Pedophilia and Homosexuality
The comments yesterday from a high-ranking Vatican official linking homosexuality with pedophilia, essentially blaming homosexual priests for the abuse crisis, are all the more surprising when you consider a few salient points.
First of all, nearly every reputable mainstream psychologist and psychiatrist (Catholics included) rejects the conflation of homosexuality and pedophilia (and ephebophilia). Pope Benedict XVI himself, in a mid-air news conference with reporters en route to his first trip to the United States in 2008, also remarked that the two (homosexuality and pedophilia) he considered separate matters. (H/T: Grant Gallicho at dotCommonweal). (And the pope was speaking in regards to the sexual abuse crisis specifically.) There are countless pyschological studies that demonstrate that pedophilia (which centers on pre-adolescent boys) is more a question of a malformed sexual orientation, more a question of a stunted sexuality, more a question of proximity, more a question of power, than of homosexuality per se. (I'm no psychologist or pyschiatrist, but this is what the best experts attest to: that is, homosexuality does not lead to pedophilia; other factors do.)
But even noting that many of the victims were adolescent boys, and that some priests with a homosexual orientation preyed on them, you have to distinguish between a some gay priests and the vast majority of gay priests, who lead healthy celibate lives. That is, the actions of a certain percentage of gay priests should not condemn all of them, particularly on a matter this serious. That is simple stereotyping.
One reason that there aren't more public examples to counter the argument, of course, is that many celibate gay priests are unable, unwilling or simply not permitted to speak about their own orientations. (See "The Church and the Homosexual Priest" in America.) In the absence of public models of healthy gay priests, therefore, the image of the gay priest-pedophile predominates, and so can lead to such misunderstanding. There is also the clear witness of millions of emotionally mature and psychologically healthy gay men who have never, ever abused a child (nor would ever think of it, nor are inclined to do so, nor are at all attracted to children). Finally, and perhaps more importantly for the church at this critical moment, there is the witness of thousands of emotionally mature, psychologically healthy, celibate gay priests, who have never, ever abused a child (and, again, would never think of doing so) and who lead lives of quiet service to the People of God.
And a fuller take on this on Huffington Post.
James Martin, S.J.
(at the National Federation of Priests Councils meeting in Houston, Texas)
Here is your opening, with my emphasis in bold:
''The comments yesterday from a high-ranking Vatican official linking homosexuality with pedophilia, essentially blaming homosexual priests for the abuse crisis, are all the more surprising when you consider a few salient points.''
Homosexual priests cannot logically be BLAMED for the abuse crisis if a) there are also female victims and b) most homosexual priests do not engage in pedophilia.
I think you covered ''b'', but missed the obvious ''a''.
I don't come from a generation in the church that makes females an afterthought. You don't either. What the cardinal said was stupid.
Thanks for covering this subject. It's important. I'll wait to read other comments before saying more of what's on my mind.
I'm making PDFs, in case your tech person wants info.
And ''moving them around'' is still going on today. If my experience is typical, then it is going on today most often in religious orders, under the radar.
The Jesuit priest who abused me was removed from public ministry and teaching in 2003, with a signed legal agreement, and under the very next provincial he was right back in public ministry and teaching in 2006. I discovered it in 2009.
I bet there are not too many American bishops who do what that Missouri Jesuit provincial did, then lied about it on paper. ''Lucky'' girl, I am, I guess, with 20 years as a lawyer and able to read legal agreements and papers where stupid Jesuits lie. I didn't make anyone lie. I didn't make anyone violate a legal agreement. And I will not cover it up.
After I was abused by that perp Jesuit, I spent some time curled up in bed and told God it was so goddamn unfair. You don't ''just'' get raped by a priest. It's become a story about your life. What happened to your story being what you do? It's like my own life disappeared. It had changed too much.
Anyway, I see why people have other things on their minds. Thanks for bringing it back to the main issue: the perp priests being protected and moved around by their bishops and religious superiors, and abusing more young people. Everything else is a distraction.
I do understand why a lot of other issues come up. I really do.
