Debate still rages, too, about the clinical definition of paedophilia. Down the years, the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – "the psychiatrist's bible" – has variously classified it as a sexual deviation, a sociopathic condition and a non-psychotic medical disorder. And few agree about what causes it. Is paedophilia innate or acquired? Research at the sexual behaviours clinic of Canada's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health suggests paedophiles' IQs are, on average, 10% lower than those of sex offenders who had abused adults, and that paedophiles are significantly less likely to be right-handed than the rest of the population, suggesting a link to brain development. MRI scans reveal a possible issue with paedophiles' "white matter": the signals connecting different areas of the brain. Paedophiles may be wired differently. (Emphasis added.)This is radical stuff. But there is a growing conviction, notably in Canada, that paedophilia should probably be classified as a distinct sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality. Two eminent researchers testified to that effect to a Canadian parliamentary commission last year, and the Harvard Mental Health Letter of July 2010 stated baldly that paedophilia "is a sexual orientation" and therefore "unlikely to change". (Emphasis added.)
Child protection agencies and many who work with sex offenders dislike this. "Broadly speaking, in the world of people who work with sex offenders here, [paedophilia] is learned behaviour," says Donald Findlater, director of research and development at the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a charity dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse, and, before it closed, manager of leading treatment centre the Wolvercote Clinic. "There may be some vulnerabilities that could be genetic, but normally there are some significant events in a person's life, a sexually abusive event, a bullying environment … I believe it is learned, and can be unlearned."—Jon Henley, Paedophilia: bringing dark desires to light (2013).
The “gradualness of the law,” according to Pope John Paul II, is the false idea that there are “different degrees or forms of precept in God’s law for different individuals and situations.” This approach would say to a cohabiting couple afraid of marriage that it’s OK — or even good — for them to live together, and perhaps the Church should have a rite of blessing for them. In other words, when the Church’s teaching is perceived by some as too hard, we need to “lower the bar” for these people. This is actually demeaning to the persons so identified because it denies their ability to grow in holiness and live the fullness of the Christian life.—John S. Grabowski.
Rome, like Constantinople, is greening its theology, lowering its theological carbon footprint, it seems.
Since human life itself and all that it entails naturally includes caring for creation, Francis proposed “a complement” to the two traditional sets of seven corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
“May the works of mercy also include care for our common home,” he said, explaining that as a spiritual work of mercy, care for creation “calls for a grateful contemplation of God’s world which allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us.”
As a corporal work of mercy, he said, it “requires simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness and makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world.”
Perhaps the Church should return to its greatest competence—the dissemination of the Holy Gospel and the salvation of souls. Unless a direct connection between the ever greying use of the word 'mercy' and salvation can be affirmed, perhaps the Holy See might relinquish its hold on the tactic to promote effective stewardship of the environment to lay Catholics working in governments and industries that can approach the subject with appropriate expertise. It would be enough for the Holy See to caution us on the misuse of the environment and the proper stewardship of God's green Earth.