We transcribe Corrado Augias’ exemplary reply to the letter of priest Franco Ratti, appeared in “La Repubblica” on November 1st 2006:
“The case of pedophile priests seems to me a tragedy wherever you look at it. On the one hand, and in the first place, there are obviously the victims, children who out of shame, shyness, metus, do not dare to react to violence that generally begins in the most subtle way, seemingly innocent caresses.
On the other side there are the same priests who are imposed a ruthless vow of chastity that many evidently are not able to support. The Catholic Church is a sovereign organization responsible for its choices. It can be pointed out, however, that the celibacy of priests is not part of theology; it is a normative norm which, with another rule, could also be abolished overnight. If, as is likely, celibacy was introduced for reasons of economic convenience of the church, the same reasons could sooner or later advise to abolish it. Since 2002, there have been thousands of cases of pedophilia discovered, as a result, there are thousands of compensation requested from the church that caused financial crisis due to large dioceses, today on the verge of bankruptcy, as well as bank mortgages on seminars and cathedrals.
In 2002 the BBC aired the documentary “To sue the Pope” for the first time telling about the sexual crimes committed in Ireland, in Ferns. The conclusion of the “Ferns Report”, drawn up by authoritative experts, had been unanimous: the main cause of the scandal is the celibacy of priests. ”
To which must be added the study on “La Repubblica” of Wednesday 8 November, again in the column “Letters”:
“I received on the problem a contribution by the psychoanalyst Franco De Masi who is also the author (Bollati-Boringhieri) of the study” Sado-masochistic perversion “. De Masi starts from the premise that every human being has the right to sexuality that became even more important after the fall of the hypocrisies that surrounded it thanks to the contribution of psychoanalytic thought. With pedophilia we have an aberrant sexuality that proceeds in the absence of development and capacity for true sexuality. “True sexuality” means a relationship in which physical attraction is only one component of the desire for a psychic and emotional union with the loved one.
What does the Church ask of its priests? That the priest does not have an intimate and sentimental life. His object of love is the community, there can be no privileged link with a person. In fact, the religious ideal does not meet with the psychic reality, if it is true that 50% of the priests do not maintain the vow of chastity. The request for celibacy makes it easy to select those who have never experienced sexual desire, give up something they do not know. Years later sexuality can awaken in unpredictable ways. The young priest does not deceive the superior: he had only removed or dissociated his own sexuality.
In the case of pedophilia we are faced with a true mental disorder that has many similarities with perversion. The mood of the pedophile is similar to that of the delusional. Pedophiles declare they want to make children happy by offering themselves as a means to reach sexual ecstasy.
To deny sexuality on the part of the Church at the moment of the priestly choice finds those who have abolished it or who cultivate it in secret forms more ready. The analysis of Dr. De Masi makes us understand the vastness of the problem and the urgency of finding, for the salvation of many children, a solution that is not just good words. “
This article is available in Italian too