Priest absolves child rapists by blaming the child.

The National Catholic Register published a column by the director of the Office for Spiritual Development for the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, Benedict Groeschel.  The article has been removed, but not before Andrew Sullivan got a snippet of it that is just…horrid.

“People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath. But that’s not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer … It’s not so hard to see — a kid looking for a father and didn’t have his own — and they won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that.

It’s an understandable thing … there are the relatively rare cases where a priest is involved in a homosexual way with a minor. I think the statistic I read recently in a secular psychology review was about 2%. Would that be true of other clergy? Would it be true of doctors, lawyers, coaches?

Here’s this poor guy — [Penn State football coach Jerry] Sandusky — it went on for years. Interesting: Why didn’t anyone say anything? Apparently, a number of kids knew about it and didn’t break the ice. Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime. It was a moral failure, scandalous; but they didn’t think of it in terms of legal things,” – Father Benedict Groeschel, the director of the Office for Spiritual Development for the Catholic Archdiocese of New York.

Don’t you see?  It’s the little boys seducing these otherwise moral men of god.

So when commenters assure me that the Catholic church calls the police when a pedophile priest rapes a child (except that they don’t), perhaps it’s to report the child.

(Hat tip to Ed Brayton for this)

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • anteprepro

    “Here’s this poor guy — [Penn State football coach Jerry] Sandusky — it went on for years. Interesting: Why didn’t anyone say anything? Apparently, a number of kids knew about it and didn’t break the ice. Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime. It was a moral failure, scandalous; but they didn’t think of it in terms of legal things,” ”

    How low can these guys fucking stoop? “People did not register in their minds that it was a crime”?
    BULLSHIT. “Why didn’t anyone say anything”? Did he miss the part where Paterno and school higher-ups found out about it, did nothing about it, and made sure no-one knew about it?

    I guess it is only fitting that the Catholic Priest would try to spin the Penn State scandal too, because they did ALMOST THE EXACT SAME THING that the Catholic Church did regarding sex abuse. The only exception is that the Church had far more abusers, covered it up for far more years, and did it all while pretending to be a moral authority.

  • Acn

    *sets watch*

    incoming ted seeber making an ass of himself in 3…..2……

    • John Horstman

      This comment is full of win.

  • Glodson

    What the fuck?!

    First: “It’s an understandable thing … there are the relatively rare cases where a priest is involved in a homosexual way with a minor. I think the statistic I read recently in a secular psychology review was about 2%.” I don’t know what the number actually is, but even if I assume this to be true, my true anger over this whole mess was that the “2%” weren’t punished, or brought to face charges, or even defrocked. They were protected. The Church created an environment that allowed these men to continue to prey on children put in their care. They were allowed to abuse the very children that were taught to trust these men, and even defended by the Church. The scandal was bad enough, but I hold the Church responsible for covering it up, for allowing that “2%” to continue to abuse children with both inaction, and the willingness to transfer these men around as accusations grew. What the some of these priests did was horrible, and a crime. And the Church helped them find new victims, and gave implicit consent by defending them in the wake of overwhelming evidence. And it is clear that those in charge knew what was going on.

    And yes, I do doubt the “2%” figure.

    Speaking of covering for pedophiles: “Here’s this poor guy — [Penn State football coach Jerry] Sandusky — it went on for years. Interesting: Why didn’t anyone say anything? Apparently, a number of kids knew about it and didn’t break the ice. Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime. It was a moral failure, scandalous; but they didn’t think of it in terms of legal things.” And here’s what I’m talking about. Diminishing what Sandusky did, failure to note that the school failed to take action when it mattered, and even blaming the children, children again placed in this bastard’s care. Fuck Father Benedict Groeschel.

    Finally, the worst for last: “It’s not so hard to see — a kid looking for a father and didn’t have his own — and they won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that.” It is hard to see as that isn’t fucking reality, asshole. But let’s say it is reality. Let’s say that happened in some bizarre world where young boys are looking to seduce a father figure for some making out, then it is still up to the fucking adult to be a fucking adult. Even this contrived idiocy is indefensible.

    Reading this man’s statement made my skin crawl.

    • iknklast

      The other thing is this: only “2%”? Only 1% of all insects carry human diseases or harm humans – we wage all out war against those that do. No one says that it’s only 1% of the insects, so let’s leave the plague, malaria, or crop damage alone, because it’s only 1%.

      The actual number doesn’t matter, but even if it did, there are something like 400,000 priests in the world. That means around 8000 of them that are raping children. What an ugly piece of work this is.

      • Glodson

        You are right. Saying that only 2% of my peers are pedophiles, even if that is lower than some other groups, ignores the fact that it is still too high by 2 percentage points.

