Book Takes a Scientific Look at Pederasty

Includes Minutes of Conference Called by Pontifical Academy

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 23, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Pontifical Academy for Life presented a new book covering scientific questions and answers on the phenomenon of pederasty within the Church.



The book, "Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: Legal and Scientific Perspectives," includes the minutes of the study-conference on "Abuses of Children and Youths by Catholic Priests and Religious," called by the pontifical academy last April.

The book, published by the Vatican Press and coordinated by experts Manfred Lutz, Karl Hanson and Friedemann Pfafflin, will go on sale at the end of March, after being distributed to the presidents of bishops' conferences worldwide.

Lutz, a German theologian and psychiatrist and member of the Academy for Life, helped organize the study-conference held in the Vatican.

He clarified during today's presentation that the new book is not a report of the academy. Rather, it is a collection of writings of scientists who were asked to give their opinion, he said.

There are not many scientific experts on pedophilia, since the crime is often hidden by the perpetrators, according to the summary of Lutz's address reported on Vatican Radio.

Nor are there unanimous answers to the problem of pederasty, Lutz said. The book has guaranteed the "maximum freedom of expression" to all who took part in the work, he explained. Among the authors are eight non-Catholic.

There has been "no interference on the part of the Vatican in this book," Lutz stressed on Vatican Radio.

"Naturally, the problem not only affects the sacred ministers," he said. "We know, for example, that it affects 10% of the psychotherapists, as they are also involved in the intimate sphere of persons, and because of this the risk of abuses increases."

The book does not offer "sure answers," as science "is not capable of guaranteeing 100% solutions," Lutz said.

He added: "The problem of pederasty must not be robbed of its importance, nor must the scandal be overloaded at the public level, seeking vengeance without appeal."

Lutz warned of the risks of a "zero tolerance" policy, as the phenomenon of pedophilia might remain submerged, discouraging the guilty from confessing their offenses.