Saturday, March 22, 2008

New Sins, Pedophilia & Catholicism

I wrote the following letter and emailed it to various nationwide newspapers. The article that sparked my response can be read here:,2933,336330,00.html

To the Editor:

The Vatican lists pedophilia among its newly-added seven deadly sins, and the Pope apparently believes that Catholic priests sexually molest children because they put “trust in themselves and in their own merits,” he said, and are “blinded by their own ‘I,’” – that is, independent thought, pride and egoism made them do it. In reality, however, the causes can be traced to Catholic doctrines.

While I’m not a psychologist, I’m sure an adult’s desire to have sex with children involves many complex causes that even the most rational of psychologists find difficult to understand. Yet, while many non-Catholics molest children, I nevertheless maintain that Catholicism’s views on man and sex contribute strongly to this problem among its practitioners.

Christianity starts with the doctrine of Original Sin, which tells man he is corrupt by nature. Along comes Catholicism to tell him sex is permitted only for procreation among married couples, while maligning sex for an individual’s own rational pleasure, happiness and self-celebration as materialistic, low and devoid of spiritual meaning. And so Catholicism regards certain actions as inherently immoral: pre-marital sex, masturbation, homosexuality and birth control – and only because the Bible or its earthly authorities (the Popes) say so.

Moreover, according to Christian doctrine, man is damned not only for what he does, but also for his thoughts, as when he covets (sexually desires) his neighbor’s wife. Accordingly, a man must repress even sexual fantasy because just the mere (impure) thought is morally indistinguishable from a sexual act. Notice, too, that Christianity’s ideals are Jesus, a man without sexuality, and the Virgin Mary, who conceived him without the alleged stigma of having had sex. Priests and nuns embody these ideals in their vows of celibacy.

Meanwhile, Catholics understandably rebel against such a repressive sexual philosophy, but some of Catholicism’s most devote practitioners, priests, essentially revert to the other false alternative of hedonism. They who try most to adhere to their faith’s contradictory, anti-man, anti-life ideals must fall short of achieving them and, subsequently, feel unearned guilt and low self-esteem – consequences that, I believe, can for some manifest themselves in a attraction for those they can feel some sense of power over: children.

Pedophilia is neither, as some moderns contend, an uncontrollable “diseases,” nor is it the product of independence, pride and egoism – the actual values needed for a healthy sex life. Instead, a pedophile’s thoughts and actions are rooted in his fundamental philosophic premises, and are, in part, among the many tragic consequences of a faith in religious doctrines.

Joseph Kellard
East Meadow, NY

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

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