The plague of sexual abuse is worse than you think.

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Like you, I was disgusted by the Pennsylvania grand jury report on sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, released on Tuesday, Aug. 14. Unlike you, perhaps, I read the whole report, mainly because my job required it—every excruciating account of sexual abuse by 301 priests across six dioceses, with more than 1,000 victims. The fact that most of these events took place more than 25 years ago, over a period of seven decades, provided little comfort. News is simply information that you haven’t heard before—it does not matter much whether it happened yesterday or a century ago.

Like you, I experienced a range of emotions—anger, sorrow, sadness. Above all, fear. There is the fear of what is to come. The grand jury report covered only six dioceses of the nearly 200 Catholic dioceses in the United States. Surely the news will only get worse as more dioceses release their records. They should do so at once. Such disclosures, as the editors write in this issue, “should be anticipated and embraced, not resisted until they are imposed” by civil authorities. “One of the few remaining ways that the church can offer mercy to survivors of sexual abuse,” they continue, “is to demonstrate through such voluntary disclosures that we value the sacred dignity of the victims more than the church’s reputation and security.”

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The problem within the church is bad. The problem in our families and in our neighborhoods is even worse.

Yet as painful as that necessary process of disclosure will be, there is something that terrifies me even more, an ominous question that has kept me tossing and turning for much of the week: If things are this bad within the church, how bad is it in our homes and neighborhoods? This is not “what about-ism.” By asking this question I do not seek to deflect attention in any way from the church’s abysmal failures or the objectively evil acts of the abusers in its ranks. The problem within the church is bad. The problem in our families and in our neighborhoods is even worse.

Consider the following: Nationwide, one in five girls and one in 12 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday; 95 percent of boys and girls are abused by someone they know; 50 percent of victims between the ages of 1 and 6 and 25 percent of victims between the ages of 12 and 17 are abused by a member of their own family; 84 percent of child sexual abuse occurs in homes. In 2014, 1.8 million adolescents in the United States were the victims of a sexual assault. The overwhelming number of victims are females. The overwhelming number of perpetrators are males, more often an older child under the age of 18. And these government statistics are merely a best guess; most incidents involving the sexual abuse of a minor go unreported.

As we seek to understand the specific ways in which the sexual abuse of children was enabled and covered up within the church, we must not forget the myriad human tragedies that are still unfolding even closer to home.

As we seek to understand the specific ways in which the sexual abuse of children was enabled and covered up within the church, we must not forget the myriad human tragedies that are still unfolding even closer to home. The grand jury report details horrific acts by members of the clergy and their protectors over a period of 70 years. They were grave offenses against the most vulnerable among us. It is also true that what is happening in our homes and neighborhoods on an even greater scale is happening right now, as you read this column.

How are we to make sense of it? I am no expert. The social sciences, psychology, theology, even words themselves, all seem inadequate in the face of such horror. Yet it is also clear that some ways of talking about the problem are demonstrably unhelpful. Who among us, for example, when faced with the overwhelming evidence that sexual abuse is committed by males against females, in our families and neighborhoods, would ask whether some vague “culture of heterosexuality” causes this phenomenon? Who among us would think it reasonable to ask whether heterosexual males should be barred from parenting or teaching because statistics show that most acts of child sexual abuse are perpetrated by men who identify as such?

There is no part of human history, no part of human existence, that is untainted by this evil. The crimes within the church are real. They are horrific. The greater horror, however, lies in the terrifyingly banal fact that such crimes are common everywhere. There are, of course, important dimensions of this phenomenon that are specific to the church: various manifestations of clericalism and inadequate screening and formation of priests among them. But as we begin the work of addressing those issues, we must not yield to the temptation of thinking that the church’s problem, while having unique dimensions, is a unique phenomenon. That would be a grave disservice, not only to the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of members of the clergy, but to victims everywhere.

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Skip Collins
4 weeks ago

You say that this is not “what about-ism.” But that is exactly what it is: what about heterosexual abuse outside of the church?

I find it depressing, but not surprising, that editors at America (and many other publications) have so far shown not the slightest self-awareness of their own complicity in the massive, decades-long cover-up of episcopal malfeasance. You heard the rumors about McCarrick. Fr. Martin has admitted as much. But no one at your fine publication lifted a finger to report suspected abuse. The rot is deep.

tricia hynes
4 weeks ago

Thank you for calling this out. Always trying to point our attention elsewhere. Start with the Church you are a part of - make that what keeps you tossing and turning. Lay Catholics, seeing your victorious efforts to uproot abuse within the Church, will be inspired to take care of the rest of society.

Danny Collins
4 weeks ago

Great point, skip. Avoidance, distraction and obfuscation has been the modus operandi of those who run this magazine and don't want to repent of their complicity in the cover-up.

Dave Zelenka
3 weeks 3 days ago

The issue is multi-determined, and yes, this article does the following: "Avoidance, distraction and obfuscation." It's the same story: redirect eyes from the truth. We must look headlong into sin and then turn away from it, first individually, then collectively. You know, log in the eye thing.

