IN RESPONSE TO THE CRY OF ABUSED CHILDREN
Włodzimierz Rędzioch talks with Fr. Fortunato Di Noto – a Sicilian priest dealing with a fight with pedophilia
Numbers are terrifying! All over the world 140 million girls and 75 million boys fell victims to sexual abuses; 600 thousand children are abused in the business of children’s pornography, which reaches 14 milliard euro. The average age of pedophiles’ victims is 11-14 years, although there are also cases of abusing babies! Most sexually abused children are in the countries like: Kenia, Indie, Philippines, the Republic of Southern Africa, Thailand, Cambodia, but, certainly, it is difficult to find Polish journalists there who are worried by the fate of the underage- they prefer to write mendacious texts from Modlnica, from the family house of Fr. Wojciech Gil. Most media are engaged with searching for single cases of alleged sexual abuses among priests towards children. The example of this type of extremely biased actions is just the witch-hunt against the Polish priest. It is also possible to notice the inconceivable phenomenon – many powerful groups are undertaking an attempt of normalization of pedophilia, acknowledge it as one of many sexual orientations. What is interesting, in domineering media nobody alarms because nobody is outraged by it.
I talk with a Sicilian priest Fortunato Di Noto about these worrying matters, who founded an organization named ‘Meter Onlus’. I have been engaged in this fight with pedophilia, mainly on Internet.
WŁODZIMIERZ RĘDZIOCH: - Priest has been engaged with the fight with pedophilia for years. How did Priest react to the decision of pope Francis about establishing a special commission in order to protect the underage?
FR. FORTUNATO DI NOTO: - The commission established by pope Francis in order to protect the underage is a cry of innocent children, a particular engagement for the sake of those suffering and restoring hope among those in despair. The association ‘Meter Onlus’ suggested organizing the central commission long time ago, which could help episcopates in their work for the sake of children. We also suggested establishing a new pastoral function – a bishop’s vicar for children, who could guard the work of various communities of pastoral dioceses. The Church must always defend the little, weak, poor and abused. And it cannot be silent or hide the evil. The papal commission will be able to coordinate preventive and informative actions well, as well as protection and help to victims.
As it concerns ‘Meter Onlus’, I would like to say that it is 18 years when we have celebrated the Day of Children – Victims of Violence; we meet with bishops, priests and laymen in order to make them sensitive to pastoral ministry and formation of children against abuse; we have participated in 2600 congresses about abuse towards the underage; we have given help to 1200 victims of violence, we have reported about a million of pedophilic websites to suitable authorities (internet police); in 1997, thanks to our efforts the Italian parliament was the first one to submit an application against pedophilia. I think that our biggest merit is protecting many children from abuses and creating a new social consciousness about this phenomenon, also in such far-away countries as China, Japan or Brazil.
– Media imposed a caricature and false picture on people, about a phenomenon of sexual abusing the underage, for which mainly priests would be responsible. At present, when we rarely hear about cases of abuses among priests, we also hear very few cases about pedophilia (or if it concerns priests). Does it mean that the phenomenon of abusing the underage is disappearing?
– That is true that the Congregation of Faith Teaching still deals with the cases of priests who have committed sexual abuse towards the underage, but this phenomenon does not concern only the clergy because it is widely spread and is seen in very worrying aspects. The problem is that very little is said about it.
– Something is said only when there are single cases of sexual abuses revealed, which concern priests which has happened in Poland recently, where a media witch-hunt was unleashed against two Polish priests working in Dominican Republic. Whereas nothing was said, among the others, about the report of the office of the World Health Organization, which reports that 18 million Europeans under the age of 18 are victims of sexual, physical and psychic abuses; 13.4 percent of girls and 5 percent of boys are sexually abused; 850 children die as a result of bullying.
– I wanted to add that it used to be much easier to give data about the phenomenon of pedophilia and sexual abuses towards children. Today Internet made this phenomenon more difficult to control, especially that at present there is the so-called deep web. Anyway, the trade of pedo-pornographic material brings incomes of milliards.
– While the Church is fighting violence and sexual abuse consistently and energetically, in the world strange things are happening which I would like to analyze with Priest. In 2012 the tribunal in Assen in Holand decided to resolve the pedophilic union of Stichting ‘Vereniging Martijn’ because he decided that promoting sexual relations between adults and children is ‘a behavior contradictory with norms and values of the Dutch society’. Last year, however, the appeal court overruled the verdict stating that ‘there is not a danger of a chaos in the Dutch society’. How would Priest comment on the decision of court giving freedom to the association of pedophiles for action?
– I would like to remind that in 2011 – as a result of the report of ‘Meter Onlus’ – an action on a wide scale was carried out, which was aimed against ‘cultural’ pedophilia which was aimed against people and communities demanding normalization of pedophilia. I hope that the decision of a court and a few judges will not be perceived as acknowledgment of pedophilic ideology. These are decisions which do not respect the dignity of children. Pedophilia is perversion of adults whose consequences in relation to children are very serious, and even dramatic.
