"In terms of Classic paedophilia, as practiced by the Greeks for example, where it is an older man introducing a younger man or boy to adult life, I think there can be something to be said for it. And in terms of North African experience this is endemic."His Lordship also helped exonerate predatory molesters by saying that he felt that it would have been a nice thing for himself if he had been groomed by an older man:
"Now again, this is not something that appeals to me, although when I was younger it would most certainly have appealed to me in the sense that I would have greatly relished the prospect of an older, attractive, mature man taking me under his wing, lovingly introducing me to sexual realities, and treating me with affection and teaching me about life — yes, I think that would be lovely; I would have enjoyed that."The Bishop tried to justify his comments by making a spurious distinction between supposedly innocent fumbling and child rape, protesting that there were important differences, and that investigations could do more harm than good:
"In my opinion, the teacher or Christian Brother who puts his hand into a boy’s pocket during a history lesson, that is one end of the spectrum. But then there is another, there is the person who attacks children of either sex, rapes them, brutalises them, and then murders them. But the way things are presented here it’s almost as if they were all exactly the same and I don’t think they are. And I have to tell you this — I think that the children in some instances are more damaged by the condemnation than by the actual experience."Criticised for these remarks, the Bishop protested that they were from ten years ago and it was so unfair to bring them up now, especially since his other remarks on equality issues and human rights were ignored. He felt that people just didn't appreciate all his other good work and the fact that this was just an academic conversation.
[UPDATE] Oops! Sorry! This wasn't actually a Bishop attempting to justify man-boy sex romps by characterising them as loving, enjoyable and affectionate. It was David Norris, candidate for the Presidential election in Ireland. (See: Irish Examiner: Norris: References to boys and sexual activity taken out of context)
So we must accept that this was just an academic discussion about classical Greece, it was all said ten years ago, and it is so unfair to bring it all up now. As the Irish Times says, it is really all just an implied slur against gay people. And as the Irish Independent says, bringing up this ten year old indiscretion is a case of people seizing an opportunity in a way that is "neither Christian, fair or in the true spirit of any republic."
Good to see the Irish press is keeping an even-handed and impartial view of things as ever.