A Manual for Pedophiles by a Brazilian Priest
Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.
A recent report about the pedophile scandal in the Catholic Church in Brazil might have gone unnoticed but for a significant and scintillating detail. The article, published in the November 16 issue of the Brazilian newsmagazine Istoé, reported the arrests of two Brazilian priests accused of sexually abusing boys. The scandalous detail was the diary of a convicted pedophile priest that related his sexual experiences and included a list of guidelines on how to select and conquer victims.
The story came to international attention when the leading Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera published excerpts from the diary in its November 21 issue.
The priest in question is Fr. Tarcisio Spricigo, age 48, convicted in 2003 of sexual abuse of a 5-year-old boy. His diary is a veritable “how-to” book for soliciting and seducing boys. Notably, he observed that “little rich boys” should be avoided. Rather, the priest should seek out street boys who are “safer” because it is easier for them “to maintain total secrecy.” He numbered conditions to look for in potential victims, and then gave tips on how the priest should present himself to the targeted boys.
The list follows:
a. 1. Age – 7, 8, 9, 10
2. Sex – Masculine
3. Social conditions – poor
4. Family conditions – preferably a boy without a father, alone with a single mother – or with her sister.
5. Where to find – In the streets, schools, families
6. How to hook – guitar lessons, choir, altar-boy
7. Most important – to keep the family of the boy hooked
8. Possibilities – a boy who is affectionate, calm, without inhibitions, lacking father, without moral qualms
b. My attitudes
9. His point of view – To see what the boy enjoys and based on this premise, give it to him asking in retribution that he deliver himself to me
10. How to present oneself – Always certain, serious, dominating, paternal, never ask questions, always have certainties (Istoé, “Memorias da perversão,” November 16, 2005).
Other notes in his diary emphasized techniques for winning a boy’s affection and making sure he will remain silent about the crimes. “Only act sexually when I have absolute certainty that the boy will keep it secret,” he wrote.
And further, “They [the boys] are everywhere – it is enough to have a clinical eye and act following [these] secure rules in the social sphere …. After applying the rules correctly, the boy will fall directly in my hands …. we will be happy forever.” (ibid). In the priest’s eyes, both he and the boy will share satisfaction in these criminal and obscene acts against nature.
He also offers a kind of justification for his actions and a lesson learned: “After my weakness in the sexual field, I learned a lesson!!! And this is my solemn discovery: ‘God always pardons, but society never!'” (see excerpt from diary below)
A pedophile manual
It is a strange kind of diary, with detailed rules. It does not seem to be the simple meanderings of a lone psychopath priest. The diary is patently not a confession of personal vices of a man seeking forgiveness. Why would the priest write these “norms” if not with the idea of passing them on to others? With whom would he share the results of his experiences? The probable readers of such a macabre manual would be other priests is the first answer that comes to mind. Then, we would be facing a veritable manual for pedophile priests.
Such suspicions are heightened by the report in the same article of the arrest of a Brazilian priest in early November, caught in a hotel room with four boys. Trying to defend his action, the 43-year-old priest Fr. Felix Carreiro stated, “I know 12 other priests who do the same thing” (“Confissões obscenas”, Istoé, November 16, 2005)
The diary is sure to remind Catholics in the U.S. of the case of sadly famous pedophile priest Paul Shanley. In 1,600 pages of documents on Fr. Shanley that the Archdiocese of Boston was obliged to hand over by a court order, it became clear that in a speech during a NABLA (North American Boy Love Association) conference held in 1977, he advocated love between men and boys, along with other perversions – incest and bestiality (A.S. Guimaraes, Vatican II, Homosexuality and Pedophilia, pp. 228-9).
At the same meeting, Fr. Shanley “shared” a story of a boy “who was rejected by family and society but helped by a boy-lover.” According to Shanley’s perverted reasoning, the boy would be induced to have gratitude for the aggressor (USAToday online, April 8, 2002). It was found that the Archdiocese ignored warnings of Fr. Shanley’s involvement with NABLA.
These public statements by Shanley sound similar to the same perverted thinking expressed in the diary of Fr. Spricigo. That is both are trying to give citizenship to their macabre vice against nature.
Progressivists and conservatives like to present the crimes of pedophile priests as psychological problems to be resolved with clinical solutions on a case-by-case basis. Rather, it appears that what we are facing is a kind of doctrine, a thinking that not only promotes the seduction and abuse of children, but shamelessly justifies it in order to spread the perversion.
