/> Raising Angels: In Regards to the Blog about Protecting My Children

Thursday, March 09, 2006

In Regards to the Blog about Protecting My Children

Okay. I've never responded to comments in another entry before, but this situation merits some clarification. Thank you Theo and Michelle for bringing this need to light. Let me expound a bit more on how we decided to deal with the fact that we live next door to a registered child molester.

We did not approach our neighbor until we had thoroughly researched both him and the disease. He was found guilty of sodomizing several young boys. We were able to confirm this through reliable sources within the police force.

In talking to a psychiatrist, we learned that in the realm of child molesters, this crime is the most severe and signifies someone with a true sickness. For these offenders it is more about power than sex. The recedivism rate of these men is almost 100%, especially if they are not willing to admit their crime or seek counseling - which our neighbor did neither.

Nelson's meeting with him was very cordial. He gave our neighbor the opportunity to own up to his crime. When he didn't, he simply asked him to honor our requests, which he has done very graciously.

I will be the first to admit that a lot of people who get posted on the sexual offenders list are not true child molesters. In fact, we have a very close friend who got on that list after being falsely accused. His lawyer advised him to plead guilty so that he could stay home to care for his wife and children. He was harassed publically on the radio and will suffer lifelong repercussions for something he never did.

However, people who truly have a problem are very similar to alcoholics, as Michelle commented. It is a sickness that they carry throughout their lives. They are usually not creeps or stalkers. They are family, friends, and neighbors who gain children's trust through kind words and strong friendly bonds. The best defense is to let the offender know that you know who they are. They lose their advantage that way.

I really hate that this is the way it has to be. But understand, I had to cut off a relationship because I have very friendly and trusting children. If I keep up a friendly relationship with him, my children will too. That is more or less like inviting an alcoholic over for a glass of wine. We are trying to avoid being a stumbling block for him.

We have never exchanged a harsh word or acted negatively to him in any way. We simply do not relate. Although I put the comment about moving at the end rather light-heartedly, the truth is that we were looking to move before he ever moved in. Finding out about him just pushed us a little harder.

Our faith teaches us to hate the sin, but love the sinner. I feel that we are loving him through our prayers as well as our decision not to relate to him. If we did not have small children, perhaps we could do things differently. When I am judged and God asks me if I did everything I could to protect my children, in this case I can say, "Yes, I did."


Blogger Theo C said...

I really do not know what the answer is. The whole problem perplexes me, called a disease by some and a moral fault or perversion by others. It puzzles me. I really like women, for instance, but I try to be a gentleman and do not believe in sex out of marriage. I have been faithful to this and would never seek to manipulate a woman into my bed. Why then cannot the homosexual or even the sick man who is attracted to juveniles resist their evil impulses? St. Paul tells us "normal" guys that it is better to marry than to burn. Something we have to seriously consider when deciding as to which vocation we are called: priesthood or marriage. But, while I believe that gay men and those with criminal attractions should embrace a life of perpetual celibacy; I do not think they are fit for either the priesthood or marriage. It may be that a perpetual single life as a chaste person is what God wants of them. Certainly, he does not want them to commit sin. But why do so many, including priests who have promised God, the bishop and us-- that they will be chaste and single-hearted for the kingdom-- misbehave and/or break their sacred promises? Did they lie, even to themselves? How do they live with themselves? If I hurt a child like these monsters do, I doubt even the divine prohibition against suicide would stop me from destroying myself.

As I said, it remains somewhat a mystery to me. Maybe I do not yet understand how tragic and dark the human soul can become?

I agree that we have to do everything we can to protect our children. But it still is not fair that you have to deal with the anxiety of a child molester next door. And, really, I would suspect he would prefer, if he is truly contrite, an environment where such clashes are NOT bound to happen.

The civil liberties people would have a fit; but, maybe certain areas could be zoned so that people who continue to pose a real risk cannot move in? But where would we put them? In a division on the outskirts of town, all lumped together? Should they have to wear, for the rest of their lives, identity bracelets that are tracked by satellites, informing authorities about where they are 24 hours a day?

Maybe so, unless we are going to lock them up forever.

I wonder how the Church would rule about physical or chemical castration for such men? It is harsh and has side-effects, but maybe these men themselves would prefer to be cold zombies to being risks to children?

9:32 PM  
Blogger Amy Parris said...

Ah, your questions are thought-provoking indeed. For me, the only way to wrap my mind around it is to see it through spiritual eyes.

Sin is a dangerous and ugly thing. And the reality of it is that we are all sinners. The unfortunate part is that some sins are just much more visible than others. Truth be known. If we all knew each other's sins, we'd be living in total isolation out of fear of one another.

The glorious part is that God is bigger than any sin. This is the focus of our Lenten journey. We go through the penitential season in preparation for the most glorious season of Easter.

Jesus died so that we might be forgiven. When considered in light of recent conversations, this is a fact that is nothing short of miraculous. God's amazing love for us in unconditional and eternal.

We could spend our lives in thanksgiving for this gift, but it would still not be enough. Thankfully, God doesn't keep score that way!

7:34 PM  
Blogger Theo C said...

Yes, God's forgiveness is real, but not everyone will embrace it. St. Augustine says that until the consumation of the world, the sheep and the goats must live side-by-side, and sometimes it is not clear as to which kingdom or city each person belongs. (Thus, he also recognized the tragedy, even of secret sin.) Jesus says that before leading one of the little ones astray, it would be better to have a millstone tied around one's neck and to be thrown into the sea. That's some heavy judgment! The moment of death makes a person's spiritual orientation permanent or fixed. That is fine and good, but the real danger is while the goats are still walking the earth-- neighbors and maybe even family members and pastors.

That reminds me of something I always found a bit bizarre. A man who is ordained remains a priest foerver, even after death. The spiritual character or seal is permanent. That means that if they should reject God's love, they would be a priest in hell. I guess the first was Judas, about whom our Lord said that it would have been better had he never been born?

1:14 AM  

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