But I do not understand why our church is not so consumed by its pastoral response to victims that is has TIME for distractions. How does a cardinal in Rome have time for saying stupid things, blaming it on homosexuals or the media? Doesn't the cardinal have any pastoral work to do? Can the cardinal say I am too busy helping people to talk about anything else but the need to help people? And talk to the media for a minute about that?
Know what I mean? I sure as hell don't see it in Jesuits, or bishops. And I included Jesuits because religious orders are very far behind.
I really liked your piece on Celibacy in HuffingtonPost the other day, because it meant, to me at least, that heterosexual and homosexual priests are basically asked to be celibate. So their sexual orientation does not matter at all.
As to some of the recent homophobic Vatican declarations, they are just a proof that people heading our hierarchy is so not into "the signs of the times." These guys are getting so bad I am beginning to feel sorry for them (!).
"Homosexuality and Pedophilia: The False Link"
A page which cites many studies showing there's no link between pedophilia and homosexuality is one from UC Davis - "Facts About Homosexuality And Child Molestation" ...... http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_molestation.html
A quote ....
Are homosexual adults in general sexually attracted to children and are preadolescent children at greater risk of molestation from homosexual adults than from heterosexual adults? There is no reason to believe so. The research to date all points to there being no significant relationship between a homosexual lifestyle and child molestation. There appears to be practically no reportage of sexual molestation of girls by lesbian adults, and the adult male who sexually molests young boys is not likely to be homosexual (Groth & Gary, 1982, p. 147).
“ nearly every reputable mainstream psychologist and psychiatrist (Catholics included) rejects the conflation of homosexuality and pedophilia (and ephebophilia). “ Very true, but the sex abuse crisis is mainly a crisis of active homosexuals in the priesthood, not pedophilia. Not all homosexual priests have abused minors, but most minors were abused by homosexuals. That is a fact.
Why would a celibate priest want to identify as ''Gay'' if he is Celibate? What does the term ''Gay priest'' mean outside of homoerotic activity?
If we don't know who ''gay priests'' are then how can we confirm that there are ''thousands of emotionally mature, psychologically healthy, celibate gay priests, who have never, ever abused a child.''
The true scandal is the cover-up and excusal of priests who are sexually active with adult men, a situation that has sadly been facilitated for so years by the dynamic dissent of many seminaries from the clear Catholic teaching regarding sexual morality!
It is not academic to talk about who potential abusers are if you are trying to screen them out as candidates for the priesthood. And if Bertone and others who link homosexuality and child abuse are wrong - as I think they are - then screening homosexual men (who are committed to celibacy, of course) out of the priesthood will give the illusion of doing something to solve the problem that may detract from doing things that will actually help.
Both are abnormal, deviant sexual acts that deny the holistic and God given nature of sex (i.e. the of its unitive and the procreative natures).
The fact that one is a crime (for obvious reasons) and the other is not does nothing to logically deny the connection between the two - and how homosexuality could easily lead to pedophelia. If sex is to be had just for the sake of pleasure or power - the derranged mind can easily make the small leap downward to the unwilling or even underage person.
Most of the abuse was male on male and a high percentage of that was post-pubescent.
Those homosexual activists - like the famous Andrew Sullivan - viciously attack the pope because they want to distract from the real root of this problem - their promotion of libertine, incorrect and deviant views of human sexuality
I'd like to invite you please to think for a moment about what you're saying, and about how illogical your statement is.
First, the vast majority-this is empirically demonstrated by study after study-of cases of child sexual molestation involve adult men molesting girls.
Do we then conclude that there is "connection" between heterosexuality and the act of pedophilia?
Of course not. Because pedophilia is something distinct from sexual orientation. It is not "caused" by sexual orientation.
And so it is grossly unfair to twist the facts about pedophilia - namely, that in the vast majority of cases, it involves an adult man molesting a female minor - to create a bogus "connection" between sexual orientation and pedophilia.
This also does a tremendous disservice to those trying to get to the real roots of the abuse crisis and resolve it, by introducing a red-herring issue into an important discussion.
