling to atheists as well as theists. But let’s not pretend like the reason that the Catholic Church is being attacked for its crime is simply anti-Catholic bigotry. That’s the claim Catholics often make while refusing to demand that their church cooperate with local authorities to try and convict the people who committed the crimes. The church’s crimes are two-fold, 1) allowing the crimes to occur and re-occur without taking the rather obvious steps to prevent them and 2) covering up for the crimes to shield criminals from prosecution. Those crimes go all the way to the top of the church so let’s not pretend that the RCC is the victim here. I don’t know what’s hysterical about demanding that the church acknowledge it’s own crimes and then accept the punishment for those crimes. I’d expect no less from any other person or organization.

    Yes, there should be some help for people who are inclined to harm others but wish not to. Currently there’s not and that makes it more likely that children will be harmed. I see the irrationality of the current system. And there are people who see it and would like to do something. Yes, people freak out over the very idea, unless of course it happened in their own church in which case more often than not they blame the victim and defend their priest, bishop or cardinal. You’re shifting blame and It’s not helping you make your case.

  • Houndentenor

    Not that this is a good comparison, but it’s the best one I can think of…My sister is an alcoholic. She’s a good person but she really needs not to drink (there’s not much liver left and a relapse could kill her…it almost did a few years ago). So while she is doing very well and might not drink any liquor I leave lying around, I’m not about to leave any out for her if I can help it. For the same reason, if someone is inclined to harm children, they should not be allowed around children. Perhaps they could control their impulses and perhaps not but we shouldn’t take that chance. Children are far more valuable than a fifth of vodka, after all.

  • David Benjamin Patton

    Exactly what physical harm is damaging for a lifetime? If a child is constantly told over and over they have been harmed and are now ‘damaged’ then they all too often will believe it whether it is accurate and true or not. To me that can be just as abusive to a child, if not more, than the initial sexual contact with a pedophile. Sex is not always about rape so why should all sexual contact with a pedophile be rape? Pardon the graphic language of my post but I fail to see how giving a pre-teen a blowjob would be ‘damaging’ for a lifetime. Effectively dealing with sex and sexuality in a healthy and adult manner would go a long way to eliminating a lot of the stigma and fears people have. That said, again, I am not confusing all sexual contact with a pedophile with the act of rape but trying to put a little more of the topic in perspective without the wild panic and hyperbole of wmdlitty’s posts.

  • David Benjamin Patton

    So do we punish a 35 year old for coercing or manipulating a 25 year old into having sex? The same as we would punish a 35 year old – or 25 year old – for coercing or manipulating a 12 year old into having sex?

  • David Benjamin Patton

    But what is consent? How does being 15 and one day shy of 16 equal being ‘incapable of consent’ to being capable of consent the very next day at 16? What defines true consent other than the say-so of law?

    (The age 16 was chosen at random for an example to my question because the age of consent in Washington, DC is 16.)

  • Wren

    That is completely outside the point that eccles11 was making.

  • Wren

    And exactly how do you plan to identify them?

  • Feminerd

    We assume a 25 year old has the capacity to consent to sex, whereas a 12 year old does not. Any sex with a 12 year old is unacceptable, while sex with a 25 year old may or may not be problematic. So while the burden of proof is much, much higher when the victim/partner is 25 years old, coercing someone into sex is, by definition, rape. Manipulating them into sex might be rape depending on the circumstances, which can come out during an investigation and, if the evidence is sufficiently convincing, a trial. Rape was, last I checked, a criminal offense deserving of punishment.

    Is raping a child a worse crime than raping an adult? My visceral reaction is yes, and we do punish it more severely. Given more thought on a rational instead of purely emotional level, I’m not sure that’s how it should be, but that is how it is and I’m not advocating changing it either. However, raping anyone is not acceptable.

  • Pseudonym

    George W Bush was a representative of the United States.

  • Pseudonym

    To be fair, there’s a crucial difference. Pedophiles actually exist and child sexual abuse really happens.

  • Pseudonym

    But what is consent?

    Why is travelling at 50 on this road legal, while 51 is illegal? Why is an 18 year old allowed to vote, or buy alcohol, but not someone one who is 17 years 364 days old?

    Just looking at speed limits for a moment. What constitutes a “safe speed” at which to drive?

    Well, it depends on weather, the skill/fatigue level of the driver (and of every other driver on the road, something that habitual speeders invariably fail to take into consideration), how well-maintained the road is, the buildings that are built on the road (e.g. the likelihood that a child will dart out of a driveway), and any number of things.

    Just like age is not consent, speed limits are not road safety. They are, at best, a proxy. We need to draw the line somewhere because we need an unequivocal rule which police officers can measure in a standard manner.

