Don’t blame the sex abuse crisis on queer Catholics

Photo by Chris Karidis on Unsplash

This is not a fun moment to be Catholic, I know, and we are all grasping for sense and answers. But here’s the thing: Using an abuse and accountability scandal to scapegoat Catholic queerness is not O.K.

Take, for example, this letter from Bishop Robert Morlino. I trust the bishop has the best intentions, but some of his most scorching indignation aims not at the abuses of power and accountability he is supposed to be talking about but at homosexuality, in general, which he reminds us the church regards as “intrinsically disordered” and that “cries out to heaven for vengeance” and possibly—the referent is not fully clear—is to be “hated with a perfect hatred.” Whatever theological truth may lurk in these words is about as pastorally presented as if I were to nail Acts 2:44 to the door of a bishop’s mansion. There are other concurrent truths, too.

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Using an abuse and accountability scandal to scapegoat Catholic queerness is not O.K.

Our friends (and I do regard them as friends) at First Things, meanwhile, know the classiest way to discriminate is to find a member of the class in question to assent to discrimination. Daniel Mattson, who identifies as a man with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies,” contends that “men like me” should be systematically excluded from the priesthood.

Each time I read something like this, I think of how, over and over, the people who have saved my faith when it was on the brink happened to be queer folks. I suspect this is not an accident. I cannot be sure, but I expect it was their experience of marginalization and their humanness against it that helped me see where God is.

Some of these people have been of the left, some of the right. Some have been on TV, some will never be so seen. Sometimes things have even gotten inappropriate. But that was not because they were queer. Straight folks in the church cross boundaries, too, just as much.

The people who have saved my faith when it was on the brink happened to be queer folks.

I came into this church right in the heat of the Boston Globe revelations. I was baptized in 2003. Many times I have been grateful to have been called to this church as an adult (barely, I was 18). But I was old enough to know the difference between the nonsense and the glory.

I would not have begun to know God were it not for a person, harbored in holy orders, whose life could only be described as queer, and who drew me in, safely and respectfully, when the straight dudes wanted to drive me out.

I never noticed queerness in one of the people I looked to early in my Christian life as a guide and model. But years later I ran into him with his partner at a famously welcoming evening Mass, on the other end of town from where he lived.

In years when nothing made sense and the hypocrisy got overwhelming, the testimonies of people whose gender experience most of the world did not bother to understand showed me how tiny my quibbles were in God’s eyes.

The universal church will not be any use if it is rooting out and driving underground all kinds of queer experience.

And it was from some corners of this church, believe it or not, that queer experiences seemed to make the most sense. From one corner, a nun had to keep her ministry to the trans community secret. From another, the sweetest friendship I have ever seen was between a famous, withering Jesuit and a woman whose husband, while dying from AIDS, the two of them had tended to decades earlier.

I am not calling the church to some crass conformity. I do not think mainstream, progressive, affirming culture has queerness all sorted. Not by a longshot. We need ancient wisdom to figure this crazy stuff out. But the universal church will not be any use if it is rooting out and driving underground all kinds of queer experience. We need to be present with that experience if we are to learn from it, together, to enlarge a bit our pitiful grasp of God.

When Pope Francis talks about a pastoral approach to these matters, some people think it is a slippery slope to heresy, and some think it is mere talk. But no: Accompaniment is the only way we can learn what God is trying to tell us—to hold the challenge in our midst. To see it. To confront it, and to embrace it.

In a sense, there is some truth that the problem of abuse has to do with a problem of queer sexuality. It is the problem of a repressed, denialist, immature queerness that discovered itself a little after Vatican II but was not able to go beyond that.

There is a revelation at hand here. It is not a liberal revelation or a conservative one. It is something else, something ancient. Blindness to it has caused so, so much pain. It has caused good people and good leaders to be their worst selves.

We need more penitence and healing. But we also need the courage to confront evil with love, to confront ignorance with the willingness to learn and to embrace.

