In another controversial interview, Pope Francis said that Vatican research has found that 2% of priests–including bishops and cardinals–are pedophiles. That comes to 1 in 50 of the 414,000 priests. He also said that he planned to find a “solution” for priestly celibacy, noting as Protestants have always said, that the requirement was not instituted for the first 900 years of Christendom. [Read more…]
A $2 million study of the priest child abuse scandal, paid for in part by the Roman Catholic Church, takes the politically-correct position that homosexuality had nothing to do with it. Louie Verrecchio, himself a Catholic, disagrees, based on the report’s own data:
On May 18, researchers from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice released their long-awaited final report, “Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010.”
The research team, led by Karen Terry, Ph.D., gathered an impressive amount of information from which they drew a number of conclusions; the most unsettling of which is the claim that homosexuality is unrelated to the abuse (particularly of adolescent males, the primary victims in the crisis.)
Though 81 percent of the victims were post-pubescent males, researchers downplayed the homosexual connection by suggesting that this simply reflects the fact that offenders had greater access to boys. The report also proposes the possibility that, “Although the victims of priests were most often male, thus defining the acts as homosexual, the priest did not at any time recognize his identity as homosexual.”
A less politically correct conclusion, it would seem, is to acknowledge that the offending clerics were perhaps unwilling to take “ownership” of their struggle with homosexuality. In any event, this line of argument appears to be little more than a red herring.
According to Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a consultant to the Vatican Congregation for Clergy and a leading expert on clerical sex abuse, how an abuser may “recognize” himself is not entirely relevant; rather, the homosexual acts alone testify to “deep seated” homosexuality.
“We are identified by our behavior,” Dr. Fitzgibbons said in a recent telephone interview. “The attempt to distance the homosexual acts in question from a personal struggle against SSA (Same Sex Attraction) on the part of the abuser is inconsistent with clinical data.”
Information found in the report itself also strongly suggests that the abuse is directly related to homosexuality. For instance: “This excuse (that the victim initiated physical intimacy) was particularly common for priests who were accused of abusing adolescents, who referred to the abuse as a ‘relationship.’”
Does this scenario, in which an adult male imagines that he is involved in a sexually active consenting “relationship” with an adolescent boy, describe a heterosexual crime of convenience? So determined to deny the obvious, the John Jay researchers are at pains to have you believe that it does.
The report also reveals that abusers often “groomed” their victims over a period of time prior to the onset of abuse; where grooming is defined as “a premeditated behavior intended to manipulate the potential victim into complying.”
This information effectively undermines the “crime of convenience” explanation for the preponderance of adolescent male victims. It also clearly indicates a direct connection to homosexuality, but the John Jay researchers resolutely insist otherwise claiming that the abusers were simply men who “appear to have had certain vulnerabilities to commit abuse (for example, emotional congruence with children or adolescents), experienced increased stressors from work (for example, having recently received more responsibilities, such as becoming a pastor), and had opportunities to abuse (for example, unguarded access to minors).”
The abusers had “vulnerabilities to commit abuse”? They were vulnerable? So they were the victims?
HT: David Mills
Luther and the Lutheran Confessions (explaining “thou shalt not commit adultery”) on the problems of forbidding marriage for the clergy, and how this manifests itself in sexual sins:
Priests, monks, and nuns resist God’s order and commandment, inasmuch as they despise and forbid matrimony, and presume and vow to maintain perpetual chastity, and, besides, deceive the simple-minded with lying words and appearances [impostures]. For no one has so little love and inclination to chastity as just those who because of great sanctity avoid marriage, and either indulge in open and shameless prostitution, or secretly do even worse, so that one dare not speak of it, as has, alas! been learned too fully.
And, in short, even though they abstain from the act, their hearts are so full of unchaste thoughts and evil lusts that there is a continual burning and secret suffering, which can be avoided in the married life. Therefore all vows of chastity out of the married state are condemned by this commandment, and free permission is granted, yea, even the command is given, to all poor ensnared consciences which have been deceived by their monastic vows to abandon the unchaste state and enter the married life, considering that even if the monastic life were godly, it would nevertheless not be in their power to maintain chastity, and if they remain in it, they must only sin more and more against this commandment.
via The Large Catechism – Book of Concord (The Sixth Commandment)
How would this apply to the pedophile scandal in the Roman Catholic Church? Clearly, individuals with that lust could not satisfy it with marriage, but might that not be something “even worse” than prostitution, something so bad that “one dare not speak of it,” that comes from repressed sexuality? Would this article of the catechism also apply to the chastity vows of the teen abstinence movement? Those, of course, are not permanent vows. But shouldn’t we encourage early marriage instead?
Joseph Bottum, editor of First Things, points out that the cases of the pedophile priests come from the 1970s, when theological liberalism was rampant in Catholicism. He says that the lack of recent cases reflect a more conservative church and a generation of more faithful priests:
There are two parts to the scandal that has obsessed Europe in recent weeks. The first part — the most evil, disgusting part — is over. Every group has a small percentage of members with sick sexual desires. By their very calling, Christian ministers ought to have a lower percentage. For a variety of reasons, however, the Catholic Church suffered through an astonishingly corrupt generation of priests, centered around 1975, with a percentage of sexual predators at least equal to the general population’s.
Thank, God, that part is finished. European churches are now putting in place stringent child-protection procedures, and even with the anti-Catholic obsession raging in Europe, no cases of deliberately suppressed incidents less than a decade old have emerged. Besides, the new generation of priests, formed in the light of John Paul II’s papacy, seems vastly more faithful to Catholic moral teaching.
Still, the second part of the scandal remains, for it involves not the mostly dead criminals but the living institution. The bishops who ruled over that corrupt generation catastrophically failed to act.
Some of this came from the shortsighted and anti-theological advice of the lawyers and psychologists who dominated Catholic institutional thinking in that era. But much came simply from a desire to avoid bad publicity. And for the bishops’ failures, every Catholic is now paying — in a hundred years’ worth of donations lost to court judgments, in suspicious faith and in deep shame.
The author says that now those who are out to destroy the Catholic church are trying to target Pope Benedict–to the point of some European newspapers offering awards for documents linking him to the scandals–which he thinks is unfair.