Cardinal apologises for paedophilia remarks
Wilfrid Fox Napier sorry for saying paedophilia an illness
South African Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier. He apologised today for offending victims of child abuse when he described paedophilia as an illness and not a crime in a media interview.
A South African cardinal today apologised for offending victims of child abuse when he described paedophilia as an illness and not a crime in a media interview.
Victims' rights groups and others said the comments by Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, the Catholic Archbishop of Durban, comments were insensitive, especially given perceptions the Catholic Church has not done enough to root out abuse.
"I apologise sincerely and unreservedly to all who were offended by the botched interview, and especially to those who have been abused and need every help and support that the Church can give," Cardinal Napier said in a statement.
"From my experience, paedophilia is actually an illness. It's not a criminal condition, it's an illness," he had said.
He also told the BBC he knew of at least two priests who became paedophiles after they were abused as children and therefore required treatment, not punishment.
"That's when the wheels came off. I now stand accused of saying that paedophilia is a mental condition or disorder and not a crime," he said in his statement.
"Child sexual abuse is a heinous crime among other things because of the damage it does to the child. In that concern I include the abused who has become an abuser."
One prominent South African presenter, Justice Malala, named Cardinal Napier "loser of the week" on his television show and said the Cardinal's remarks were an embarrassment to Catholics.