Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, one of the 115 in the Vatican conclave who elected Pope Francis last week, is getting attention on Monday for controversial comments about a scourge that’s tarnished the image of the Catholic Church: pedophilia.
He reportedly told BBC Radio 5 on Saturday that pedophilia was a “disorder” that needed to be treated, “not a criminal condition.”
Well, you don’t have to be a religious or legal authority to get your head around the idea that it could be both, right? And we can think of one group of people for whom this distinction doesn’t make an ounce of difference: the children who are victimized. From Reuters:
“From my experience, pedophilia is actually an illness. It’s not a criminal condition, it’s an illness,” he said.
Napier said he knew of at least two priests who became pedophiles after they were abused as children.
“Now don’t tell me that those people are criminally responsible like somebody who chooses to do something like that. I don’t think you can really take the position and say that person deserves to be punished. He was himself damaged.”
Read more at Reuters.