The Editors: The Catholic Church should not be shocked by the McCarrick case—it should be ashamed.

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, is pictured during a reception for new cardinals at the Vatican Feb. 22, 2014. Cardinal McCarrick said he will no longer exercise any public ministry "in obedience" to the Vatican after an allegation he abused a teenager 47 years ago was found credible. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The Catholic Church cannot pretend to be shocked about the pattern of sexual abuse of adult seminarians by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, recently detailed in a comprehensive story in The New York Times. As The Times made clear in its reporting, many church leaders had received multiple notices of the cardinal’s behavior. Local dioceses had been told; the papal nuncio in Washington, D.C., had been told; and, eventually, even Pope Benedict XVI had been told.

But none of these reports interrupted Cardinal McCarrick’s rise through the ranks nor his appointment as cardinal nor his eventual retirement in 2006 as a respected leader of the U.S. church. Nor did these reports lead to his removal last month from public ministry, which finally resulted from a credible allegation of abuse of a minor almost 50 years ago, recently revealed and acted on by the Archdiocese of New York.

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Many church leaders had received multiple notices of the cardinal’s behavior.

It is true that none of the earlier reports of abuse alleged criminal behavior with minors, but they were serious enough that Cardinal McCarrick should have been called to account for the terrible misuse of his office and authority. The church and its leaders should be ashamed of their failure to do so. The slow and halting progress the church has made by way of reforms adopted in response to the sexual abuse of children, for example through the Dallas charter, has been called into question by the revelation of its ongoing failures to deal with other reports of abuse. Nor should the media, including us in Catholic media (Cardinal McCarrick was a longtime friend of this magazine and delivered the homily at our centennial celebration in 2009), be absolved of responsibility for any failure to take these and other rumors and reports as seriously as was required. To demand accountability only of the hierarchy is itself hypocrisy.

[Explore America’s in-depth coverage of the sex abuse crisis]

The church also cannot pretend that this is an isolated incident. There are very likely similar reports involving other bishops and church leaders who have abused their authority or committed sexual offenses that have been ignored over past decades. As societies around the world reckon with the unfolding of the #MeToo movement and victims of sexual abuse and harassment find their voices, the church must not pretend that this is merely a regrettable episode that will soon be over.

In all likelihood, there are more reports still to come that will show this situation is worse than is now known. The church should remember that real improvement consists not in the cessation of bad press for the church but in the development of a culture in which powerful leaders do not expect their misdeeds to be silently covered up and in which victims of abuse and harassment feel supported in their decisions to confront those who have mistreated them.

What can the church do to help build that culture?

First, the church must establish once and for all its willingness to hear reports of abuse and misuse of power that have been quietly ignored or “dealt with” in the past. Bishops’ conferences should establish clear procedures for reporting concerns for those who cannot go through the local diocesan structures that answer to the very bishop whose conduct may be in question.

As societies around the world reckon with the unfolding of the #MeToo movement, the church must not pretend that this is merely a regrettable episode that will soon be over.

Second, Pope Francis and the Vatican must show that they are willing to remove bishops and other church leaders who are guilty of any form of abuse, not only the sexual abuse of children. One way to do this would be to expand the process for disciplining bishops for negligence in response to abuse of minors, which Pope Francis defined in 2016, to include other forms of abuse. But an even more important reform would be greater transparency in investigating and rendering decisions in cases involving bishops. In other words, when a bishop is removed, the Vatican needs to state publicly why he is being removed.

Third, even before action from Rome, the bishops can make substantive efforts to seek justice for victims and the church community even at the cost of institutional resources and reputation. The decision of two New Jersey dioceses to release one of Cardinal McCarrick’s accusers from confidentiality agreements is a good first step. Bishops—or indeed any ministers who misuse their office by pressuring people under their authority into sexual activity—do violence both to individual victims and to the community that has invested its trust in them. The spiritual and psychological harm—to individuals and the people of God—caused by such abuse is incalculable and long-lasting.