Could distorting the truth about and demonizing a group of your brothers and sisters in Christ possibly be far more disordered and "deviant" than you want to believe those brothers and sisters are?
I do think, however, it is interesting that so many more boys than women have been abused here in the US (or am I wrong on this?). Why do we think this is? I suppose at least some of it has to do with the fact that we learned about 40+ years of abuse in the space of about a year and I would think that a lot of abuse has to do with power and proximity, so its really only relatively recent that girls have been in as close a contact with priests as boys were in the past. Still, though, I can't imagine that this is the only reason for it...
Here's a site where you can get an idea: www.aebn.com
I make a clear distinction between sin and sinner - and sexual "orientation" is nothing other than propaganda for the modern individualist that has no basis in science.
The fact of the matter is that both ACTS are unnatural and therefore considered deviant.
One is much, much worse than the other but it does not take away from their inherent similarity.
Do you have a blog? Your ability to cut through the smoke and mirrors of the liberal/individualist agenda and eloquently present the opposing viewpoint is impeccable and should be heard by others beyond the small audience here.
Do you have any data about the percentage of homosexual priests that abused children versus the percent of heterosexual priests who abused children?
It seems that this would be important data before we make any judgements about this issue. If there is a greater percent of heterosexual priests that abuse children then we might want to understand why this to be the case. The converse would also be true.
I choose to have an open mind about this issue. I would like to see data rather than emotion.
Thanks for the encouraging words! I enjoy your commentary on here, as well.
No time for a blog at the moment; however, I might start one in the near future and will let you know. The blogs I read now are First Things, Ross Douthat, and G-town Prof. Patrick Deneen - definitely check those out for a great perspective if you have time.
And do you really suppose that there is no such pornography to be found among heterosexuals? I'm led to believe there's a whole subculture of men who exchange pictures of underage girls on websites and by other means.
But I wouldn't conclude, because of the abundant empirical data showing that the huge majority of cases of child sexual abuse involve adult males molesting female minors, that there's a correlation between heterosexuality and pedophilia.
If not, why would you want to create such a correlation in the case of gays?
And if you would not want to define all heterosexuals on the basis of some of the abnormal sexual practices of heterosexuals - which are well-documented and of which depictions are, I'm led to believe, easy to obtain online and elsewhere - why would you wish to define all homosexuals on the basis of the abnormal sexual practices of a subset of homosexuals?
Does truth or justice or charity have any bearing on these discussions? And does Catholic teaching about moral issues have to rely on distortion of the truth and on scapegoating and demonizing people in order to make its point?
If it's true and compelling, surely it can stand on its own and it doesn't have to rely on lies to make its point. Our penchant for lying to prove a moral point only demonstrates that we don't have a strong, compelling, and cogent argument to make otherwise.
I continue to wish you well in your search for wisdom, and hope you'll pray for me as I try to find the same path.
Will do. Please pray for me as well.
I'm posting again because I'm persuaded that in these discussions, the voices we ought to hear first and foremost are those of survivors of clerical sexual abuse themselves.
And I've just seen that SNAP (Survivors of Those Abused by Priests) has issued a statement about Cardinal Bertone's comments, which is available at NCR (http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/sex-abuse-victim-reacts-cardinal-bertones-remarks). SNAP says:
Bertone's statements rub even more salt into the already-deep and still-fresh wounds of hundreds of thousands of men and women who have been assaulted by clerics and betrayed by bishops, especially women and girls. They deny and minimize the deep devastation felt by hundreds of thousands of women and girls who are suffering and have suffered because of pedophile priests and corrupt supervisors.
This alleged pedophilia-ephebophilia "distinction" is like a bank robber minimizing his crimes by claiming he pointed a small pistol at the innocent patrons and took only $50 bills, not $100 bills.
Google "twink," and you get a Wikipedia entry and a list of gay websites.
My point is not to suggest that all gay men are pedophiles, but to disclaim the homoesexuality advocates' suggestions that these priestly abuses were non-sexual in nature. Gay male attractedness to young, post-pubescent boys is not uncommon and is not considered taboo in the homosexual community, much as they might like you to think as they attack the priests and the Church.
