Paedophilia "not a criminal condition" says Cardinal.

(28 Posts)
NicholasTeakozy Sun 17-Mar-13 12:19:54

Yahoo link. What the actual fuck? What fucking planet is this 'man' living on?

lotsofdogshere Thu 21-Mar-13 08:23:22

What about the many people who were abused in childhood, but make every effort not to repeat this in their own lives. My experience is that there are many good people, who suffered dreadful abuse in childhood, but live their lives determined not to cause suffering to others. I also have experience of far too many people who suffered dreadful abuse, and whilst they have not become sex offenders, they have hurt themselves by using drugs and alcohol to blunt feelings. Given the extent of child abuse carried about by priests, which is now known about, I find it rather scary that this man is in a position of power and influence within the church when his views seem to be, at best, ill informed.

ATJabberwocky Wed 20-Mar-13 12:35:36

I agree that it is an illness, but it is also a crime. To be attracted to children is 100% an illness, but acting on that is a criminal act. I also agree that those who were abused often become abusers. Although the sympathy should be for the victims not the abusers.

I partically agree with the Cardinal's comments, but I also think the media is deleiberatly warping the Cardinal's comments to further scandalize the Catholic church.

Child abuse in any form is a criminal offence.

end of.

greencolorpack Tue 19-Mar-13 09:53:16

Animation that's a good point. They empathise with the perpetrators rather than the victims. Maybe because they are adult single men and priests who can relate to other priests but their own childhoods were far behind them and they don't have families of their own so don't for instance live in a house blighted by a child's traumatic encounter with abuse.

Also being adults if they were victims themselves it was a long time ago and they were maybe told to shut up and get over it, which led to them trivialising their own pain and therefore they can't relate to a more normal human response, ie horror and indignation.

I read a book about children in a very prestigious Catholic school, and boys complained about what was happening to them but their own parents went along with it and told their sons not to make a fuss because the good education they were getting outweighed the parent's concerns about abuse. The past is a different world. but you can imagine those victims saying "stuff and nonsense" about other children facing this, for the it would be a defence mechanism to make sense of their own experience.

Animation Mon 18-Mar-13 15:37:12

What strikes me is that you rarely hear these church leaders focus on the feelings of the kids. Why can't they put all their empathic energies on what it must feel like for them, and want to talk about it, and be filled with righteous concern and indignation here where it belongs

Why can't they say; poor bloody kids .. how horrendous and confusing it must have been for them ..what must they have felt and thought when they were being abused .. how do we help them get over it .. what can we do to stop it happening and ruining more precious childhoods ..

Just change the focus a bit instead of of making ineffectual inadequate statements like 'it is not a criminal condition' spoken in what I imagine to be a whingy whiny voice. hmm

lljkk Netherlands Mon 18-Mar-13 08:00:27

I suppose Cardinal is an old codger with old-fashioned views. Until about 20 yrs ago interfering with children was seen as a temporary bad habit/abberation like other criminal behaviour (drunk & disorderly, shoplifting, fraud, etc.). Something that you could repent and permanently leave behind if you sincerely wanted to change. It's only in last 2 decades that we think of paedophilia as a life-long affliction that can't be cured and has high risk of recidivism.

Let's suppose that sexual attraction to children is innate & maybe natural.
But it's obviously undesirable, not least because children can't give informed consent.

I think most healthy individuals could compartmentalise those urges and decide "I am not going there." It's when they're twisted up inside in other ways that it warps & they become predators. I imagine this accounts for the majority of incest cases, too.

That said, I suspect people like Jimmy Saville are just predators, full stop. He chose kids because they were easy targets, not because he especially wanted children.

BertieBotts Germany Sun 17-Mar-13 19:12:30

I think it would be problematic to be sexually attracted to shoes. But at least shoes are inanimate - they don't have nerves or minds, you can have sex with a shoe all you want and nobody gets hurt. It is different if you're attracted to animals or (especially) children. It's impossible to have sex with a child without hurting them mentally or physically.

Perhaps there are a proportion of paedophiles who never act on their desires because they know this and feel compassion, and then perhaps there are a proportion whose deviant sexual desires overlap with sociopathic/psychopathic tendencies and lack of empathy and hence they know that they are causing harm to children but their own gratification is more important.

I've read before about peodophiles who believe that their problem is a valid sexual orientation and that children can consent to sexual activity. This is of course horribly wrong - but I don't believe that society will ever condone this anyway so it's a moot point.

I don't know what the solution is. My gut feeling is that the attraction is probably involuntary, it's just the action or lack of it which is conscious, and either justified through flawed reasoning or not justified at all because they don't give a shit.

seaofyou Sun 17-Mar-13 18:42:12

Good questions...I doubt they are the same it isn't a fetish etc...they are usually have all the psychopathic symptoms too so no remorse, don't feel it was wrong, no empathy, implusive etc

Yes making them comply with treatment or return to prison is a good barginning tool. But after a few years of supervision it can be laxed and the risk opens up again. The only cure is for them to be locked away until old and less able as there is no cure and the therapies are difficult and costly to carry out successfully. Mind you so is prison or forensic placement!

hiddenhome Sun 17-Mar-13 17:49:02

What I find difficult to understand, is how people consider that other sexual attractions are natural, but not attraction to children. Surely, people are attracted to all kinds of things, children just being one of them. Of course, their actions should be illegal because it is abusive to act upon their impulses and children suffer, but are paedophiles any different to people who are attracted to: animals, shoes, food, excrement etc.? If people who wish to have sex with high heel shoes aren't regarded as mentally ill then why should paedophiles be regarded as being mentally ill either?

Is paedophilia just another type of sexual attraction?