    This will inevitably mean that sometimes it’s not safe to drive at the posted speed limit and sometimes it’s perfectly safe to drive over it. Deal with it.

    I should point out that many jurisdictions around the world base their age of consent laws on modern research which interprets the problem as one of power disparity. Where I live, it’s legal (though undeniably problematic) to have sex with a 12 year old if you’re no older than 13. I have an “ick” problem with this, but I can see that it would be a bad idea to prosecute 13 year olds for that.

  • Pseudonym

    Ask an average person if they think pedophiles are just people who are attracted or if it involves child rape.

    In this article, the archbishop in question was using the scientific definition. It’s more than clear from the write-up. Hell, it’s more than clear from the title: “pedophilia is not a crime”.

    But you’ve convinced me. I won’t correct a new ager next time they use words like “energy” or “vibration”, or a creationist next time they use words like “microevolution”.

  • Benny Cemoli

    Define a whole class of people that you dislike as subhuman waste and then advocate putting two bullets in their brain as their punishment. Even if they haven’t done anything illegal.

    Guess it turns out your no better than those slave owners that did the same thing to another whole class of people.

    Or the fundamentalist Muslims that kill homosexuals just for being, well, homosexual and who keep women in a subservient position.

    Or the Nazis.

    I thought atheists were a little better than that. Guess not. :-(


  • indorri

    Because the bishop himself seemed to be trying to conflate the two definitions to excuse child molestation.

    If you get a dude saying pedophilia isn’t a crime, and getting professionals to agree with him since he is, after all, correct, you lose a war of words: you can’t actually deal with pedophiles (the medical definition) as it is because either their “sick fuckers who need to be put down” and thus society is unable to actually effectively manage them since they’re just going to hide, or “dudes who can’t help themselves” which excuses those who are cogent. I suppose I’m of the rarer mindset in which the problem isn’t pedophilia in and of itself, but the misuse of power which child molesters, pedophiles or no, ignore in committing their crimes, and going the route of either “ew, they like kids, get them away from me” (which the conflation of pedophilia with abuse perpetuates) or “they’re just mentally ill, they don’t know what they’re doing!” just masks this issue.

  • indorri

    People are preyed upon all the live-long fucking day by all manner of bastards! I am honestly getting sick of this, kitty, why the hell is your argument not applicable to the general population but you want to use it on a population that stokes your particular moral disgust chimney?

    No, we can’t know for sure. I also can’t be sure you won’t murder anyone in their sleep the minute they look at a kid weird.

  • indorri

    He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder. Part of the trial was, actually, deciding whether he was just fantasizing or actively planning to murder and eat the women.

  • indorri

    Eh, no. While Rind and Ulrich do give some evidence that not all sexual contact between an adult and child results in pervasive long-term harm, a) a rather healthy chunk of them still do, b) there’s still short term harm and c) the evidence itself still has massive limitations. So I’m not willing to say that there are cases of adult-child sexual contact that can’t be considered abuse. Adult-child sexual contact is always abusive for the child.

  • Benny Cemoli

    Wait wmdkitty, in another post you said we should round up all the pedophiles whether they have committed a crime or not and put two bullets in their heads. The first to kill them and then the second to make sure they’re dead.

    Now your advocating locking them up and letting nature take its course.

    Make a decision already.

  • David Benjamin Patton

    How can you be 100% sure it is always abusive in _every_ case for _every_ child? Again being the Devils Advocate how much ‘harm’ can you positively say is from the actual sexual contact and how much is from the stigma surrounding it?

  • Logan Blackisle

    I’d say it has nothing to do with age, and everything to do with your cognitive abilities. If you’re a mentally retarded person (what is the PC version?) then you might not be able to give meaningful consent, even if you’re 50.

    On the other hand, a 14 year old might very well be able to give consent, though I’d still call it abuse if he/she gave it to someone significantly older than him/herself.

    When I went to school – in Scandinavia – we had a visiting teacher give us a single sex-ed class… she told us her first time was when she was 14 – and hadn’t ever regretted it.

    If someone is capable of giving meaningful consent, but not yet fully mentally matured – which I will insist is very possible – then I would argue that the consent has to be given to someone who is likewise capable of giving meaningful consent, but not yet fully mentally matured.

    If one party is fully mentally matured, and the other is not, meaningful consent becomes very hazy.

  • Cory Albrecht

    So out of the 2.4 million female teachers in the USA, all you can do is come up with a Wingnut Daily list of, maybe, 150? Get back to us when you have some real data and not just anecdotes showing maybe 1 in 20000.