The best way the church can begin to repent for the sins of leaders like Cardinal McCarrick and all those who turned a blind eye to his wrongdoing is for bishops to call their brother bishops and other leaders within the church to account. It would be a significant, though sadly belated, statement of pastoral commitment for the bishops together to call upon all who have misused their ecclesial office by sexually abusing someone under their authority or pastoral care to take responsibility for their failure and submit their resignation. Another story of episcopal abuse may break in the media at any time. It would be a prophetic witness to God’s grace for the church to embrace this opportunity for repentance and the hope for reconciliation now rather than passively waiting for more secrets to be revealed.

Jesus told his disciples that it would be better for someone to have a millstone tied around his neck and be cast into the sea than to “put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me” (Mt 18:6). Surely it would be better for the church to lead the way in listening to people who have been harmed than to continue defending, even through silence, the authority and reputation of leaders who have already betrayed their pastoral responsibilities.

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Robert Lewis
1 month ago

This is very clear and very good, and it is the strongest recommendation regarding these scandals thus far made by anyone. Moreover, it is absolutely necessary that it, or something like it, be enacted, if the Church is to regain lost ground.

A Fielder
1 month ago

I agree that the Church has lost ground. Regaining it however, will probably involve finding a way for the laity (and women) to find the voice of moral authority. It is hard to imagine that the clergy/hierarchy will reform itself without significant pressure and accountability from the body of baptized believers. Good leaders will be able to articulate the sense of the faithful. Much ink will be spilled here on the "problem" of gay priests. I am a proponent of ordaining married people, but we also need to confront the sad reality that gay & lesbian people are highly encouraged by the church to accept celibacy whether or not it is healthy or even possible for them. This is why a high percentage of priests are gay. Justice (and common sense) demands that celibacy be freely chosen. The church offers that choice to heterosexual people. We should also offer it to people who are not.

T. Saenz
1 month ago

People are free to choose celibacy or marriage. The Church neither grants nor denies human free agency in those or any other matters. The question is whether the baptized (laity and clergy alike) will exercise their freedom in Christ to imitate Christ, or whether they will imitate something else. Too often our sinful nature wins the battles for our hearts. What does the scripture say? "...Sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master." (Gen 4, 7b). And it says, "That is not how you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds...." (Eph. 4, 20-23)

John White
1 month ago

The bellweather change that needs to be made to truly turn the corner on this horror is for the American Church to declare that secular law takes precedence over canon law when it comes to abuse. When abuses are alleged the first act must be to contact the local law enforcement agency and for the church to cooperate fully and without hesitation with all lawful requests from the law enforcement officers.

Crystal Watson
1 month ago

This is similar to the case of Cardinal Keith O'Brien in the UK. In that situation, the victims went public and the ensuing scandal resulted in him retiring ... https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/feb/23/cardinal-keith-o-brien-ac…

The church has to be honest about the celibacy thing. A large percentage of priests have sex or have relationships, but because of mandatory celibacy, those relationships are lied about and are hidden, and the really unhealthy ones - like the situation with McCarrick - flourish in the dark. Either be serious about celibacy and fire people who violate that, or do away with mandatory celibacy and let priests have public healthy relationships.

Robert Lewis
1 month ago

There is a third way, which is indicated by the practice of the Orthodox Church: mandatory celibacy for hierarchs, so they can concentrate on their greater responsibilities--drawing on the monks and cenobites for those roles--and marriage as an option for parish priests.

Crystal Watson
1 month ago

This creates a two tier system where if people want to get ahead in their religious careers, they will have to choose celibacy ... this will lead to the same dishonesty as already exists in the church. Plus, there's no real reason to punish priests for wanting to have public romantic relationships and children. If it was good enough for the original disciples it should be good enough for the church.

Robert Lewis
1 month ago

"... if people want to get ahead in their religious careers..."

