Victimology, Part 1: The Boys
One way in which children master the negative experiences is to fantasize about it with the child now in the powerful role (Berk, 2000). Thus, if the child feels ineffectual in his life, ignored or rejected by others, or emotionally abused, he may create a fantasy where he is the powerful one, the one who rejects and abuses. This may evolve into what Miller (1987) calls the "repetition compulsion." Recognizing his own prior powerlessness and helplessness in the weaker boy, as an adult Wilken could identify with the powerful person and become the abuser. Instead of being the powerless boy being sodomized, he could become the powerful man doing the sodomizing. This was a psychological mechanism which alleviated his own painful memories.
Wilken described in his confession that he often recalled the deacon sodomizing him as he walked with the boys he picked up.
However, Stewart Wilken never quite fits into a theory. It seems as if he also wanted to save other children from the same life he had lived, from his pain. We will probably never know whether he truly meant this. If he did feel that way, however, it can be interpreted in two ways: (1) he may genuinely have wanted to 'send their souls to God', to a better place; or (2) he may have seen himself in these children and consequently wanted to send himself, symbolically through them, to a better place.
Perhaps both are true.