Cardinal Napier, a South African Bishop involved in the recent papal conclave has announced that pedophilia is a medical condition and should not automatically result in prosecution. He shared this nugget on Radio 5 Live this evening, and I hope that news agencies around the world give it wide coverage. I listened to the interview, and I found it darkly disturbing, and proof positive that nothing warps morality like religion.
Consider what his words imply. Imagine you are a nine year old alter boy repeatedly raped over the course of six weeks by a predator priest. Would being told that your suffering does not merit a prison sentence for the offender seem to you like justice?
Is the Cardinal really saying that child rape is not a crime? Is he saying that the violation of innocents is something the law should turn a blind eye to? Apparently yes.
What more needs to be said? The sheer level of ignorance at the heart of the Catholic Church has been laid bare for all to see. And perhaps what troubled me above all was that the Cardinal at no point even mentioned the plight of the victims. He did not acknowledge them, or show even the slightest trace of empathy. Instead his compassion appeared weighted towards the offenders, and he spoke at length as to how they might be rehabilitated.
As I write this I am still listening to the show, and numerous victims and even some offenders have been calling in to share their stories. The Cardinal is enjoying universal condemnation for his cold abdication of morality, and one has to wonder what the future holds for him? Can he really be entrusted with responsibilities given his flagrant inhumanity? Can his diocese back in South Africa have any confidence that he would put the plight of the abused above the reputation of the church? I sincerely hope that the Vatican is quick to condemn Cardinal Napier, and perhaps remove him from his post. His ignorance, his callous disregard for victims renders him unfit for the role required of him. I suppose I could use this incident to further emphasise my contempt for religion, but in all honesty there is nothing I can add that would further sully it. Whenever I think it has hit bottom something occurs that provides additional proof that organised religion still has further depths to plumb.
Let's just hope that the destruction is of the internal variety. God forbid that further children should suffer in its wake.