The "desire to get ahead" in a religious career is prima facie evidence that the priest-candidate has no vocation at all.

Crystal Watson
1 month ago

Oh, let's not be naive.

Robert Lewis
1 month ago

Well, then you have something in common with this predator, because he, obviously, didn't believe in a vocation to the priesthood, either. The cynicism you express regarding a special kind of God-given priestly "charism" must have eventually been widely shared by McCarrick's generation of clerics.

Phillip Stone
1 month ago

We who are talking as Catholics to Catholics have some unchangeable fundamentals.
The first is that in the communion of saints or the fellowship of believers, there are always and constantly heirachical relationships amongst us. Many tiers, not merely two. The way the disciples were called, appointed and interacted from the beginning.
Secondly, functions within the ministry are callings, vocations, and have nothing to do with careers. No-one has any rights whatsoever to have any place in the hierachy or any task in the great commission except to share in the priesthood of all believers and to spread the good news to every creature within whatever situation they find themselves.
The assertion made that a large percentage of the celibate presbyters and episcapal males have sex is ridiculous, cynical calumny and disqualifies the person from deserving any respect.

Crystal Watson
1 month ago

I don't think there needs to be a conflict between having a vocation and wanting to do well in the priesthood as a career. Even Pope Francis did what very few Jesuits would do ... became a bishop .... in what seems to have been a career move that eventually led to a Jesuit becoming a pope.

Tim O'Leary
1 month ago

Crystal - since the abuse in this story is homosexual, you seem to be saying that celibacy creates homosexual abuse, and that if we permit straight priests to marry, there will be less of it. Very counter-cultural.

Crystal Watson
1 month ago

No, I'm not saying that. Marriage equality is the law, here and in Ireland and in the UK and many other places ... there's no reason why gay priests shouldn't be married with children (adopted) if the church did away with mandatory celibacy.

Jay Zamberlin
1 month ago

So the recent "legalization" of a practice proscribed, from the beginning, in the Scriptures and the Church, and all monotheistic religions, is the "green light" now for Catholics to "marry" homosexuals (Catholics have a very different understanding about marriage than the secular world, and that is concerning the hetero world --much less the gay world) and from there Catholic priests, (gays are recently barred from Seminaries, just btw). Must be nice to live in the Episcopalian world, but this is a CATHOLIC liberal rag, not Unitarian.

Crystal Watson
1 month ago

1) Not all monotheistic religions condemn marriage equality for LGBT people. The Episcopal church, the Lutheran church, the Presbyterian church, the UCC, the Methodist church, Conservative and Reform Judaism, and others affirm it.
2) The church may have given lip service to banning gay men from seminaries, but there is a very large proportion of gay men in the priesthood. I'm not saying the church should marry them, but they could have a civil marriage.

Frank Elliott, Jr.
1 month ago

In all monotheistic religions? What an astonishingly ignorant claim.

Tim O'Leary
1 month ago

I should have known. The suggestion is more gay sex will lead to less gay sex abuse, just like in Hollywood (Kevin Spacey) or the Episcopal Church. But, that never works. It does not matter that same sex marriage is permitted by the law. So is abortion and adultery and divorce and a host of things that the Church teaches against. What is needed is more chaste holiness, not less.

Crystal Watson
1 month ago

"more gay sex will lead to less gay sex abuse"

What? No - having a church that doesn't promise to enforce lifetime celibacy on people but which instead recruits people with normal romantic lives, will attract fewer disturbed individuals, straight or gay.

Tim O'Leary
1 month ago

Celibacy is not enforced - men are free to be priests or not., just as one is not forced to be Catholic But it is wrong to treat gay or straight as in any way equivalent. One is natural and leads to procreation of the species, fathers and mothers, and is ordained by God. The other is, well, not - read the Catechism.

