handcuffsOf all the dumb things I've heard public figures say, this one shoots right to the top of the disgusting meter. A Roman Catholic cardinal, one of the guys who actually helped vote Pope Francis into power last week, came out on the radio to announce that pedophilia is not a crime.

While you pull your jaw up  off the floor, allow me to explain. Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier says when someone molests a poor, innocent child, it's really just an illness. And of course, you can't prosecute someone for being sick, can you? Can you?

Oh, folks, you most certainly can.

We prosecute alcoholics for getting into their cars totally blitzed and killing people all the time. We send them to jail, where, yes, they can get rehabilitated for their alcoholism, but we sure as heck send them to jail.

Why?

Because disorders and criminality are not mutually exclusive. If they were, the criminal justice system would be hamstrung by an inability to prosecute a vast quantity of criminals.

Even the "insanity" defense in American courts that may guarantee a "not guilty" verdict often allows for the judge to make provisions for the defendant to be removed from the general population, sending them to a psychiatric facility, for example. It's a chance to treat the disorder, true, but also a means to protect the general population from a criminal.

But the way Cardinal Napier tells it, that's just not fair. Speaking of two pedophile priests who were abused themselves as kids, Napier said:

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.

Damaged? Sure. Sympathetic? Not after they make the conscious decision to hurt another human being, and a defenseless child at that. I'd like to think that a man of the cloth would see the rights of a child here.

It may be an illness that causes pedophiles to prey on children, but the moment they let that illness take control, they commit a crime.

At that point, both have to be dealt with: the "disorder" and the crime. And yes, that means punishment.

What do you think should be done with pedophiles?

 

Image via banspy/Flickr