My discussion of the Schmidt case has obvious relevance to clerical sexual abuse. The abusers may have been, in some sense of the word, “sick”; they certainly had distorted personalities. But whatever the source of their desire to have sex with minors, they were guilty when they acted on that desire. 

As Joe said, a good verdict would be “sick but guilty.” The general approach of the Church during the past fifty years that abusers were sick, and were therefore not guilty, and therefore it would be wrong to punish them. The fallacy is that any mental illness removes responsibility and guilt.

Leave a Comment