I'd just like to add that I in no way condone the actions of anybody who abuses children and that I think they should receive drugs to kill their sex drive and imprisonment as a punishment for sex abuse/rape.

Personally, I think that this issue should be addressed before people who do feel this way towards children start shouting that their 'rights' should be respected sad

seaofyou Sun 17-Mar-13 17:32:01

It is a mental disorder/personality Disorder that can be diagnosed by a psychiatrist under diagnostic Manual DSM and ICD.
So he is right saying it's Mental Health, however not a Mental Illness where the person is unattached with reality and not responsible for their actions. They are responsible for their actions and often know they should not but the complusion/thoughts/behaviour take over.
Their is no cure and locking them up is the best for themselves and society. Their is no cure, although CBT and ABA is used with sexual arousal lowering drugs can be used and law and forensic input.

edam Sun 17-Mar-13 13:34:12

Strange that the compassion of those who hold high office in the Catholic church always seems to be directed to those in their own ranks who cause the innocent to suffer. And not to, for example, a pregnant woman who was killed by negligent clinical care based on Catholic teaching.

ArtexMonkey Sun 17-Mar-13 12:57:59

Wow it's nice they can be so compassionate about the sexual behaviour of people who were abused as children. The magdalene laundries didn't close till 1996, plenty of their inmates had been abused, where was this dude then?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 17-Mar-13 12:49:35

He did actually say that they are ill and not criminal. Idiot. What he's missing, of course, is that the two - mental illness and criminality - are not mutually exclusive. Psychopaths have a severe mental impairment but we have no hesitation in putting them behind bars.

tribpot Sun 17-Mar-13 12:49:07

Yes, he saying those abused as children are more likely to abuse as adults. Which is also true of the perpetrators of domestic violence. And of course other anti-social behaviour like drug addiction.

However, nothing changes the fact that adults choose to do things which are either bad or against the law or both. There may be definite links to events in childhood, there may not be. They still choose - and must be dealt with accordingly.

This is an area where the church would do well to stay quiet, in my opinion. They certainly have no moral authority in the official handling of abuse conducted by their own staff, and no actual authority given it is a psychiatric/legal question.

lljkk Netherlands Sun 17-Mar-13 12:47:36

It's a very Catholic view, very compassionate, to believe in the possibility of redemption no matter how terrible the crime. Rather unfashionable nowadays, especially with regard to child sex offenses. Catholic church gets it in the neck, too, for being against the Death Penalty.

BertieBotts Germany Sun 17-Mar-13 12:47:02

Yes - actions are illegal. Thoughts aren't. We don't know if the actual thoughts/attraction/fetish of paedophilia is involuntary - I would assume so? Most people don't choose whether they're attracted to feet or leather or BDSM or much older people or multiple sexual partners or whatever. However it's still possible to choose not to act on this, for most things it's possible to act on your fetish consensually, but if your fetish/attraction/whatever is something which can't involve consent then surely you still have the choice not to act on it. I'm sure that there are people who are aroused by the idea of BDSM but choose not to practise it because they are concerned about consent or for political reasons. You can be attracted to a stranger and tempted to have sex with them but decide not to because it would hurt your spouse.

Children can't consent and so it's always wrong to do anything sexual towards them. Child abuse causes huge amounts of mental damage. Even paedophiles know this. It's not a defence. "But I really really wanted to" is not a defence. If you can't indulge your particular fetish consensually, then you don't indulge it at all.

Shallishanti Sun 17-Mar-13 12:46:55

mmm, but what he says is true, some people who are abusers were themselves like someone said you MUST be damaged to do something like that. Which doesn't absolve them but deserves thinking about.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 17-Mar-13 12:41:13

He says that some of them don't deserve to be punished. That's where I would most strongly disagree.

Shallishanti Sun 17-Mar-13 12:39:22

surely that's what he said- the feeling may be an illness, to act on it is criminal.
I feel quite sorry for him really, though in his position (an authority in an organisation that has turned a blind eye to this crime) was a bit stupid.

mellen Sun 17-Mar-13 12:38:33

It doesn't seem like that article adds anything to anyones understanding of the issue, and as trills has said there doesn't seem to be any particular reason to view this man as any kind of authority on the topic anyway.

Trills Sun 17-Mar-13 12:36:29

But really there is no reason to listen to this man - he is not an expert, he knows no more about it than any other random person.

Trills Sun 17-Mar-13 12:35:59

The feeling may be an illness, but the act is still a crime. I do not believe that the illness is one that removes criminal responsibility.

Animation Sun 17-Mar-13 12:35:08

Sounds like a big rationalisation to me.

Abuse is abuse - and those who want to abuse kids are abusers. Criminal

These guys though cannot be taken seriously - why would anyone listen to what they have to say.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 17-Mar-13 12:33:34

His argument appears to be that the state of being attracted to children is an illness, or something that went horribly wrong with your wiring or is a sign of damage or your own abuse and therefore is not a choice to commit a crime in the same way that, say, burglary is a choice to commit a crime.

That part of it is bollocks, if he is saying that the act should not be treated as a crime but an illness. Because if someone is attracted to children, they still know that it is a crime to act on that attraction and make a choice to do so or not and they should be treated as the criminal they are for that action. They're still choosing to do it, knowing that it is illegal. Why should they not face the consequences of that choice? You can't think only of them, you have to prioritise their victim and think of their need, their right to see justice.

A person may not be able to control the group they feel an instinctive attraction for but they can sure as hell make sure they do nothing about it!

Trills Sun 17-Mar-13 12:28:01

Or perhaps it's just a gut reaction - surely nobody in their right mind would do something like that - therefore anyone who does do something like that is by definition not in their right mind and needs medical help.

Either way, being "a cardinal who helped elect the new pope" is hardly qualification to speak on matters of mental illness or criminal responsibility.

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