This essay was adapted from a series of tweets.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Skip Collins
4 weeks ago

Fr. Martin claims that there is a "witch hunt." You regard any mention of the connection between clerical abuse and the prevalence of "queers" in the clergy and hierarchy as "scapegoating." Really? How about being less defensive and suspending your ideological presuppositions for a little while. Perhaps some of the horrors that have been exposed are the result of more than "repressed, denialist, immature queerness." Perhaps your unrepressed, accepting, mature queerness is also part of the problem.

Michael Caputi
4 weeks ago

Quoting Matt, "... maybe it is 'internalized homophobia ..." Yes, Matt, it is.

Tim O'Leary
3 weeks 6 days ago

Skip - great link, but I expect most of the pontificating liberals will not read it, so here is the early part, from Matt in VA, who is gay and in a civil marriage with a man: "Plenty of straight men find an attractive 16-year-old girl attractive; plenty of gay men find an attractive 16-year-old boy attractive. But gay men do not put on the brakes as often. Look at the sexual choices gay men (collectively speaking) make, that everybody knows they make — lots and lots of sex, plenty of casual or anonymous partners, sex while using drugs — *despite* the fact that in many gay men’s own lifetimes tens of thousands of them died of sexually transmitted disease. Simply looking at the sexual choices gay men make, you see that plenty of them value sex more than *anything,* including their own health, the health of their partners, even their own lives. All you have to do is look at the epidemiology statistics to see this. Or, God, spend some time on gay-men-specific or gay-men-only websites or sex apps...Gay men just do not stop themselves as often when it comes to bad sexual choices. This is flatly obvious and has been since 1969....You come to see highly sexualized behavior as just *normal.* And the loudest and most persistent voices in the gay male community are the ones who constantly argue that even the slightest bit of “sex-negativity” is “internalized homophobia” or “serophobia” (as if the desire to not want to get HIV is irrational fear or animus) — of course those people would be the loudest, since they, by definition, value risky sex more than they value their own health/lives or the health and lives of their sexual partners; it is their ultimate value."

JOHN GRONDELSKI
3 weeks 6 days ago

Spot on. The problem is not "clericalism" -- it's not priests acting like priests. It's priests performing homosexual acts, which is the VAST MAJORITY of what the Pennsylvania report shows and the exclusive phenomenon (of what we know) of +TEM's perversions. Benedict XVI made clear in 2006 that admission to seminaries of persons engaging in homosexual actions should stop, but this journal was among those who backpedalled that instruction. Now we want to pretend that what is perfectly apparent to anybody willing to open their eyes is not there. And with due apologies to our Jesuit Pope, it was not the "ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been" but 300 some priests in Pennsylvania and a bunch of bishops who were "not where we should have been" -- including on teaching Catholic sexual ethics in their full truth.

Tim O'Leary
3 weeks 6 days ago

John - Some not so queer math to back up your claim. The US EEOC reported 6,696 sexual harassment allegations filed last year. Women filed 83.5% and men just 16.5%, typical for each year. Since men are 50% of the population, the preponderance is 5:1. Deniers would say, it’s only man-haters who would think men are more likely to harass, when it’s all about power. In the clergy, 81% alleged offenses were same-sex (= homosexual) vs. other-sex (heterosexual). If the clergy is 5% gay (twice the public), the homo:hetero ratio is 80:1. If 10% priests are gay, the ratio is 40:1. If 20% are gay, it is 17:1. The only way there is not a predisposition is if 80% of the priests are homosexual.

Danny Collins
4 weeks ago

80% of all victims were male. The majority were post-pubescent.

McCarrick, the highest ranking cleric to both commit and cover up these atrocities had exclusively male victims.

But somehow we need to stop talking about the homosexual nature of the abuse.

Imagine if 80% of all cop killing victims were blacks or if 80% of all sexual abuse in schools was committed by football players. Would we hesitate to ask whether racism or a toxic form of masculinity had a role to play? If football players perpetrated the vast majority of rapes, and we found out that the school administration which covered up for those rapes was composed of football players who were themselves rapists, would it raise questions of about whether the person charged with leading the investigation had some bias?

Maybe we should be asking why gay priests are so much more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to live chastely. Maybe we should be asking why gay priests were so much more likely than heterosexuals to be view the teenagers in the sacristy as potential sex partners?

