Prelate: Pedophilia an Illness, Marriage Not a Cure

Bogota’s New Leader Decries Linking Church to Abusers

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BOGOTA, Colombia, JULY 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Pedophilia is a psychiatric illness that has been amply verified, and marriage is not the cure for it, recalled Archbishop Jesús Rubén Salazar Gómez of Bogota.

The prelate, newly assigned to Colombia’s largest archdiocese, affirmed this at a press conference on the day of his appointment, July 8.

Archbishop Salazar Gómez is also the president of Colombia’s episcopal conference.

He called for treating the problem of pedophilia in a «wider context» since it is false to label Catholicism as the «Church of pedophiles.»

The archbishop explained that pedophilia is a very complex issue and a verified psychiatric illness.

And responding to a question about married priests being the solution for stopping abuse, he said: «Marriage solves absolutely nothing … there are married persons who are pedophiles.»

Archbishop Salazar Gómez called pedophilia a «crime that must be tackled» and he urged victims to report abusers.

He noted that pedophiles sometimes seek out child pornography on the Internet and urged that «this problem be treated in a wider context.»

Shepherding his flock

Speaking about his new mission as the archbishop of Bogota, he admitted he received the assignment with «fear and trembling,» but confident that his 18-years as bishop and archbishop in Cucuta and Barranquilla would help him.

«Bogota is the largest archdiocese of Colombia, with a population of close to 4 million inhabitants,» he explained. «We human beings are limited; we cannot say we have all the capacities and qualities, especially to carry out such a delicate task as that of being archbishop of Bogota.
 
«I receive the appointment with joy, fear and confidence. I know that if the Lord appoints he also gives all the grace that is needed.»

Archbishop Salazar Gómez reflected that Bogota has «very particular challenges» because of factors such as the poverty level and organized crime, but also because it is the national capital.

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