Robert Lewis
1 month ago

What will lead to "less gay sex abuse" is honest and open acceptance of "same-sex-attracted" men who openly profess to being, and who nevertheless want to be celibate and chaste for the Gospel's sake, and who PUBLICLY ask for the support of lay people in taking up that cross. (Which is actually happening in the lives of many priests, but, unfortunately, without the open embrace and support of their ignorant and misinformed parishioners.)

Tim O'Leary
1 month ago

Strange that this article mentions "abuse" 15 times, "sexual" a few times and never mentions gay or homosexual, when the rise of Cardinal McCarrick can only be explained by either willful denial of what was going on or the workings of the so-called gay lobby Popes Benedict and Francis both have railed about. The NYT article says a letter was sent to Pope Benedict, but does not confirm that he received it. Was it possibly stopped in its delivery by the gay lobby in the Vatican Pope Benedict describes in his book "The Last Conversations"?

The Church has been way to lax on policing the subset of its clergy regarding chastity. It needs to take a zero tolerance for any substantiated sexual activity as a block against promotion, unless there is a serious change of heart and much repentance, prayer and fasting.

J Brookbank
1 month ago

Tim, your focus on homosexuality is frankly exhausting. And I say this as a straight Catholic.

The issue here is NOT homosexuality. The issue is abuse of power.

Wait long enough: the stories of clerics, up and down the hierarchy, sexually harassing and abusing nuns, sisters and other women in the church community will come pouring out.

What will you do then? Tell the church they never should have accepted heteroexual men into seminaries, the priesthood, the hierarchy?

Better to address the real issue: the abuse of power by the perpetrators; the abuse of power by those who knew but stayed silent because they COULD; the abuse of trust by all of the above; the abuse of faith by all of the above; the abuse of God by all of the above; and the abuse, in the end, of the non-perpetrators who are gay --- all the gay men who have never abused anyone, let alone a check or fellow priest -- who are now held responsible by people who harbor the bigotries you express every time any sex-related topic arises.

Danny Collins
1 month ago

J Brookbank, Similar to the McCarrick case, at the height of the abuse crisis 90% of the victims of child sexual abuse were boys. Abusers often operate in networks. Are you claiming that the Catholic Church is an exception to that generally applicable rule? On what basis do you make such a claim?

There is no straight version of NAMBLA.

J Brookbank
1 month ago

My goodness, Danny.

Robert Lewis
1 month ago

Thank you for saying that to him.

Tim O'Leary
1 month ago

Did you mean Danny or J?

Katherine Klykylo
1 month ago

Excellent, well thought-out reply. I would also add that this type of abuse of power especially flourishes in systems and organizations which are relatively closed to outside scrutiny. The fundamental example of this is the family where physical or sexual abuse is denied among members and not shared with outsiders because of the fear of or threats that revealing such abuse to the outside world would bring shame to or destroy the family. Yes, there has been progress, but the Church continues to function as a family which keeps its crimes and sins to itself rather than functioning as an organization which is subject to our legal system. (Remember when domestic abuse wasn’t a crime, but a “family issue?”). I am frustrated and ashamed when I hear about yet another abuser whose actions have been hidden. I also wonder what I’m going to hear next. As a Catholic I urge the Church to move more swiftly in dealing with these crimes. Finally, I’m another straight Catholic who is quiet tired of hearing that only homosexuals are responsible for sexual abuse in the Church or anywhere else.

Tim O'Leary
1 month ago

J - I get your exhaustion. I comment on lots of topics but you only seem to comment on homosexual articles. Imagine the howling if someone tried that excuse about pedophile sex abuse, saying it was only about power and not about child sex. Indeed, it is an abuse of power. But, it is power to cover up homosexual acts and an unwillingness to face this particular vulnerability in today's Church. McCarrick would never have gotten away with bringing a group of girls to his beach retreat and sleeping with them. The editors don't want to say that because they have trouble with Church teaching on homosexual acts, as taught in the Catechism (following the Scriptures): CCC 2357 - "They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved."

