In Reply to: Re: Re Catholic Church & Abuse/Joseph posted by Rocky on August 18, 2002 at 05:10:34:
Thank you for your post. I agree with you completely.
I thought it was important to make the distinction regarding age of the victims since the press (at least here) has been inaccurate and misleading referring to "Pedophile Priests" because it has two P's so it sounds good when you say it. Besides, ephebophilia is so hard to say and spell, and most people don't know what it means.
According to some of the material I have read on sexual abuse in general is that it in most cases, it isn't the sex itself that is damaging. It is the element of coercion. One person has power or control over the other person, making it impossible to really consent. If there isn't consent, by definition, the act becomes a rape.
This element can be present in adult relationships, for example a supervisor who dates employees. Even if there is attraction present from both parties, it is not an equal relationship.
Under aged people and adults are never in an equal relationship.
It is true that some teens will seek out a sexual relationship with an adult. I think I've engaged in this conversation here, and I know I have over at NDN. My opinion on that matter is that underaged people are off limits no matter what. We live in a society, and the society has rules, and the rules are there for a reason.
The problem is that the criminals in society will never follow the rules. My opinion is that these criminals have to be taken out of the population, even if they happen to be respected members of society, such as Priests.
I think that in the past the Catholic Church has followed protocol. Confession, Penance, Reconciliation, Forgiveness. I suspect that church officials sincerely believed that if the protocols were followed, the person was cured by God. Sending them to another Parish would be fine.
They now know that this isn't the case.
In our society we have already decided that crime should be handled by law enforcement. If a Priest is found to be having sex with a minor, I think that it is a matter for the Police, not for another Priest. Otherwise, there is too much of a chance of developing a "wolves watching the chicken house" scenario.
If you haven't already read the new Charter for Protection of Children and Young People, I have a link below.
The footnote on it is pretty clear as far as how they now define sexual abuse:
"* Cf. c. 1395, §2. Notice that a sexual offense violative of §2 need not be a complete act of intercourse, nor should the term necessarily be equated with the definitions of sexual abuse or other crimes in civil law. "Sexual abuse [includes] contacts or interactions between a child and an adult when the child is being used as an object of sexual gratification for the adult. A child is abused whether or not this activity involves explicit force, whether or not it involves genital or physical contact, whether or not it is initiated by the child, and whether or not there is discernible harmful outcome" (Canadian Conference of Bishops, From Pain to Hope, 1992, p. 20). If there is any doubt about whether a specific act fulfills this definition, the writings of recognized moral theologians should be consulted and, if necessary, the opinion of a recognized expert be obtained (Canonical Delicts Involving Sexual Misconduct and Dismissal from the Clerical State, 1995, p. 6). We also note that diocesan/eparchial policies must be in accord with the civil law."