Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, the Bishop of Durban in South Africa was speaking to the BBC radio host Stephen Nolan when he said that pedophilia was an:
illness, not a criminal condition
The cardinal, who a part of the 115 conclave that elected Pope Francis this week, went on to say that he believed those who were abused as children, and then went on to commit acts of pedophilia, needed to be “examined.”
[Pedophilia] is a psychological condition, a disorder.
What do you do with disorders? You’ve got to try and put them right.
If I – as a normal being – choose to break the law, knowing that I’m breaking the law, then I think I need to be punished
The 72 year old cardinal clarified his position further:
Now don’t tell me that those people are criminally responsible like somebody who chooses to do something like that. I don’t think you can really take the position and say that person deserves to be punished. He was himself damaged.
Napier was lower odds to become pope at 25/1 than the elected pontiff, Pope Francis, who was quoted at 33/1 prior to his ascension to the head of the Catholic Church.
The Cardinal has taken to Twitter to describe his joy at the new Pope:
Surely man for the moment Pope Francis insisted on standing to greet & be greeted by his brother Cardinals. So doing he asked: Pray for me!
— Cardinal Napier (@CardinalNapier) March 15, 2013