FRAMING the Catholic Church’s abuse crisis ‘as a homosexual issue’ shifts the focus away from thousands of women who have been the victims of sexual crimes committed by priests.
That’s the view of Barbara Dorris, above, an abuse survivor and former Executive Director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), who told reporters in Rome yesterday that, in the past 17 years, she has spoken to “thousands, thousands of victims” and close to half of them were women.
Survivors only come forward when they feel they will be believed, when they feel they can get help or when reporting the crimes will make a change, when it will help others protect children.
Most of the stories in the media in the past have been about the altar boys; the abuse of women and girls has not been the focus of coverage and when it has, unfortunately, words like ‘affair’ and ‘relationship’ have been used.
Framing the abuse crisis “as a homosexual issue,” she said, takes the focus away from:
The real issue, which is criminal sexual assault.
Focusing on homosexuality also:
Acts as a smokescreen; people now are discussing homosexuality, rather than the crimes themselves.
Pretending clerical sexual abuse is a result of homosexuality in the priesthood:
Automatically removes the women from the discussion and, magically, half the victims have been made to disappear.
She was speaking ahead of a Vatican summit that starts tomorrow on child protection in the Catholic Church.
US Cardinal Raymond L Burke and German Cardinal Walter Brandmuller released an open letter February 19, urging the Vatican summit to take up the theme of homosexuality in the priesthood. They said:
The plague of the homosexual agenda has been spread within the Church, promoted by organized networks and protected by a climate of complicity and a conspiracy of silence.
The cardinals belong to the traditionalist wing of the Church, where many believe homosexuality is a root cause of the clerical abuse, and are both outspoken critics of Pope Francis.
Their view was is flatly contradicted by research carried out by the US-based John Jay College of Criminal Justice which concluded that there is no causative relationship between either celibacy or homosexuality and the sexual abuse of children in the Church. Blaming the clergy abuse crisis in the Catholic Church on gay men or celibacy is unfounded, it said.
Its research concluded that clerical sexual abuse of children was more a crime of opportunity with abusers violating whomever they had more unsupervised access to – regardless of age and gender – and that abusive priests almost always had more access to boys