        And I do believe that figure is a total asspull as it sounds good but I doubt strongly that it reflects reality, especially with the environment that decades, if not longer, of cover ups must have fostered.

        • Carina De Almeida

          Agreed, “stats, stats and lies” as we say in my industry.

  • invivoMark

    “Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime. It was a moral failure, scandalous; but they didn’t think of it in terms of legal things.”

    Wow. He really does not understand that it’s wrong because it *hurts children*, not because it’s technically illegal or because it’s icky.

    It’s not a scandal. A scandal is when you’re caught cheating on your wife with thirty-seven fashion models on the weekend. And it’s not just illegal. Smoking marijuana is just illegal, but mostly hurts no one.

    Raping children permanently scars them, it hurts them for their whole life, and that’s why the rest of us are pissed off, you inconsiderate asshole.

    • John Horstman

      While I sympathize entirely with your sentiment, you really want to be careful making universal statements like:

      Raping children permanently scars them, it hurts them for their whole life, and that’s why the rest of us are pissed off, you inconsiderate asshole.

      While it’s true that childhood sexual abuse can and often does cause great harm to children which can extend into adulthood, proclaiming this as a universal denies the experiences of victims/survivors of childhood sexual abuse who are able to heal and move past their abuse, do not wish to define/mark themselves or have others define/mark them in terms of a past trauma, etc. Rape is not experienced or processed the same way by everyone, and it doesn’t need to always be permanently harmful to still be always wrong.

      • Amyc

        I was also taken aback by that statement. It reminded me of the ever-too-common implication that sex is dirty, and if any of it gets on you (even if not by choice) then you’re dirty and ruined forever. I don’t this invivoMark was intending to mean that. I think he was just trying to convey the seriousness of sexual abuse.

  • Samantha

    What I have always wondered is are the priests pedophiles first, or are they priests first, then pedophiles? Are pedophiles drawn to the priesthood or does priesthood and the required abstinence somehow influence them to become pedophiles because they are not supposed to engage in any sort of sexual conduct with themselves or others?

    But, if one were not inclined to sexually abuse children but complete abstinence effed them up psychologically and that is why the abuse children, it seems like it would be easier to just masturbate to relieve their desires rather than take it out on a child.

    I just have a difficult time believing that pedophiles are attracted to the priesthood and go into it for that reason. But, perhaps that is the case.

    • Glodson

      Why would the required abstinence cause a priest to sexually fixate on children? A sexually repressed priest does have plenty of adults, both men and women, he could have sex with. Pedophilia isn’t a response to being sexually repressed, or even a lack of sex anymore than a rapist rapes because of a lack of consensual sex.

      However, it isn’t so much that the priesthood attracts pedophiles as it produces them. It is an environment that fosters trust in an authority figure, and an in-group that encourages silence. Speaking out against an authority figure is hard enough as a child. It becomes even harder when everyone, your parents included, say that a great man that abuser is. The stigma gets attached to the child, he believes it to be his fault. And if one comes forward, they are denigrated and silenced. The Catholic Church isn’t alone in this problem. It is the same dynamic involved at Penn State. Children were placed in the care of a man willing to abuse them for his own sexual gratification, and the kids where likely told that he was a great man. He had exceeding power, and worse, had an even larger authority figure backing him up.

      The Church makes for a great environment for a pedophile. It is a powerful institution interested in staying powerful, the priests are “vetted” by peers and then defended in the wake of their crimes. The kids are unintentionally groomed with that extra serving of authoritarian control. And the priest has his god on his side. The pedophile priests might not be thinking off of this when they become priests, but they must recognize, at some point, how much control and influence they have. And how that can allow them to prey on children.

      And sadly, men like this, men who would prey on children seem adept at finding niches where they are placed in positions of trust over children. Having the church shield them makes it even worse.

      • Samantha

        “However, it isn’t so much that the priesthood attracts pedophiles as it produces them.”

        I guess my question is more about HOW it produces them and why. Just because someone realizes they have a lot of authority, how does that make someone decide to molest children? If sexual repression is not a contributing factor, what is? It seems to me that sexual repression could have something to do with it, and they choose children because they DO have power over them and know no one is likely to believe them.

  • Carina De Almeida

    There is absolutely NOTHING about this that is “understandable”. I repeat, NOTHING!

  • pagansister

    How the heck can anyone BLAME the child for his/her molestation? There is absolutely no excuse for an adult mistreating a child—-NONE! It is the fault of the adult taking advantage of his position—priest, football coach, teacher etc. using that power to do the unthinkable to the child. IMO, anyone (male or female) caught mistreating a child should never see the light of day again—jail for life is almost too good for them.


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