Individually we ask:
1) How am I hyper-sexual?
2) How do I perpetuate hyper-sexual behavior to others: in my head, in my heart, in my words, and in my actions.

After resolving these two issues we ask, how has Church perpetuated sinful behavior?
1) One of the key undiscussed issues: How does the currently-established pattern of the Sacrament of Reconciliation create a culture of "I can just get absolution if I do it again" mentality? Of course, many people develop behaviors and patterns of life that just tag on this sacrament to sinful behavior. When we receive absolution, WE ARE NEVER TO DO IT AGAIN. NEVER. We promise God this. How could we turn from this promise? And this is a dogma issue. If the church has rules, such as "You are in mortal sin if you miss Sunday Mass," and people are receiving absolution for this "grave" sin. But they do it all over again. We end up clumping truly grievous sins with things we continually repeat. In some people's minds, "I raped a boy" becomes equal to "I missed mass."
2) Because faithful men who want to become priests, and cannot marry, begin looking to boys and men for their sexual fantasies, because, as they think, "At least I'm not being adulterous with my eyes toward woman." And then a culture of homosexual circles develop within.
3) Which brings me to the last issue: the Lampstand. God will shine light on all sin. The church must be transparent--completely transparent. Until it does, darkness will remain within the hearts of men and the ecclesiastic structure of the church. Full disclosure must be made on many levels. Until that time, disease in the church will fester. And if it festers too long, Peter's Rock will become the foundation of a new structure, just like what happened to Israel.

Lastly, we can address our families, communities and society, when we are of right and sound mind.
1) We will then remove or push away pornographic and hypersexual media.
2) We will finally begin to understand that sexuality is non-gender: people develop sexual behavior and fantasy by what they choose focus on. We need to study epigenetics and then realize that although there is a balance to nature and nurture, environment develops sexual fantasy. I.e., if we surround ourselves with a hyper-sexual world, we end up becoming a hypersexual society. Look at the history of ancient Rome or Greece: men had sex with whatever sparked their fancy. There was no LGBT. Kids don't like coffee until the "develop a taste" for it.

Dr Robert Dyson
3 weeks 6 days ago

“One of the few remaining ways that the church can offer mercy to survivors of sexual abuse ...”

"Mercy" is extended to sinners, not to those who have suffered wrong. "Offer mercy" conveys the suggestion that any act of reparation by the Church would be a gesture of gracious condescension rather than an act humility and penitence. Those who write and speak from within the Church still can't quite face up to it, can they? The days of the Church's unquestioned occupancy of the moral high ground are well and truly over. It's time to grovel in guilt and shame rather than "offer mercy."

Michael Barberi
4 weeks ago

Fr. Malone,

Another great article. Thank you.

We should never fall into believing that exaggerated and irresponsible solutions of this sexual abuse crisis is the answer. While some priests and bishops should be held accountable and removed from the priesthood, we must recognize that there are thousands of homosexual and heterosexual priests that are doing the Lord's work and abide by their vows.

Clearly, we need better screening procedures, frequent reviews of clerical behaviors and a zero tolerance policy rigorously enforced by priests, bishops and cardinals as well as those in the Vatican with such responsibilities. I hope that the culture of clericalism can be eliminated or significantly eradicated. We should also pray for our Church and for the victims.

A Fielder
4 weeks ago

Fr Matt, I agree, sexual sins and the injustice following in their wake are disturbing. My biggest disappointment is that the Church is failing to create the community that we could be, the community that we need to be. This spring when the news about the incel (involuntary celibate) rebellion broke, it was very sad to me that the church has practically no moral authority left to remind people that men don't have the right to take sex (by force) from the women who apparently "owe" it to them. Most Catholics don't worship weekly and the faith of our community is not being passed down to the next generation. I am also afraid. Some parents are proud to say that their children will not be indoctrinated into a sexist institution with antiquated views about human sexuality. Yet, the behavior of Alek Minassian reminded me very much of a (former) African Jesuit I know. His behavior betrayed similar attitudes despite being vowed celibate. Thanks to the (then) Bishop Alan Vigneron for suspending his faculties. Thankfully for all of us he only spent about 15 years as a Jesuit. I wish that we could actually cultivate a spirituality of chastity and promote character formation in community. But, I think people need something more nuanced and relevant than "every sexual act must be open to the gift of life" if we are going to make that happen. The physicalist perspective is just not enough. I think I would be healthier and happier if I could belong to a church like that. I hope my optimism is not misplaced, but I really do believe that this current opportunity could yield positive outcomes for our church community. Perhaps many bishops have previously failed, but I am also willing to bet there there are institutional success stories out there about some local churches and also seminaries which have successfully dealt and are dealing with credible allegations of sexual misconduct. I would like to hear more about those successful efforts. I am less interested in our past, than creating an ecclesial future full of hope.

Jorge Luis Luaces Rabaza
4 weeks ago

"The problem in our families and in our neighborhoods is even worse."

A thousand times "yes!!!"

