Relativizing Child Abuse

by Fr Dwight Longnecker

Did you think that the one moral certainty in our society that everyone agrees on is the evil of the sexual abuse of children? Think again. This taboo is the next one to fall.
If you would like a lesson in how old Screwtape works take time to read through this article from the UK’s Guardian newspaper.
The piece discusses various studies on pedophilia, and attempts to relativize this horrible issue. Here’s a quote:

”There are a lot of people who say: “we outlawed homosexuality, and we were wrong. Perhaps we’re wrong about paedophilia.”

The journalist doesn’t go so far as to endorse pedophilia. He doesn’t even write sympathetically about pedophiles. Oh no, it’s much more subtle than that. Instead he states that “society’s attitudes change” and “experts don’t agree” and “it’s all very complicated” and “it could be that pedophilia is simply a natural condition that cannot be changed. He opines that it may be one of many sexual orientations, and that we should seek to understand the condition rather than condemn. He goes on to say that certain studies have shown that sexual relationships between adults and underage partners are not necessarily “harmful”.
Quite apart from the actual article itself, it is interesting to see what is going on here. The writer uses contrasting studies by “experts” to confuse his readership about a moral choice which should be transparently easy. Pedophilia in all its forms is wrong. End of story.
The modern relativist, however, is more unhappy with a moral black and white than he is with pedophilia itself. Like a tongue with a broken tooth–he can’t leave it alone. He has to unpack every moral decision and show how “It’s not that easy” and “Its actually very complicated”. This obsession is so complete in our society that the relativist will now even begin to attempt to show us that pedophilia is “a disease” and “a condition”. If it is such, then there is no moral blame and we tolerant people must “try to understand”.
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