If not, then a much better explanation is going to be needed than this. Correlation isn't causation, but anyone who ignores correlation when trying to figure out how abuse and a widespread cover-up occurred is a fool.

No matter how hard the author above and "Night night baby" Tobin try to distract from the facts, the fact remains that homosexuals were responsible for the vast majority of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Facts are stubborn things: they don't just disappear because someone makes an emotional appeal that we should ignore them and leave important questions unexplored.

Anne Chapman
4 weeks ago

"The majority were post-pubescent"

That is something frequently asserted, but it is a mistaken assertion. The majority of the victims, 60.1% were age 13 and younger. Only 26.7% of victims were age 15-17.

Scientists don't agree on an exact age for male puberty. Most agree that it occurs by age 15, but in some it may occur earlier or later, as with girls. But with girls the primary physical change of puberty is very obvious, whereas with boys, it is less so, a more gradual change,

According to the John Jay report, only 26.7% of victims were aged 15-17. 45.9% were age 10 - 13. More 10 year olds were victims (8.4%) than 17 year olds (6.5%). More 11 year olds were victims (10% of victims) than 16 year olds, who were 8.6% of victims. 11.6% of victims were 15 years old,, while 14 year olds were 13.2% of victims.

Children 9 and younger were 14.2% of all victims.

It would appear that a large majority of victims were pre-pubescent, not post-pubescent, given that 60.1% of victims were age 13 or YOUNGER.

justinreany@gmail.com
3 weeks 6 days ago

Where did you get your statistics from if you don't mind me asking? Virtually all articles I have read disagrees with your assertions. About only 1/5 of the cases can be deemed pedophilia/pederasty. The rest was committed against boys 12 yrs. -21years. About 17% were of a heterosexual (man to girl) in nature and 80%+ were homosexual (man to man, or man to boy) in nature.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.lifesitenews.com/mobile/blogs/majority…

Anne Chapman
3 weeks 6 days ago

The source is Table 4.3.2, Victim's Age at first instance of Abuse in the "John Jay" report of 2005, p. 76

This is for all victims - 80.9% were male, 19.1% were female.

. You can download the full report from the website of the USCCB.

justinreany@gmail.com
3 weeks 5 days ago

Thank you!

Will Niermeyer
4 weeks ago

These are sexual predators who have a sexual preference for young boys. I would bet there are others who have the same sexual preference to young girls. These abusive priests and hierarchy gay or straight nature has nothing to do with this. Pedophilia is sexual abuse toward children it is a totally separate issue.

Rob Stinziano
3 weeks 5 days ago

Can you say, "homosexual sexual predators" ?

Stephen de Weger
4 weeks ago

Yes, this is definitely not a 'queer' issue, but we do have to investigate warped sexuality & abuses of power within all contexts. While 'queer' or any other form of sexuality of course does not automatically mean warped, it also does not automatically mean 'innocent'.

The other side to “blaming the 'queers'” is that it distracts from the fact that most cases involving clergy sexual misconduct against adults, at least, is heterosexual misconduct. In all forms of sexuality, sex is the weapon of choice to abuse one’s positional power.

However, I have to admit, for once I would just like to hear from various LGBTIQA communities what they think about the likes of McCarrick and gay sexual abuse within seminaries. Do they believe that gay sexual abuse occurs? If so, why do they never or rarely condemn it?

Perhaps this is one reason why the views held by the likes of this bishop is because of the silence from the LGBTIQA communities. That silence makes them look suspicious.
I was sexually assaulted by a chaplain of a gay group in the Church. I wrote to that group a number of times to tell them. All I got back was silence. But why did they not respond? Well, I just had to make up my own reasons: They didn’t care? They didn’t believe it was abuse? They chose to side with the chaplain rather than me? They cared more about their chaplain than his victim? They didn’t believe I was a victim? They were scared of coming across as 'homophobic'? They thought they might be betraying their 'brothers'. I'll never know but it felt so much like the hierarchical church's response. And still I wonder.

