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South African cardinal apologizes for remarks on pedophilia

Catholic World News - March 18, 2013

Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier of Durban has apologized for describing pedophilia as an “illness” rather than a “criminal condition.”

Cardinal Napier had told BBC that “from my experience, pedophilia is actually an illness. It's not a criminal condition, it's an illness.”

“I apologize 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. “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.”

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  • Posted by: Thomas429 - Mar. 18, 2013 10:23 PM ET USA

    Pedophilia is a sickness. It is also a crime. It is always a shame when anyone fails to supress their urges. It especially sad when the victims are so young and are in so many cases victimized by those who should be protecting them. This is true in cases other than those that occured in the Church.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Mar. 18, 2013 12:47 PM ET USA

    wvcatholic--You are right. This sounds in so many ways like the tangle that pulled poor Father Groeschel out of public life. Enemies of the Church want it both ways: deny anyone responsibility for their actions and at the same time hold the Church responsible for the criminal actions of its leaders. The disease Bishop Napier is talking about is concupiscence, and no one wants to talk about it.

  • Posted by: wvcatholic - Mar. 18, 2013 10:49 AM ET USA

    He was absolutely correct. Pedophilia is not a crime. Kleptomania is not a crime. Alcohol addiction is not a crime. HOWEVER, rape or sexual abuse IS a crime. Involvement with child pornography is a crime. Theft is a crime. DUI/DWI is a crime. This is an extremely important distinction. In the same manner temptation or psychological disorders are not a sin. Making the choice to act on those temptations is a sin.

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