The Pedophile Problem

Church Thought

23 January 2019

In recent years the sex abuse challenge has deeply disturbed the consciences of many. This social ill has always existed and its victims are countless. Alas, too often it had been hidden under a veil of almost impenetrable silence.

Both public opinion and penal legislation had not given it due attention for various reasons: in general, children were not given much consideration; it was thought that it would be impossible to prove the crime in courts due to the aura of shameful secrecy and silence surrounding it, with social discrediting of those who have committed it, especially considering the common opinion that the young and vulnerable who are victims of abuse are not credible and have possibly invented everything or are just giving a pedophile interpretation to acts that were mere, if excessive, expressions of affection. Silence weighed down especially on the sexual abuse perpetrated on children in the family home.

Progressively, over recent decades this veil of silence has been removed. The abuse phenomenon has come to light with all its drama thanks to the brave victims who have been able to speak. For example, Italy’s National Listening Center, which abused children can approach, and also the female divisions of the police, and the children’s tribunals. It has also become more visible with the spread of sex tourism and the trading of children online. 

The problem of sex abuse has received further attention as a result of the crimes committed by priests and religious, which have deeply wounded the Church, putting into doubt its credibility, disturbing the trust of many Catholics and causing very serious damage to the Church. In many countries the Church has reacted with great clarity and severity. This journal has reported on these painful facts various times.

This article is restricted to paid subscribers