Monica DeAngelis
4 weeks ago

The distinction many people can not accept is that 81% of the abuse identified in the John Jay report was same-sex. The report does not say the abusers were homosexuals. In fact, the report says they were men, largely heterosexual, whose psycho-sexual development had been arrested at a point prior to maturity, which caused them to view children and adolescents as suitable partners. Some were clearly gay men; that cannot and should not be denied. But many more were heterosexual, which is also the case with sexual abuse in the general population. The solution lies in identifying and processing offenders, not in scapegoating.

Jim Lein
4 weeks ago

Exactly. Some priests, especially those who entered priesthood studies right after grade school, can be stuck at an arrested level of psycho-sexual development. Even if they are not abused by teachers or advisers, they may be as priests prone to inappropriate interaction with boys who are at their level of psycho-sexual development. This is obviously an unhealthy dynamic worth considerable study.

Tim O'Leary
3 weeks 6 days ago

Jim - it is no doubt some form of severely abnormal sexual desire, whether arrested or acquired. All the scientific evidence shows that the vast majority of the problem in the clergy is same-sex activity, which involves a distorted use of body parts, a massive frequency of predation and a blindness to the damage inflicted on the victim. The young age compounds the perversity and the involvement of a priest makes it a sacrilege. As Nathan tries to obscure, this triple evil is what Bishop Morlino describes as the "wickedness that should be hated with a perfect hatred", and not brushed under the carpet or deemed not as bad as scandal, or only moderately harmful, or remedial with a break in a clinic, as the Grand Jury report found time and time again, by bishop and doctor alike. Even in such a despicable triple, the Bishop urges that "while hating the sin, we must never hate the sinner, who is called to conversion, penance, and renewed communion with Christ and His Church, through His inexhaustible mercy."

Kenneth Chang
4 weeks ago

It would seem that even "if" all 300 of those priests were homosexuals, this author would not see a problem.

Robert Lewis
4 weeks ago

You are right; he would not, and neither would I, because neither he nor I consider repressed, immature and duplicitous child molesters, sex-offenders and abusers to be "healthy homosexuals" (if they were basically "same-sex-attracted" males at all, at the beginning--as the writer above doubts). To scapegoat individuals who, in previous centuries, wouldn't have been considered "queer" at all (folks like Gerard Manley Hopkins, Bernard of Clairvaux, John of the Cross, et. al.), but defininitely--according to their own words and lifestyles--"same-sex-attracted"--as being unworthy of sacerdotal orders because, in some peculiar modern sense of the word, "queer," would be a heinous judgment and an enormous detriment to the Body of Christ, which they served with so much devotion and love.

Anne Danielson
3 weeks 6 days ago

“To scapegoat individuals who, in previous centuries, wouldn't have been considered "queer" at all (folks like Gerard Manley Hopkins, Bernard of Clairvaux, John of the Cross, et. al.), but defininitely--according to their own words and lifestyles--"same-sex-attracted"--as being unworthy of sacerdotal orders because, in some peculiar modern sense of the word, "queer," would be a heinous judgment and an enormous detriment to the Body of Christ, which they served with so much devotion and love.“

Robert, One should never mistake an authentic Loving friendship, which is respectful of oneself and one’s beloved, and thus devoid of lust, for same-sex sexual attraction, which can only be overcome through embracing the essence of authentic Love, thus your statement appears to be a “heinous judgement” on authentic Loving friendships, which would be an enormous detriment to The Body Of Christ.

Our beloved sons and daughters who have developed a same-sex sexual attraction and desire to overcome this disordered sexual attraction, deserve the respect, compassion, and sensitivity due to those persons who desire to overcome their disordered same-sex sexual attractions, and are called to fulfill God’s Will in their life, that all persons desire and accept and thus experience authentic Salvational Love, God’s Gift of Grace and Mercy.

The Good News is, Love, Rightly Ordered, “can make all things new again”,

Tim O'Leary
3 weeks 6 days ago

Anne - Lewis is on a campaign to re-categorize all historical or artistic admiration of the male body as modern homosexuals would - as primarily objects of erotic desire. It's like the Marxists seeing communism in every early community, or the Nazi's co-opting Norse mythology. It is an abuse of history. Almost all his examples would have seen same sex desire and activity as sinful. This is contrary to the whole Christian tradition.

