Q. Many years ago, I got a call informing me that my son was arrested and being held on $1 million bail. That was when I first learned that he is a pedophile.
He has just completed his 20-year prison sentence, and during that time I learned a great deal about this insidious disease. Everyone hates a pedophile, and they’re unable to separate the person from the crime. As with any crime, when the person who committed the crime is a family member, you still love him or her. Like alcoholism, no one chooses to be a pedophile. There is no cure for this illness, nor has a cause been determined. The only way a pedophile can survive is to hide the fact that he is one. Do you believe there will ever be hope for this particular mental and behavioral illness?
A. Pedophilia has the “distinction” of being both a disease and a crime. Alas, I don’t see a cure in the future because it is a mental aberration — much more serious, but on the order of pathological lying. The inclination is just there. The recidivism rate for pedophilia is high, even after therapy. When you consider that so many priests have been revealed to be pedophiles — and they are servants of God, no less — that sort of gives you your answer.
Q. I’m a recent college grad in an uncomfortable situation. I studied abroad during college and made friends with a large group of students from all over the world. During our time together, seven of us became closer than the rest, and before we left, we made a pact to reunite at one another’s weddings.
It’s been a few years, and two of the people in the group have gotten engaged. I admit we haven’t been in close contact, but we did keep up with milestones in one another’s lives — birthdays, holidays, deaths in the family, etc. Now I find out that one couple is getting married next fall, and they’re inviting everyone from our smaller group except me.
Should I speak to one of our mutual friends about it? I don’t think I could address the bride without making her feel she has to invite me. In the good old days, this would have gone undetected, but with Facebook, I see updates about travel plans, engagement photos, etc. Can I still send them a card wishing them well, or would that seem passive-aggressive?
A. It is thoughtless, if you’re being exclusionary, to go public with all kinds of details. For whatever reason, you were not considered to be a real part of the group, though you thought otherwise. You might ask a mutual friend for an opinion about the situation, just to satisfy your curiosity. And by all means send a card. They will feel awful.