Most of the abuse victims were post-pubescent boys; those abuses were gay sex crimes against boys, not asexual crimes committed by clinically diagnosable pedophiles as the media conveniently suggests. But nobody has the guts to call it what it is.
His works and theories are the key to understanding our current culture of decline and explaining the truth of Catholicism/Christianity.
No one thinker is more important to us moderns!
You say, "Google 'twink,' and you get a Wikipedia entry and a list of gay websites."
Again, I submit that you're spectacularly missing a point that is evident to all kinds of researchers and the public in general, when we get beyond the defamatory (and immoral) claim that gay men are pedophiles.
The point is: I'm quite sure that anyone wanting to amass evidence that men also seek out and use female minors as sexual objects could find evidence galore on the internet and elsewhere, if he wanted to do so.
But we don't conclude thereby that pedophilia is a particular problem among heterosexual men.
Google the many well-conducted studies that demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that the huge majority of those abusing children in society at large are men who prey on female minors.
Sexual orientation is a red herring in discussions of pedophilia, and a vicious one when used by people of faith to equate gay men with pedophiles. Vicious because it 1) distorts the truth, and 2) it deliberately scapegoats a minority already subject to discrimination and violence.
People of faith have no business engaging in such behavior, in my view. I suspect there'll come a day when it will be regarded by most people of good will with as much revulsion as, say, most people of good will would feel right now if somone said, "Google 'Jewish people," and you'll find all kinds of links about control of the media and shady financial dealings."
What might be the reason for this when the majority of priests are heterosexual (presumably)?
If my above statement is not true then please correct me. But I recall this to be true.
I want to thank you for raising many times here that all these discussions about homosexuality in the priesthood and alleged links to pedophilia completely ignore female victims. And you are right: it is very painful - which few people care to understand - to be a female victim of a perp priest and have my experience ignored. It is so unnecessary for church figures and commentators to frame issues these ways. I have not heard a single healing thing out of Rome, with efforts to blame the media, and then efforts to blame homoesexual priests, and on it goes.
I want to thank you personally for raising these important concerns.
From page 70 of the John Jay report (Table 4.3.2):
VICTIM’S AGE AT FIRST INSTANCE OF ABUSE
Google "barely legal" and see what you get. Then tell me if it means that heterosexuals should be barred from the priesthood for being attracted to teenage girls.
Gay people should not be judged by gay porn, just as straight people should not be judged by straight porn. This should go without saying.
The average age of puberty in boys is 11. Almost 70% of the abuse occurred after age 11.
If the average age is 12 for boys then 53% of abuse occurred in post-pubertal boys.
Whoever in the world would claim that any instance of sex abuse, including abuse of pre-pubescent boys, is "non-sexual in nature"? Even the Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines pedophilia as "sexual perversion in which children are the preferred sexual object."
Mike Brooks says: "Gay male attractedness to young, post-pubescent boys is not uncommon and is not considered taboo in the homosexual community, much as they might like you to think as they attack the priests and the Church."
If you search the web for "twinks," or go looking for gay porn, you will not find films or photos of anyone under 18 unless you try very, very hard, and even then you probably won't succeed. Pornography with underage boys or sexual contact with underage boys is *definitely* considered taboo in the gay community, although there are always people (gay and straight) who are drawn to what is taboo.
Rarely do I regret being too restrained, but I feel I was not strong enough in my previous message. To suggest that people should judge the gay community by gay pornography is OUTRAGEOUS.
Puberty lasts several years. According to Wikipedia, ''Although there is a wide range of normal ages, girls typically begin the process of puberty at age 10, boys at age 12. Girls usually complete puberty by ages 15–17, while boys usually complete puberty by ages 17 or 18.''
So if a child molester is to be considered a pedophile, does that mean his only victims will be children who have not even begun puberty? What about children early in puberty, or halfway through puberty? The other category we hear about for child molesters is Ephebophilia, ''which is the sexual preference of adults for mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19'' (according to Wikipedia), which is not a psychiatric term and so there are no diagnostic criteria from the DSM IV.