J Brookbank
1 month ago

Tim, McCarrick may be gay.

What is certain is that he is a predator who takes his victims where he finds them.

THAT identity -- opportunistic predator -- is what made him a danger.

McCarrick is a sexual predator.

How about you guys here get focused on the power dynamics that create perfect hunting grounds for sexual predators rather than using this as one more opportunity to engage in bigotry toward the gay community?

Tim O'Leary
1 month ago

"McCarrick may be gay." You think?
So, any criticism of exclusive homosexual predatory sex abuse and come-ons to adults is bigotry. Do you consider the Scripture and the Catechism to be bigoted documents? Or is just quoting them bigotry? Or, maybe, God is teaching us all something important about what sex is for, and not for?

J Brookbank
1 month ago

Tim -- My point, as I imagine you understood, was that McCarrick's sexual orientation is not relevant. What is relevant is that he is a predator.

It is not relevant that Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Eric Schneiderman, the gymnastics doctor and ABCDEFGHIJK are all heterosexual men. It is relevant that they are all sexual predators. It is not relevant that Kevin Spacey is homosexual. It is relevant that he is a sexual predator. It is not relevant if McCarrick is gay or not. It is relevant that he is a sexual predator.

And it is relevant that the hierarchical institutions and cultures in which they worked protected the predators and hid the predation from view.

By your logic, Tim, we can no longer allow heterosexual men to work in Congress, medicine (sorry, Tim!), journalism, Hollywood, pretty much anywhere, right?

Straight man = sexual predator, right?

That would be a bigoted statement. And I don't subscribe to it.

Sexual predator = sexual predator, Tim.

And they thrive in hierarchical systems in which power can be used to prey and then protect the predator.

Robert Lewis
1 month ago

I've been saying much the same thing to him for over a year. His extreme homophobia won't allow him to listen objectively to what you are saying. He will discount any and all evidence that there are plenty of "same-sex-attracted" clergy who observe chastity and celibacy, and that there is a correlation in this between the clerics who are open and honest about their natural orientation, as compared with those who are dishonest and closeted.

Tim O'Leary
1 month ago

Sheesh - hiding behind the homophobia slur is itself an abuse of power to avoid facing what went on with McCarrick. It is the modus operandi of J & R and the gay lobby to avoid the unique problem of same-sex abuse (SSA) and to preserve the fiction that homosexual sex is a moral & healthy alternative to heterosexual sex, directly contrary to the Scriptures, the Catechism, every Christian denomination and all medical advice up until the 1960s (i.e. since Humanae Vitae). Neither of you will respond to the question on whether the Catechism is "homophobic" by your standards, as that would open up a can of worms in the conversation and diminish the power of the name-calling. Some math for you both from the Jay Report: 81% of abuse was SSA, only 33% was pedophile (pre-pubertal). If we accept the pew numbers that self-identifying homosexuals make up 2-5% of the population, think of how much priestly abuse would have been avoided if the Vatican and religious orders had been more rigorous in enforcing its ban on accepting those with deep-seated SS Attraction into the priesthood. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/12/07/the-vat…. That would be if stopping priestly sex abuse was your primary concern.

J Brookbank
1 month ago

Tim, a fellow who considers it a "slur" when his expressions are described as bigotry is both a fellow skilled at arguing and a fellow with whom real communication, on the topic at hand at least, is difficult at best. It is an absurdity to assert that Kevin Spacey was protected because he was gay. When he used his sexual orientation as an excuse for his predatory behavior, the gay community soundly and roundly rejected that response which is typical of predators: they are not responsible, anything but them is responsible. Sexual orientation is not an excuse for the sexual assault of anyone. Straight men got away with it forcenturies ("I couldn't help myself"). The world has called BS on that because the world understands that ALL sexualt assault, harassment and abuse is about power, not sex. And it is POWER, not sex, that protects the predators.

