"The inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder."
Did someone say disorder?
In the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V), the American Psychological Association (APA) drew a very distinct line between pedophilia and pedophilic disorder. Pedophilia refers to a sexual orientation or profession of sexual preference devoid of consummation, whereas pedophilic disorder is defined as a compulsion and is used in reference to individuals who act on their sexuality. - Source
That is close to what happened to homosexuality in the 1970's.
In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. The American Psychological Association Council of Representatives followed in 1975. Thereafter other major mental health organizations followed and it was finally declassified by the World Health Organization in 1990.It's a step, as Fr. Z noted, a 'first step, change the language, change the definition.' Father's statement isn't exactly prophecy. Efforts to change the age of consent has been proceeding in Europe, especially the Netherlands, for years. Underground efforts have been working towards the same goals in the United States for decades. Probably the best known advocacy group being NAMBLA.
Changing age of consent laws and normalizing pedophilia may also be connected to the sexualization of children through media and early, graphic sex education - especially exposing very young children to homosexuality and masturbation. (I also wonder about the influence of Islamic law and culture here? Islamic men sometimes marry very young girls. Then there are those stories about Islamic men and the rape of young boys. It strikes me that some in Islam would be comfortable with lowering the age of consent as well.)
The Vatican might need to update the Catechism.
If pedophilia gains acceptance as a natural variant of human sexuality/orientation, I wondered how the Catechism and the CDF might deal with it, if pressured to do so by 'Catholic' pedophile advocacy groups. Thus, I simply substituted a few terms in the text from the CCC teaching on homosexuality.
What if there was a section added to the Catechism covering pedophilia? It could be worded like this:
Pedophilia refers to a sexual orientation or profession of sexual preference devoid of consummation towards minor-attracted persons. Pedophilic disorder is defined as a compulsion and is used in reference to individuals who act on their sexuality. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents pedophilic acts as acts of grave scandal, tradition has always declared that "pedophilic acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
The number of men and women who have deep-seated pedophilic tendencies hopefully is rare. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, should constitute for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
Pedophiles are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested incarceration, by prayer and sacramental grace, they should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.Just in case the vice becomes socially acceptable, and protected by law... The CDF may have to step in, declaring something to the effect:
[Though] an overly benign interpretation was given to pedophilia itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good, or a natural variant of sexual orientation. Although the particular inclination of the pedophile person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.
Of course that will never happen... or will it?
Very seriously, differentiating between pedophilia as an orientation and pedophilic disorder 'as a compulsion - used in reference to individuals who act on their sexuality', such a fine distinction, though perhaps well intended in order to counsel persons with the tendency, is destined to be considered unjust discrimination at some point. (Likewise, sexual crimes against children are frequently crimes of opportunity.) At the very least, as was said regarding homosexuality, "the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder" - that way of speaking regarding any type of sexual orientation will most likely be rejected as hurtful, offensive, hateful, and discriminatory.
Or something like that.