– In Italy the Supreme Court recommended to consider attenuating circumstances about a 60-year-old man, a worker of a social care house who had sexual relations with a 11-year-old girl under his care. These ‘attenuating circumstances’ were to be the fact that the girl was ‘in love with’ her torturer, and, consequently, we are dealing with a ‘love relationship’. Can the Italian court or anybody else make a decision about legality of sexual relations between adults and children?
– This decision would not comply with the binding state law. Besides, how can one argue that the underage are prepared for conscious and permanent love relationship? Even among teenagers it is impossible to say about any formed affective maturity. This particular case concerned a little girl from a pathological family, so she needed more real love but she was brutally sexually abused.
Finally, we have to ask ourselves the question: is affection enough in order to acknowledge every relationship as legal? It seems to me that various groups are making more and more pressure in order to legalize pedophilia – there have been such attempts for 60 years of the last century, especially in the 80s.
– Speaking about a consent of the underage to relationships with adults, I would like to signalize the fact that an English lawyer Barbara Hewson demands to lower the age of the underage from which such a consent would be expressed, till the age of 13. Is a child at the age of 13 mature enough to express a consent to sexual contacts with adults?
– Can one attorney impose his opinion onto the whole world? I hope that he cannot and I consider the move of the English lawyer as a propaganda trick. Anyway, these are legislations in various countries of the world which establish the so-called age of permission, that is, the minimum age from which a person is acknowledged as able to express a consent to sexual actions with another person. It is generally a higher age and in some countries it is even demanded to reach the age of 18.
Juvenile age is one of the most important periods of human life and in no case, can it be reduced to the sphere of genitals.
– So far I have said about cases connected with the action of the justice administration. I would also like to signalize some facts concerning the world of science. In 1998 in the magazine ‘Psychological Bulletin’ published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), a scientific work appeared in which we will find a suggestion that ‘scientific classifications of sexual behaviours should not consider legal and moral criteria’. Next it is stated that negative consequences of sexual abuse towards children of both sexes are ‘very negligible’ and, anyway, ‘they do not cause long-term negative consequences’. Priest have been cooperating with doctors and psychologists for years – so what does Priest think about these ‘discoveries’ of some American psychiatrists?
– During 20 years of our activity we have given help to over 1200 victims of pedophilia and our experiences show something even contradictory – it has never happened that sexual abuse would not cause permanent and long-term negative consequences. Trauma caused by sexual abuse leaves marks for the whole life. Certainly, consequences of abuse depend on a lot of factors such as: the age of a child, a period of abuse, using violence, a character of a child, a possibility of telling another person about one’s tragedy, support, etc. Sexual abuse is always something devastating, because it concerns the most intimate sphere of a person and destroys human relationships – especially when a child is abused in a family.
– Ten years ago the mentioned Psychiatric Association declassed pedophilia from ‘illness’ into ‘disorder’. Whereas, in the same year, in ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders pedophilia was defined as not ‘disorder’ but as ‘untypical sexual orientation’. Reactions to this opinion of ASA were so negative that on 31 October 2013 the new definition was rejected. However, it seems that the purpose of some scientific, ideological and political groups is recognizing pedophilia as one of many sexual orientations. How do people react to these opinion o powerful lobby, which have been fighting against the phenomenon of children abuse for years?
– It is years when we have been fighting with the phenomenon of ‘cultural’ pedophilia and powerful groups trying to normalize pedophilia which is a crime aimed against humankind, humankind which is innocent - against children. While in 2004 we registered about 500 pro-pedophilic organizations, today there are over 2 thousand – they are well-organized and financed, they organize meetings and ceremonies of ‘pedophilic pride’, they are trying to have an influence on parliaments. This is lobby elaborating a ‘sophisticated’ ideology is very determined in action; it has magazines, on-line radio stations, promoting sports, gadgets at its disposal. There is no country in the world in which there would not be representatives of this movement.
– I would also like to touch on the issue of acceptance or even promotion of pedophilia in the world of culture. In 2013, a prestigious French prize ‘Prix Renaudot’ – in the jury there is a noble-prize winner Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio –was granted to Gabriel Matzneffow for a collection of works, entitled ‘Serpahin, c’est la fin!’. The problem is that in his literary activity the author was inspired by, among the others, ‘passion for children’ – as he says about it himself. In the 70s Matzneff was openly speaking on French Television about his erotic adventures with the underage. What does Priest think about granting the prize to the literary man, who is a declared pedophile?
– This is a confirmation of this all what I said before. History of literature and art is full of authors inspired by pedophilic tendencies and perversions. But time has come not to call pedophilia ‘love to children’. It would be better to give voice to its victims.
– Thanking for the interview, I would like to thank Priest also for everything what Priest is doing in defence of children.