Robert Lewis
3 weeks 5 days ago

O'Leary's is the "abuse" of history, because, in his campaign to define homosexuality as chosen, he refuses to recognize that it is innate to SOME human natures, and so he would write out the entire record of passionate same-sex love, and that love's key role in spirituality, in art and in literature. O'Leary, whether he wishes to be or not, is a liar.

Isa Kavana
4 weeks ago

After working for 15 years in seminaries, I would say that it is not a question of blame but just a factor to be taken into account: the secrecy surrounding the seminarians with SSA.

Stephen de Weger
4 weeks ago

Yes, agreed.

Joan Roccasalvo, C.S.J.
4 weeks ago

Another perfectly goodEnglish word, distorted: "queer." First went the word gay as in gay English music. Now, queer as in strange. The
demise, the mangling of the English language. Professor Higgins, where are you?

Joan McKniff
4 weeks ago

Was the writer trying to used the dated word "queer" a record number of times in a short article? The title " Don't blame...queer Catholics," very effectively insulting them and blaming them. A perfect example of making a bad situation worse.

Robert Lewis
4 weeks ago

The word "queer" need have no more of a negative connotation than the word "deviant"; to "deviate" from the norm may mean to be extraordinary, and to be "queer" in a sick, violent and largely sexually perverted culture and society such as America's may actually mean to be healthy and more human than the "normal." In his medieval environment, Francis of Assisi, with his habit of denuding himself to express his humility and dependence upon God alone, was absolutely "queer."

Phil Jackson
4 weeks ago

I DO NOT care if the abusers are heterosexual, homosexuals or Martians, I just want this crap stopped.!

Dina Janis
4 weeks ago

thank you for your wise words- and I couldn't agree more

Monica Trojniak
4 weeks ago

Once the issue includes a statement of the sexuality of the abuser, it becomes an issue of homosexuality not sexual abuse. Do not muddie the watters.

dzuroweste@sbcglobal.net
4 weeks ago

Good grief, are all of you that dense? And do none of you personally know a LGBTQIA person or many?
Sexual abuse has NO THING, repeat NOTHING to do with one's gender. It is an abuse of power over, the simplest definition of clericalism.

Some LGBTQIA persons prefer to call themselves queer to self acknowledge that they are considered "other" by many heterosexuals, which stands against every message ever proclaimed by Christ, Who denied no one from anything, esp. on the basis of gender. All are welcome, all are sinners, all are saints.

Stop gaslighting, and demand a Church leadership of SERVANT leaders with no false dichotomy of clerical vs. lay. We are ALL servant leaders, and we should ALL be collaborating to co-create the kin-dom of the Trinity on earth, as Christ missio'd us to do (with full authenticity, vulnerability, transparency and accountability). Simple.

James Haraldson
3 weeks 6 days ago

Wrong. Jesus did not welcome our sins.

Jorge Luis Luaces Rabaza
3 weeks 6 days ago

James, by your illogic, Jesus would not welcome you, flagrant sinner that you are.
Get a grip. Stop scapegoating

Jason & Amy Rogers
4 weeks ago

It's not about homosexuality. It's about sex. The Church needs a discussion about sexuality and holiness, about celibacy and the priesthood. If sex is both a natural drive and a gift of God, then we need married priests. (Thanks to conversions of married male clergy we have a few and the church didn't fall!) I'm stunned that amid all the apologies and pledges to prevent abuse in the future, nobody is talking about the elephant in the room: priests are 100% men and 100% pledged to celibacy. That is a recipe for sexual dysfunction and abuse.

We need women priests. If the Church cannot find theological justification to end mandatory priestly celibacy, then make the obvious change and allow celibate women to take holy orders. This will do more to prevent sexual abuse than any grand jury report or bishop's rule.

