Is homosexuality the problem in the sex-abuse scandal?

Is homosexuality the problem in the sex-abuse scandal? August 22, 2018

I’m seeing a great deal of effort from the usual suspects to argue that the sex-abuse-and-coverup scandal is not about homosexuality. The two key premises of the argument are: (1) Homosexuals are no more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexuals; and (2) Like all rape, the statutory rape of minors is about power, not sex. As usual, there’s some truth in those statements, but it’s vitiated by fallacious inferences.

Strictly speaking, (1) is true. At least, the stats I’ve seen bear it out–including those cited in the 2011 John Jay Report. But according to both that report and its 2004 prequel, most victims of clerical sexual abuse have been male, and most of those males are 14-17 years old. The statutory rape of such males by adults does not manifest pedophilia, because such males, though minors, are not pre-pubescent children. What the rape of such males manifests is ephebophilia. That’s known less clinically as “man-boy love,” which you can read about in Plato and other ancient authors. Recruiting and grooming adolescent boys has been part of homosexual culture everywhere for as long as we have records. I experienced it myself as a boy of that age in New York during the late 60s and early 70s, from both laymen and priests. And by any account, the percentage of homosexuals in the Catholic priesthood is much, much larger than in the general population. So please don’t tell me this isn’t about homosexuality. In part, it is.

Of course it’s *also* about power. But that doesn’t warrant inferring that the scandal isn’t about homosexuality because sexual abuse isn’t about sexuality at all, but about power. That distinction is meretricious. In reality, *both* are always involved.

If rape and other forms of sexual abuse were *only* about power, then forms of domination that don’t involve sexual coercion or violation would do just as well for the perp. There’d be nothing to explain why their power trip involves misuse of sexuality. But of course we know what the explanation is: Sexuality is very powerful in itself. Violent rape twists that power into the service of *libido dominandi*. Other forms of sexual abuse are often cases of the perp using their antecedent power over the victim–as boss, an older relative, or some other authority figure such as a member of the clergy–to seek sexual enjoyment as a form of play. That the victims rarely want to play is irrelevant; for the sin of lust is that of reducing the lusted-after person to the status of object, so that how the objects feel about the interaction is often of no concern to the perp. I experienced that myself as a victim, and have heard the same from other victims of both sexes.

The problem in this case, as in so many others, is that a prior political agenda is determining which sorts of people and things are to count as blameworthy and which are not. For the sake of dispassionate understanding, political agendas need to be set aside.

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