So there is a fight over where the cutoff should be to consider an abused child to be a victim of a pedophile, and I don't think anyone here is qualified to say what the correct answer is.
To me, it seems so obvious, that I wonder how it is that many people (well, I think this is a problem of many more men than women, to be honest) just completely miss that female as well as male minors have endured abuse by religious authority figures in our church.
The laser-beam focus on the false correlation between male homosexuality and pedophilia and the abuse crisis revictimizes women who have endured abuse. It makes them completely invisible.
Cynically, I suspect it's designed to do that, because the abuse crisis is global, and if we really began to deal with it at a global level, I suspect we'd be shocked at the incidence of abuse of females in the church in some geographic regions. And I suspect we'd find the same underlying pattern that is the one constant in the crisis in those regions: the refusal or inability of our pastoral leaders to deal with a problem they have long known about, but haven't addressed nearly proactively enough.
Meanwihile, the dead-end of the homosexuality/pedophilia/abuse crisis discussion diverts our attention from that real and constant problem. And it locks up much-needed energy in a discussion that goes nowhere constructive and nowhere healing. Sadly.
The difference between pedophilia and sex abuse of a post-pubertal boy or girl has to do with the recognized pyschologic pathology of the abuser. Sex abuse of the junior high/high school aged boy or girl is usually associated with an immature sexuality of the abuser. The question I have is why is the sex abuse by priests of the post-pubertal boy so much more common than the post-pubertal girl? Why is immature sexuality so much more common in the priest who has a same sex attraction than in the priest who has an opposite sex attraction. Is it just that the priesthood attracts this type of person or is it that this is more common in those males who have same sex attraction? Or is the abuse of the post-pubertal girl by priests under reported?
I don't think asking these questions is bigotry or hatred.
I don think asking the questions is bigotry or hatred either. But I do take exception to people trying to make the case that gay people are child abusers, which you can tell by looking at gay porn sites.
As far as I am concerned, so far the whole thing is a mystery. But I do take the John Jay researchers seriously when they say they have found no indication that homosexual priests are any more likely to be abusers than heterosexual priests. I do take seriously the idea that a heterosexual male can sexually abuse a boy and still be a heterosexual male.
Also, I have seen estimates that 30 percent of Catholic priests are gay. (Some say as high as 50 percent.) Yet I believe only 2 to 4 percent of priests are abusers. So it seems to me that to claim gay people abuse children is slandering a whole group to account for the behavior of a very small number of people who may or may not be members of that group.
So the questions are not the problem. It is some of the preconceptions, like ''homosexuals are pedophiles,'' that are objectionable.
One might not call the sex abusing priest a homosexual or gay but certainly this would indicate that many had a same sex attraction.
Only 10% of children were 10 or under. Most of these boys were Junior High or High School age. This age child thinks about sex, talks about sex and usually is aroused by this talking and thinking. Priests who abused these kids are different than the priest who abuses a child/baby (pedophile). They manipulated these boys in a different way than a pedophile abuses a child/baby. An honest person who cares about this issue would want to get to the bottom of this tendence for the priest abuser to be attracted to the boy who is going through puberty or who has gone through puberty. Why were the majority of abusers attracted to boys?
I am unable to find the victim sex by age of abuse. I would be curious if the percent of boys is even higher in the pubertal boy since the pedophile might be more likely to prefer the age of the child rather than sex.
The majority of victims are males between the ages of 11-17, and just over half (50.7%) of all
individuals who made allegations of abuse were between the ages of 11-14. The average age
of all alleged victims is 12.6. This number has increased over time, however. In the 1950s, the
average age was 11.5; in the 1960s it was 12; in the 1970s it was 12.87; in the 1980s it was 13.2;
and by the 1990s it was 13.87.''
The same article tells us that a psychiatrist named Ray Blanchard, who is working on the DSM V, is arguing for the inclusion of hebephilia as a psychiatric disorder. It seems to me that a great many of those abused were neither prepubescent or postpubescent, but pubescent.