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cockswain's avatar

Do you think some pedophiles become priests, or some priests become pedophiles?

Asked by cockswain (15181 points ) April 21st, 2010

I’m wondering if pedophiles view the priesthood as a place where they would have access to children so some join for that reason, or is it more likely the restrictive vow of celibacy turns priests into pedophiles because they go nuts denying their basic urges.

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21 Answers

wonderingwhy's avatar

I would think both.

CMaz's avatar

Pedophiles were always pedophiles.

We have issue people in all cross sections of society.

netgrrl's avatar

Priests are no more likely to become pedophiles than any other group of men.

Sexual abuse of children is epidemic in this country. Yes, it could be a priest – or your father, uncle, brother w his children, cousin, or the nice old guy next door.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Priests were once “little boys in Catholic schools”. I’d say there’s a fair amount of both nature and nurture going on there. This isn’t new behavior.

Snarp's avatar

I don’t think it likely that simply being required to be celibate drives a person to pedophilia. Pedophilia is as much breaking the vow of celibacy as having sex with a woman, and a priest could (and surely many have and do) just as well have consensual sex with an adult instead.

On the other hand, years of not having any kind of normal relationship (and by normal I mean a wide range of things, but mainly a relationship with a consenting adult in which sexual feelings don’t have to be hidden) with an appropriate (i.e. consensual adult) partner could certainly alter one’s ability to form such a relationship. Combined with the power and authority of a priest over his parishioners this could certainly increase the likelihood of inappropriate relationships forming.

I think as a general rule the answer is both. Some pedophiles seek out priesthood. Some priests have a tendency toward pedophilia that they may not even be aware of that their position of power and lack of normal sexual relationships may encourage, and some pedophiles may truly want to not be pedophiles and think that priestly celibacy will help them, but find themselves unable to resist their urges when placed in such a tempting situation.

But considering all those things, and that celibacy was not always required of Catholic priests and only imposed to prevent inheritance issues with Church property, and that Popes have had multiple children in the past, what sense does it make to forbid priests from having normal adult sexual relationships?

JeffVader's avatar

Huh…... it’s kinda like the chicken & the egg thing…... just much, much more disturbing!

OpryLeigh's avatar

I was thinking what @Snarp has already worded better than I ever could. GA.

ragingloli's avatar

The first question that must be answered is if these child molesting priests are actually paedophiles, or just men who were made so desperate by their celibacy to bust a nut that they would go for anything and the choirboys just happened to be the easiest target.

Trillian's avatar

@ragingloli Really? I don’t think that this is completely accurate. I have no problem busting a nut all by myself. Refraining for a week or a month does not change what I consider a turn on. I could be wrong and maybe I’m not looking at this deeply enough, I’m just saying that on the surface at least, your argument seems to lace validity.

CMaz's avatar

“Bust a nut.” I do hate that saying.

ragingloli's avatar

@Trillian
Male inmates have gay sex with other male inmates. The problem is that they are not actually gay at all.
The point is that the act of sex may not be actually caused by an underlying sexual attraction or preference. There may be other reasons instead, like dominance, or in the case of priests, desperation coupled with the limitation of having to do it in secrecy.

Trillian's avatar

@ragingloli ok. Point taken.
@ChazMaz It is rather vulgar, isn’t it? The fact that I have no nuts to actually bust just makes it humorous when I apply the term to myself. That was kind of what I was going for.

Snarp's avatar

@Trillian And here I was thinking “wait, I though @Trillian was a girl?”

Trillian's avatar

@Snarp hehehe. Oh I am. I just amuse myself occasionally by using male vernacular. The fact that I served in the military gives me access to all kinds of terminology that I wouldn’t otherwise be comfortable using. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Factotum's avatar

I suspect that at least some of these people were inclined towards pedophilia and entered the priesthood in the hope that they could purge themselves of sinful thinking.

meagan's avatar

I think its probably just like any other person.
Do all pedophiles become Doctors, or do some Doctors become pedophiles? This could be applied to everything.

Matt_L's avatar

is it more likely the restrictive vow of celibacy turns priests into pedophiles because they go nuts denying their basic urges.

I don’t think people become pedophiles that way any more than homosexuals become the way they are because of any external factors. Speaking for myself, I don’t feel like there was ever a point where I was “turned into” a pedophile; I feel I’ve always been one.

But I think the priesthood does attract people who are not attracted to adult women, because of the whole celibacy thing.

I think pedophiles like interacting with children in general, and some may join the priesthood because it offers that opportunity. Some unscrupulous ones may join because they see that being in that kind of a position of respect and power might let them get away with things they otherwise couldn’t.

kittybee's avatar

I like to think you can’t become a pedophile.

kruger_d's avatar

It makes sense that a man who has a confusing/abnormal/unacceptable sexual life would be attracted to a vocation that requires celibacy.

mattbrowne's avatar

Scientists does not yet have clear answers for the question: Is being a pedophile hereditary?

LadeeAnne's avatar

I think pedophiles become priests, so they can be protected by the Catholic Church; in order to make people trust them, because they are a priest;because the Pope doesn’t really give a damn, because if he did he would make sure that any priest that has been accused and/or convicted of making sexual overtures to children, be fully investigated and be excommunicated from the church, not just send them to a different parish. They should be made to take lie detector tests monthly. If a priest is innocent, he would welcome this to eliminate those who are guilty. Crap… the Catholic church is so rich, they could spare the bucks to do this. It’s disgusting the way the Catholic church so easily turns a blind eye, pretending it doesn’t happen, while millions of children suffer, have their lives ruined, with the surety of it carrying into their adulthood; possibly becoming gay; having difficulity with their their sexual orientation and sex in marriage or becoming pedophiles themselves, due to the psychological damage done to them. It’s a shameful secret for those who have suffered at the hands of a priest, or anyone who did it to them for that matter. These poor innocent, helpless children and men keep these things hidden; therefore it festers and festers, taking on a hideous life of it’s own; while those innocent people suffer. It can become a vicious circle; repeating itself generation after generation. SHAME ON THE POPE AND ALL THE CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND THE CHURCH. I certainly hope there is very, hot, horrible place in HELL for these atrocities, for all the perpetrators, the church the Pope and all those who turn a blind eye. I hope the Pope watched the Oprah Winfrey which aired March 10th, 2011 with guest star Tyler Perry, who was abused physically by his own father and sexually abused throughout his childhood by many people; not by a Catholic church priest but by a minister in his own church. I watched the bravery of all those men who sat onstage and in the audience, telling their own stories, many for the 1st time, while tears poured out of their eyes and down their cheeks. I cried for them as I sat and watched, tempted to turn it off, it was so horrible, so real, so revolting and beastly. If it had happened to my child, I would have probably taken a gun and killed the SOB who did it. Children don’t make those stories up and for a parent to dismiss them, becsause they are Catholic, makes them as sinful as the priests. OMG I can’t even begin to print all I really want to say onthis topic!!!!!

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