One of the 115 men who helped elect Pope Francis this past week caused something of a stir recently when he suggested that pedophilia should not be considered a crime.
In an interview with BBC 5 Radio, Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, the Catholic Archbishop of Durban, said that pedophilia was "a psychological condition, a disorder.” And while the South African leader agreed that a ‘normal’ person who broke the law needed to be punished, he argued that pedophiles being mentally ill should exempt them from facing the same consequences for their actions.
"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," he said.
During the same interview, Cardinal Napier admitted that he knew at least two priests who became pedophiles because they had been molested as children.
In related news, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles reached a $10 million settlement with four victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by a former priest. For what it’s worth, though, that relatively paltry sum doesn’t even begin to compare to the $115 million Cardinal Roger M. Mahony was accused of redirecting from cemetery maintenance to pay off child sex molestation victims.