Phil Jackson
3 weeks 6 days ago

No, no, no. You are mistaken. Considering your argument, it is not Celibacy at issue. Remember the twelve left their families to follow Jesus. There is no data that supports the easing of celibacy to a priest abusing a child of any sex. And as a joke: Remember no man can serve two masters.

Crystal Watson
4 weeks ago

The sex abuse of children is a crime of opportunity - more boys are available to abusive priests than girls. The same can be true when the victim is a young man - there is a lot of sexual assault in prison of men by men .... those male predators are mostly heterosexual.

Dennis Doyle
4 weeks ago

We all seem to operate on anecdotal evidence . And that is unfortunate. Because we stake out positions based on bad facts.The John Jay study is the only one I am aware of that has some measure of credibility . But let’s get to the basics. For every 100 men who are ordained to the priesthood, tell me how many you believe will have sex with someone over the ensuing 30 years. Subtract out the number where sex occurred with non victims.
How many are left.? That number are Abusers. Now stratify the abusers into pepophiles, and non pedophiles. Let’s agree the pepophiles should be expelled immediately. What about the rest? Is it zero tolerance? Or do you consider the number of violations, the age of of the victim, the job performance absent the abuse? And who decides who stays and who goes? The Bishops, a lay/ ordained panel? And what do you disclose and to whom regardless of what you decide?
There are several benefits of going through this exercise. First, you realize that all of your employees have to be monitored for sexual contact. Second, you realize that according to your own statistics ( as you have provided them above) you will have a lot of monitoring to do. Third , you will realize that this dynamic of requiring celibacy which is not statistically obtainable will result in damage to the victims that our society compensates through money. Fourth, you will understand this is a model that is fraught with complications and should be re-examined.

Richard Dubiel
4 weeks ago

Martin Luther commented on unmarried priests over 500 years ago. He saw the coming problems and articulated them. I am a Lutheran, former Catholic. Zero regrets.

James Haraldson
3 weeks 6 days ago

He ignored his own depravity and all the depravity resulting from Protestantism.

Robert Lewis
3 weeks 5 days ago

He also advocated the MURDER of Jews. He is what Gerard Manley Hopkins called him, "the beast of the waste wood."

Will Niermeyer
4 weeks ago

How true this is. This has nothing to do with homosexuality or hetereosexuality but everything to do with sexual predator pedophilia. These priests and Bishops are dealing with predator clergy and hierarchy not with homo or hetereosexual choice. If you have ever worked with a sexual predator who has a preference for young boys they get off on that attraction and desire to the point of abusive attacking out on that desire.

Dennis Doyle
4 weeks ago

The Richard Dubiel’s of the world get it. The Church is a boys club, a closed fraternity of clerics. The “ Faithful” are decimated by their “ spiritual. Leaders” criminality but hang on the edges hoping for change which never comes. Why? Because their spirituality is all wrapped up in the Church. They cannot separate their faith from their Church. If the. Church blew up tomorrow they would be spiritual eunuchs And they can’t comprehend that is ok to move on, to find another congregation that might truly be the People Of God. Why because the Church accomplished its purpose . It convinced them that the sacramental life of the Church was the sole path to salivation. To leave the Church is to forfeit salvation. My father used to say: “ whenever you have a problem with another person, look at your self. The problem lies within you, not others.
The Church is not the problem . The problem is that it’s followers don’t stop funding the Church. So the Church continues and does not need to change. The only thing the Church understands is money. Tell me how
many years of abuse and cover up occured before the Church even began
to look at the issue. And what caused that? Lawsuits. Nothing happened until they had to pay out millions in Claims and some dioceses go bankrupt. The Church is what it is and will be what it will be until the laity stops funding it , and demands a seat at the table .

Anne Danielson
3 weeks 6 days ago

Christ’s Church consists of The Faithful; it is Through, With, and In Christ, In The Unity of The Holy Ghost (Filioque), that Holy Mother Church exists. The Faithful are not responsible for the heinous abuse crisis.
The Catholic Church is absolutely necessary for our Salvation, including for those who, like The Good Thief, at the moment of his death, recognized Christ In All His Glory, and came late to The Fold.