Kevin Spacey and all the heterosexual predators (the long list of which I offered but you cherry-picked the gay predator and ignored the heterosexual prefator) weere protected not because of a gay lobby or what would have to an ENORMOUS straight lobby. They were protected because of their positions in the hierachies of their various institutions and cultures.

McCarrick and Spacey, along with Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Schneiderman, gymnastics doctor ad nauseum, we're all protected Ted because they were valuable to their powerful institutions and because they in turn gained power. To use the phrase, "it's the power, stupid".

And, Tim, disagreeing with you and pointing out the bigotry you display does not reflect an abuse of power. That comment makes clear that you are not engaging honestly. That is a shame, for all of us.

Tim O'Leary
1 month ago

J - it is the way you (& R) use bigotry or homophobia that is illegitimate, and a power abuse in that you want to distract from the bleedin' obvious problem in the Church and with the gay lobby. You call me homophobic for quoting the Catechism (or scripture), or Pope Francis, but refuse to give an opinion on whether they are homophobic. As regards Hollywood, of course the known rich and famous sex abusers are predominantly heterosexual, since only 2-5% of the population self-identify as homosexual. The latter would have to be 20x more common to be even equal in incidence. But, the Spacey story brought much more to light. See here: "“It’s a very taboo subject,” said Alex Winter, an actor and director who said he was sexually abused as a pre-teen child actor. “I don’t know of any boys in any pocket of the entertainment industry that do not encounter some form of predatory behavior. … It’s really not a safe environment.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/31/hollywood-male-abusers-bo…

The numbers in the John Jay Report does point to a uniquely SSA problem in the Church. It is 4:1 vs. abuse of girls. So, do the math. How does 1/20 in the population translate to 4:1 in the priesthood? I think that is an 80-fold over-representation! If you only look at post-pubertal 67%, it is 60x SSA. (the Jay report didn't look into adult abuse). Either there are way too many homosexuals SSA priests (creating a sexual cabal) or the SSA abusers do a lot more abusing. Math is not bigotry, so perhaps, you can address the math problem without using any slur? Or not.

J Brookbank
1 month ago

Tim, I acknowledge your question about my beliefs about the catechism and the Bible, and I also acknowledge your implication that what you say and how you say are both catechetical and biblical. Further, I acknowledge your implication that my description of your expressions here as bigoted is an implicit description of the Catechism and Bible as bigoted. I acknowledge the questions and your implied statements. I leave us each to the guidance and counsel of our own Catholic teachers on matters catechetical and biblical.

Moving on.

Again, you cherry pick a quote from a victim of predatory behavior by gay men in Hollywood. I am not even going to bother, Tim, except to say that you know and I know we wouldn't have to look very far to find scads of quotes by women who would tell us the exact same thing about pre-teen girls and female adolescents: they are not safe in that environment.

Predators are predators, Tim, regardless of orientation. The straight ones, the gay ones. Predators all.

And they are NOT the norm in any environment.

All credible studies are clear: the fraction of priests who abused children and/or adolescents is very small. (One is too many, and all belonged/belong in jail).

Additionally, to my knowledge, there is no credible reporting ---- regarding the church or any other context ---- that the sexual orientation of the perpetrator can be determined by the gender of the victim.

Thus, your arithmetic is just plain wrong (and you are mixing apples and oranges and making wild leaps of logic) when you insist that the Jay stats re: the gender and age of the victims means that "there are way too many gay priests" or that the existing gay priests "do a lot more abusing".

What you call math here is really statistics.

Your conclusions based on the statistics are wrong. And Mark Twain said it best: "There's lies. There's damn lies. And then there's statistics". You see, statistics (math, in your words) CAN be bigotry.

And your conclusion is full of bigotry.

I know you want someone here to agree with you that American gay male culture has tolerated sexual relationships between adults and older adolescents. I doubt many people would disagree with you. Just as I doubt few would disagree that American culture in general has historically tolerated relationships between adult men and older teenage girls.