This shocking revelation of this diary should waken parents of the targeted group of boys – especially single or divorced mothers – to be wary of dangers. Will it also rouse the public to acknowledge the strong possibility of a network of pedophile priests who prey without remorse on poor boys?
Mantle of silence
In its report on the Brazilian scandal, the Italian daily Corriere della Sera pointed out that the case clearly shows that sexual abuse by priests is not a uniquely American phenomenon, as some Church organs might lead one to believe. A shocking panorama emerges from statistics of a recent Vatican investigation in Brazil. According to the same Istoé exposure, a recent inquiry found 10 percent of the country’s 17,000 priests to be involved in sexual misconduct. In only three years, 200 priests were sent to psychological institutions to be “cured” of pedophilia. The report was not denied by the Vatican representative in Brasilia, who refused comment on the topic.
This broad pattern of sexual abuse of minors among Brazilian clergy is normally hidden by the Brazilian ecclesiastical hierarchy who maintain a strict “policy of silence,” the article continued. Unlike in the United States, Church archives are tightly closed, there are no reparations to victims. Instead, Church authorities “snuff out the denouncements and protect the aggressors” (“Confissões obscenas,” Istoe, November 16, 2005.)
Why are the religious authorities silent? Could it be, the article asks, because the victims are not only children, but also dozens of seminarians who suffer homosexual crimes at the hands of their superiors? (“Até tu, Bispo!”, Istoe, November 16, 2005).
There is, for example, the case of Fr. Alberto Pereira against the Bishop Antonio Sarto of the Diocese Barra da Garça. He alleges that when he was a seminarian he was abused by him. Fr. Pereira’s case has been pending for 14 years in a Diocesan Court without any result. In 2003, he sent a letter to the Vatican – normally directed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith headed by then Cardinal Ratzinger – that provided full details of the abuse he had suffered at the hands of the Bishop.
The Holy See confirmed receiving the account, but until today no solution has been offered.
A mantle of silence is also being dropped over the Brazilian scandal. The National Conference of Brazilian Bishops refuses to speak about the denunciations or the investigation made by the Vatican. The Vatican has carefully dodged the scandal. “Naturally, the sad case is being followed with due attention,” a note released by the Vatican Press Office laconically affirmed (“Cortina de fumaça,” Istoé, November 30, 2005).
A tactic to hush the scandal?
There is another suspicious facet to this story. When the Corriere della Sera reprinted excerpts from the Brazilian priest’s diary on November 21, the article shocked Italian public opinion.
Then, suddenly – two days later – the long-awaited document on homosexuals in the clergy was published before its scheduled date. Indeed, someone “leaked” it to Adista bulletin, which published it on November 23 six days ahead of the scheduled release. Italian public attention immediately turned from the escalating scandal to the document.
It seems a good tactic to avoid facing the problem of pedophilia.
One could object: But at least the Vatican document was against homosexual priest. Therefore, it already provides a solution for part of the problem.
But did the document really attack homosexuals in the seminarians? I don’t think so. Rather, it seems to me it left the situation in the exact same condition it was before this recent Vatican document.
The scandalous facts revealed in the Brazilian clergy – added to those we know in the American clergy – seem to speak of a “subculture” of pedophilia that could well exist among priests, similar to the so-called “gay subculture.”
Who is protecting both of these sordid blocs?
Universal Decalogue of Impunity
The general policy of Church authorities regarding crimes of pedophilia
committed by the clergy was summarized in this “Universal Decalogue of Impunity” published by Istoé newsmagazine, November 16, 2005
(Isto é, is the Portuguese for “That’s it”).
- Make a discrete investigation of what occurred.
- After acknowledging the sexual abuse and agreeing that the image of the Church would be damaged, initiate talks with the aggressor and victim. The Bishops should strive to convince the victims and their families that the aggressor was punished and will be stopped and to persuade them not to continue with the denunciation in order not to damage the reputation of the Church or themselves.
- Cover the facts and the aggressor before the public.
- Take measures to insure secrecy. The Hierarchy should adopt a canonical measure against the aggressor, only in order to defend itself from an eventual accusation of passivity.
- Deny that it occurred, using the argument that the priest, called by God, is a man of virtue, a holy figure. When it is not possible to deny the fact, treat it as an exception.
- Make a public defense of the aggressor, emphasizing his good services rendered to the Church. Appeal to the Christian sentiment of pardon for the repentant sinner.
- Make a public disqualification of the victims and their conditions.
- Attribute the denunciations to paranoid campaigns orchestrated by “enemies of the Church”
- Consider the possibility of negotiation with the victim.
- Protect the aggressor priest.