Cardinal apologises for saying paedophilia not criminal

Cardinal Wilfred Napier of Durban has apologised for describing paedophilia as a “psychological disorder” and not “a criminal condition” that deserves punishment.

The cardinal had told BBC Radio 5 live that people who were abused as children and became paedophiles were not criminally responsible for their actions in the same way as somebody “who chooses to do something like that”.

After victims’ groups and others said the comments were insensitive, the South African cardinal apologised.

“I apologise sincerely and unreservedly to all who were offended by the botched interview, and especially to those who have been abused and need every help and support that the Church can give,” he said in a statement.

“Child sexual abuse is a heinous crime among other things because of the damage it does to the child. In that concern I include the abused who has become an abuser.”

In the BBC interview, Cardinal Napier spoke of two priests he knew who were abused as children and went on to become paedophiles.

He said: “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 when he was himself damaged.”

The cardinal’s comments brought immediate criticism from Barbara Dorries, who as a child was abused by a priest and now works for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests in Chicago.

She 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.”



Daily Mail

Image: The New Age

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