I guess in some areas I am naive, which given all I’ve seen and done over the years from Seoul to Tangiers strikes me as hardly possible. But I am utterly clueless regarding child pornography and pedophilia in general: I truly don’t get it. I don’t get why this would be of interest to anyone, and from the news reports ranging from the crimes of the Catholic clergy to today’s big roundup of Internet child pornographers in France (one had the good grace to shoot himself as the police arrived), this interest appears to be fairly widespread.
Being an optimist at heart, I also assume that this “interest” isn’t more widespread than in the past, just much better reported and prosecuted, leading to the flood of cases reported almost daily. I know this is nothing new: the ancient Greeks sang repulsive odes to boys, and I remember a teacher telling us to read between the lines concerning an, as she put it, “unnatural relationship” in Canterbury Tales.
But I still don’t get it. It’s more than that: I can’t comprehend it. I feel my stewardship role regarding children to my very marrow and this contradicts that guardianship duty – a sacred duty – in virtually every way. How do people’s psyches get so screwed up?
As a writer and a person with an active, perhaps overactive, imagination, I can at least comprehend the mindset that could lead to all kinds of behaviors I disapprove of, but sexual attraction toward children just strikes me as unmitigatedly sick and vile.
That this kind of behavior is so prevalent among the Catholic clergy, or any other clergy for that matter, is a violation of such totality that I see it as the moral equivalent of murder. What greater betrayal of God and one’s fellow man is there? What greater failing of God’s shepherds? And these people were sheltered by the church for decades? Incomprehensible.
As an optimist, I can hope that the increase in attention and enforcement against this betrayal of nature will lead to its decrease, even abolition; but as a realist I know it isn’t so. I know we can’t make it go away, but I know we can make it as difficult and uncomfortable as possible for adults to enjoy the defilement of children. In my weaker moments, I admit, I want to see those adults dead.