The reasons why all of that is true are surely addressed by researchers and scholars in just about every academic field because the answers are complex. I don't believe for a minute that either you or I could unpack the topic factually and adequately. And I am not interested in your guesses and I am not interested in telling you mine.

What I am sure of is that adults shouldn't engage teenagers sexually, regardless of what anybody's got between their legs. I agree the film you mention is problematic on this score as have been any number of films in which young heterosexual adults or older heterosexual adults have romantic/sexual relationships with older teens.

An adult should approach only another adult for sexual and/or romantic contact/relationships. And institutions, adults should approach only adults of equal power, authority and position in when pursuing sexual and/or romantic relationships. That is true regardless of genders and orientations. I think it likely we can agree on that, Tim.

Again, it is all about abuse of power and sex where one party has power over the other is ALWAYS an abuse of power. Again, that has nothing to do with sexual orientation.

The article is about abuse of power.

Tim O'Leary
1 month ago

J - Keep the focus on the generic "abuse of power" and nothing will ever change. It is like saying an abuse of energy. Power, like energy, is integral to all human interactions and avoids dealing with the key need for the particular sexual and spiritual scourge of our time. Concupiscence is a weakness nearly all humans have. it is particularly strong in men, and made worse by pornography, experimentation and a sense of entitlement when it come to sexual satisfaction. We need holy chaste priests, and a holy laity. Only a true conversion to the teachings of the Scriptures and the Catechism will save souls. I cannot agree with your summary statement for the clergy: "An adult should approach only another adult for sexual and/or romantic contact/relationships."

Tim O'Leary
1 month ago

One more datapoint from the scientific literature: "Of 327 homosexual and bisexual men participating in an ongoing cohort study pertaining to risk factors for HIV infection who completed a survey regarding history of sexual abuse, 116 (35.5%) reported being sexually abused as children...Sexual abuse remained a significant predictor of unprotected receptive anal intercourse in a logistic model adjusting for potential confounding variables." https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/9127231

J Brookbank
1 month ago

Tim, your decision to post this as a datapoint in this context is simply one more datapoint that reveals your bigotry against homosexuals.

This is like a woman who is so bigoted about men that she cannot see past the word "man" to focus on and understand and address any other existing and relevant factor. THAT is a hallmark of bigotry, Tim.

For that woman, the relevant is factor is MAN, period and always. And that is bigotry.

For you, the relevant factor is HOMOSEXUAL, period, always. And that is bigotry.

Tim O'Leary
4 weeks 1 day ago

Right J Brookbank - using the medical literature is bigoted. Here are my points in succinct form.
1) Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex.
2) It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained.
3) Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."
4) They are contrary to the natural law.
5) They close the sexual act to the gift of life.
6) They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.
7) Under no circumstances can they be approved. (Points 1-7 are verbatim from the Catechism (#2357))
8) Same sex activity not only hurts one spiritually, but it hurts one's mental and physical health in myriad ways (esp. men - see the medical literature on MSM), prevents one from having children naturally, and is associated with earlier sex experiences, more sexual partners, more dangerous sex, more depression and more suicides (see the medical literature on MSM - men having sex with men).
9) Adoption laws that place children with homosexual couples prevents those children from growing up with male and female role models, which are necessary for their own self-understanding, hurting them spiritually and physically.
10) Whatever the situation in general society, the best data we have point to a unique problem with male homosexual conduct in the clergy, against state law and more directly against canon law. For the sake of everyone's salvation, this must be addressed directly and radically.

I wish only for the salvation of souls, including every dear child of God who is struggling with sexual attractions or addictions that are contrary to God's law. I consider your words and efforts and those of other homophile bloggers to be deeply hurting those very people, to be perpetuating their suffering, and to be contrary to the Gospel - "O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy" the Fatima prayer.