Kathleen Macpherson
4 weeks ago

All of the disgraced clerics are quite intelligent men, either with a Masters degree or a doctorate. If they knew they were being drawn into a very filthy, dark area, why didn't they seek professional help before hurting someone? Superiors are truly at fault for moving them from parish to parish instead of into a psychiatrists office. Why are these people still being financially supported by Bishops and Religious Provincials?

Paul Gifford
4 weeks ago

One thing I believe that is being overlooked in all this, is when did this all happen. In the Pennsylvania report they noted almost all the verified abuse took place so long ago the statue of limitations has expired. According to the John Jay report done for the USCCB most reports of abuse tailed off starting around 1990 and, at least until 2002 when the report ended, and has been at a low level, although it is still happening. It appears, not verified, that around 1990 diocese started a more stringent process for admitting men into the seminary. If that is true, church leadership started to tackle the problem before the story broke in the early 2000s. This doesn't absolve all bishops who covered up the abuse when it was running rampant.

Stephen de Weger
4 weeks ago

A lot of people have said 'this' is not about..... What is the 'this' we are talking about. If you are talking about only TRUE paedophilia or TRUE epheophilia which I belive is a form of 'sexuality' as it seems as unchangable as hetero and homo sexuality, then that is one 'this'. If we are talking about ALL clergy sexual abuse, including of adults, then we have a whole different statistic in regard to hetero/homo/paedo/ephebosexuality. Here are Sipes figures for overall clergy sexual activity. Do these ‘versions of ‘this’ need to be included as well?
Sipe estimates that “no more than 50% of Catholic clergy [are] in fact consciously choosing to practice celibacy/chastity at any one time” (Sex, Priests and Power: 1995, 61).
Of these he says: Celibate practice: 40%, but includes “an occasional lapse”; Celibate consolidation: 8%, but includes occasional “missteps and fumblings”; Celibate achievement: 2%, but may have had lapses, missteps, fumblings on the way. (Sex, Priests and Power: 1995, 61-69).
Now, as to the other 50%, those who have given up on trying t be celibate/chaste he gives the following statistics: Problematic masturbation 5%; Adolescent partners 4%; paedophilia 2%; Transvestism 1%; Homosexual relationships and behaviour patterns 10%; heterosexual relationships and behaviour patterns 20% and ‘associations and experimentations 8%.
I firmly trust Sipe’s figures though they may have altered with new revelations. So, my big question is WHAT IS THE ‘THIS” that we are talking about, and how can any one group be blamed given the diversity of clergy sexual misconduct. If we fail to realise this is a broader question which needs to include all clergy sexual activity and as well, the inter-knowledge clergy have of this activity and its role in covering up and self-defensiveness, then we will have FAILED.

Carlos Orozco
4 weeks ago

Are we so into our political ideologies that we'd rather dismiss clear evidence and sacrifice the Church because we are not willing to renounce our lies?

Lewis Marshall
4 weeks ago

I have banged on about this since the 1970’s. I feel such bitter sweet feelings that now others see what I saw as a child. But will the roots and complex realities finally be faced? Or will gay people just be scapegoated again?

Celibacy is the smoke screen behind which it has all been hidden all these years. Gay men and homophobia are part of the issue. Gay men have been attracted to the church in large numbers, more in the past, in order to escape societies sex role demands. Celibacy was their beard and a culture of silence and fear of exposure grew up and unfortunately also gave cover to these very truncated souls who were in every case abused and become abusers.

These abusers were shielded not because the church, or even the gay men often in charge, approved, but rather because these church leaders were terrified of any scrutiny lest they too be found out for being gay and the whole house of cards would come down. As often happens they produced exactly what they feared.
Blessed scrutiny!

Only honesty about sexuality and embracing a model based on an ethic and anthropology of healthy, open sexual expression, including same sex relationships, will destroy the dark, dank places, created by fear, in which these unspeakable crimes have hidden and festered for many generations.

Arnoldo Miranda
4 weeks ago

The Church's anthropology is difficult to accept because it calls on the people of God to see how God sees things and not on how humanity wishes to be fulfilled, especially in today's modern and individualistic society.

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