October 14, 2005

Focus on pedophiles, not gays


Michael Kimmel, a professor of sociology at Stony Brook University, is the author of "Manhood in America: A Cultural History."

October 14, 2005

Recently, I was sitting in the departure lounge at the airport. A priest sat nearby, reading the newspaper. A little boy, who looked about 4, walked up to him, perhaps because of his strange collar. In a heartbeat, his mother pulled him away.

Is this now the public opinion of the Catholic clergy? If so, I don't blame the Vatican hierarchy for wanting desperately to reverse this trend.

The upcoming Vatican instruction that will tighten restrictions on the admission of gay men to Catholic seminaries may, or may not, be based on sound canonical doctrine. But such efforts to "purify" the church of homosexuality and resolve recent scandals of pedophile priests are surely based on bad social science.

Despite stereotypes, pedophilia is not a type of homosexuality. It is a myth that gay men prey on unsuspecting little boys. The large majority of pedophiles are heterosexual; many are married or have regular partners.

Posted by kshaw at October 14, 2005 09:53 AM