Don Fortunato di Noto is a well-known Italian Catholic priest who has served as a leader in the fight against pedophilia for years, so much so that even Newsweek has acknowledged his work in a lengthy article.  As founder and president of the helpline Telefono Arcobaleno, he has forcefully decried the abuse of children as a scourge of appalling and increasing proportions.

Recent developments—including the self-styled “Pedophile Liberation Front” smashed by the police in Rome—have, sadly, proved him right once again.  Yet there are still those who downplay this tragic phenomenon, either accusing people such as Don di Noto of being unwarrantedly alarmist or blaming the wrong culprits (such as the traditional family, repressive morals, or consumerism).  

In doing so, these “minimizers” are acting as the unwitting allies of what Don di Noto has exposed as a powerful political lobby, protecting and promoting pedophilia in Italy as something that should be accepted as sexually normal in its “soft” or “nonviolent” version.  Daniele Capezzone, a national leader of the Radical Party, has justified his party’s campaign against the suppression of pedophilia: 

Pedophilia, like any other sexual orientation . . . may not be viewed as an offense per se.  It might become so when it translates into patterns of behavior which harm others.  But the criminalization of a pedophile as such, as a category and not according to his possible violent conduct, is intolerable.

The Italian Senate has also lent de facto support to pedophiles.  In October 1998, the Senate held a symposium that condemned censorship on the internet.  Pedophilia was not condemned during the proceedings.  To the contrary: The sponsors went so far as to contend that “being pedophiles, proclaiming to be so or also to support the legitimacy of pedophilia, may not be regarded as a criminal offence in a state based on the rule of law.”  Alfredo Ormanni, a public prosecutor who is prominent in the fight against pedophilia, told the Corrispondenza romana that he was shocked to realize that “the attitude of many participants [in the Senate symposium] was not contrary to pedophilia” and termed Capezzone’s distinction between violent and nonviolent pedophilia “appalling.”

Fabio Bernabei, who wrote the study “Does the Radical Party promote pedophilia?,” argues that pedophilia is always violent, psychologically if not physically.  “The legitimization of sexual intercourse between adults and children,” he writes,

is a phenomenon with specific cultural roots embedded in the anarchical and anti-prohibitionist ideology, as part of a process of dissolution of Christian principles and institutions which relates to the profound behavioral revolution of 1968.

One of the leaders of the 1968 cultural revolution, German Green Party member and MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit, made international headlines not long ago for writing a book about (as the Guardian put it) the “erotic nature of his contacts with children at an alternative kindergarten in Frankfurt,” where he had lived and worked years earlier.  After a public outcry, he dismissed his writings as mere “literary exaggerations”; in the 60’s, however, children’s sexual emancipation was taught among leftist groups as part and parcel of the wider movement of sexual liberation.  “By the late Seventies,” notes the French far-left paper Liberation (February 23, 2001), “pedophilia was a welcome deviancy.”  As reported in the Guardian,

Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and the current French health and education ministers Bernard Kouchner and Jack Lang were among the signatories of petitions in the 1970s calling for pedophilia to be decriminalized.

Amid a heated debate, Liberation tried to dismiss the pro-pedophilia campaigns by arguing that they simply reflected the “common intoxication” of the times.  In addition, Cohn-Bendit has said that he has repented.  Others, however, did not—in particular, Pier Paolo Pasolini.  His recently published unabridged works include intimate details that he had previously omitted to avoid problems with the law.  Pasolini may well be considered a pioneer of sexual tourism.  According to witnesses, he was always on the lookout for children, especially in Third World countries, from Africa to India.

In a way, intellectuals such as Pasolini and Capezzone have played the same role as those who introduced opium in the 19th century: launching a fashion that was initially confined to certain elites but which trickled down to the more general public, with all its devastating effects.