J Brookbank
4 weeks 1 day ago

Tim, using medical literature to support an argument to which the medical literature is not, in fact, applicable is an inappropriate use at best and bigoted at worst.

You have suggested you are employed in the medical field. If so, you understand that distinction and you know you know this citation is red herring in this context.

J Brookbank
4 weeks 1 day ago

So, Tim, I admit to obsessing.

YES citing medical literature can be part of a bigoted argument when the literature is cited not because it is relevant but because it will incite strong emotions and opinions against the target of the speaker's bigotry.

That is what you did here.

Again, if you really are employed in the medical field, you know that stats and scientific literature lose all meaning and value when misapplied.

J Brookbank
1 month ago

Tim, "abuse of power" is not a "generic" term; it is widely understood by those who care to understand as the key underlying dynamic in most forms of interpersonal violence, whether in the family, workplace and institutions.

Every publicized story of McCarrick's predatory behavior is an story of abuse of power, meaning he was the boss, the godfather, he was the trusted adult family friend. He had a very specific, defined position of power in the lives and the institutions (family, seminary, diocese, archdiocese) of the children and adults he used to meet his own needs.

The genders and sexuality orientations of the predator and the victims are not the determinant factors here, Tim.

It was McCarrick's position of power that granted him access and solitude and influence and credible authority to act on threats of retribution against his victims should they expose him.

That is a well-defined and -understood dynamic, Tim, and it is called "abuse of power" across genders, ages, races, class, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, relationships, ethnicity, institutions, occupations, education level, political party, etc.

You are engaged in a disinformation campaign, Tim. I do not know if that is because you are not educated about the extensive body of scholarship across disciplines; the legislation and policy at every level of American law and policy that addresses and censures abuse of power; and the exploding publicity about American society's exponentially expanding unwillingness to tolerate abuse of power.

Or perhaps you are engaged in this disinformation campaign because you are so focused on homosexual peoole that you cannot see the forest (abuse of power, in this case) for the trees (when some of the trees are or may be homosexual, in this case).

Robert Lewis
1 month ago

His behavior as an agent of this disinformation on these threads is so frenetic, in fact, that I think he should get help. I think a good therapist would advise him, in all charity, actively to seek out some sort of relationship, if only a virtual one, with a seriously committed Catholic gay man, and to LISTEN to his account of his experiences as a child and as a young person coming to grips with his "intrinsic," God-given nature. There is such a young man on the internet, whose testimony is inspiring. He posts under the name of "Steve Gershom," and I think Mr. O'Leary should read his blog.

Tim O'Leary
4 weeks 1 day ago

Lewis - you say you won't respond but you still do, throwing insults my way via others. You might get help in being honest.

Robert Lewis
4 weeks 1 day ago

Not talking to you; seconding what Mr. B. wrote.

Erin B
4 weeks ago

Mr. O'Leary,
This is not about McCarrick being straight or gay. This is not about homosexuality among priests. Sexual abuse is about power. Period. It has nothing to do with sexual attraction. McCarrick was in a position of power. He grossly abused that power. To say sexual abuse is about anything other than power is pure ignorance and insulting to victims of said abuse. Stop trying to make it an issue involving sexual orientation. You clearly lack the love of Christ for your fellow man. You are the one who needs much repentance, prayer, and fasting.

Tim O'Leary
1 month ago

I think the editors should have led with their own culpability in the coverup, and not just in the middle of the story. "Cardinal McCarrick was a longtime friend of this magazine and delivered the homily at our centennial celebration in 2009." They say "To demand accountability only of the hierarchy is itself hypocrisy." - so, what are they going to do about it? Will there be a change in the editorial policy, some articles on the centrality of chastity for any holy life, calls against any promotions for anyone who consistently fails to live a chaste life, or preaches against celibacy and chastity, etc.? We will see.

J. Calpezzo
1 month ago

Roger Mahony

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