I'm sickened to death by all of the posturing from those on the Left ("the Church is evil, we need women priests, we need laity to control Bishops" and those on the Right (Pope Francis is evil, we need heterosexual priests, we need laity on bended knee before traditional bishops/priests")

No one talks about how they, in their oh so quiet, demurred, hidden away sinfulness, have created a sinful culture. No one talks about their own sins but gleefully shovel the hot coals on the Church.

Pride. Wrath. Sloth. Gluttony. Greed. Envy. Lust.

let's talk about ALL of the Cardinal Sins and start with everyone striking their chests with a heartfelt "mea culpa" x 3. Otherwise, clanging cymbal and noisy gong

Kenneth Chang
4 weeks ago

Our society relies on proof. Of the 1000 victims, how many can provide valid 'proof'? After so many years, no proofs can be shown, only their "words". Words are not proof.

Richard Booth
2 weeks 6 days ago

What you say is true, Kenneth. These days, however, it seems we have thrown in the towel of principles and created an alternate reality: If a person is accused, she/he shall have her/his life ruined. While no doubt the abuse problem is vast and plans to stop people from perpetrating it have been propounded, who really has THE correct solution? Although he has been criticized for his saying he had no comment about these personal and personnel issues on the plane from Ireland, Francis would have been unwise to have made declarations of truth or blame without fully examining cases and allegations. His enemies are regaling him for keeping his own counsel, but it was the wiser course - at the time.

Isa Kavana
4 weeks ago

But there have been plenty of cases of a gay sub-culture in seminaries (I have worked in them for 15 years) that contributed in the past to part of the problems of abuse, why deny it? We have to learn how to educate all, and the problem is the acceptance criteria to enter seminaries and the hiding of SSA.

Jason & Amy Rogers
4 weeks ago

Fr. Malone asserts that if sexual abuse is (was) rampant in the Church, then how much worse it must be in civil society. And he cites some statistics that I'm sure have many caveats. But I have to wonder if sexual abuse has been WORSE in the church because unlike ordinary people, the clergy are 100% A) men and B) celibate (regardless of what their sexual orientation is)

It's great that bishops and others are apologizing and pledging to support victims and to put safeguards in place. But what I want to hear is a discussion about sexuality and holiness, about celibacy and the priesthood. If sex is both a natural drive and 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!)

Actually, we need women priests even more than that. 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.

Danny Collins
4 weeks ago

Sorry, but there is no heterosexual version of NAMBLA.

The gender ratio of sex abuse in the church is the reverse of that within society.
80% male victims in the Catholic Church
80% female victims within society at large.

As much as the author wants to dismiss these facts, they still remain, and if they don't affect our analysis, then we won't be able to end the culture that created the abuse crisis in the Church.

Stanley Kopacz
4 weeks ago

The occurrence of child sexual abuse outside the Church doesn't excuse the cover-up, insouciance and clerical clubbiness that exacerbated it inside the church. Father Malone's point about the frightening prospect of this being a general problem is valid, but I think too early while we are processing what must be done in the Church and what this means for the way things have been done in the Church. Right now, monarchical, hierarchical and autocratic seem to be the problem words.

jennifer kelly
4 weeks ago

Indeed, sexual abuse is an issue of this exact moment. If the church would like to help minors in their emotional development to curb these actions towards other minors, that would be a large help. It would likely start with greater support of the family. However, the Catholic clergy has lost all credibility to be near families in the capacity required to do this work, which leaves us back at skipping the prayers and actually doing something that will make a difference. In our neighborhoods we have broken hearts. The church owes Catholics the protection of being transparent, and not letting us suffer the cut of 1,000 knives as we have since 2002. The church may just need civil authority to pressure transparency on the allegations, settlements and actions thus far in response to the sexual violation of minors in every diocese. This information has not been supplied thus far.

Abu Tom
4 weeks ago

WE CAN GO DOWN TO 12 AND START OVER. THE MOST IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIP IS BETWEEN YOU AND JESUS. NEVER LET ANYTHING COME BETWEEN YOU AND HE. THE GREATEST CATHEDRAL WAS BUILT ONE STONE AT A TIME BY POOR HANDS. WE ARE THE CHURCH AND THE GATES OF HELL WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT. SO SAYS THE RABBI. WHAT HAPPENED SHOULD HAVE BEEN STOPPED ON DAY ONE AND CONFESSION SHOULD HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN A POLICE PRECINCT. THE BOSTON GLOBE WENT TO IRELAND TO STUDY THE FIRST PEDOPHILE CHARGES. THEN RETURNED TO THE USA NOT FOR JUSTICE BUT TO DESTROY THE CATHOLIC CHIRCH.WITHOUT THE PEOPLE THERE IS NO CHURCH. COMMUNISM COVETS CATHOLICS. ANTONIO GRAMSCHI SAW THAT IN THE 1920'S. NO RELIGION THE MASSES ARE EASILY CONTROLLED BY THE PARTY. THE ONLY FRIEND YOU CAN COUNT ON TO NEVER ABANDON YOU IS JC AND HIS MOM AND ALL THOSE WHO DIED IN HIS NAME. SPIRIT OF AMERICA PARTY RADIO SHOW ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

Vincent Gaglione
4 weeks ago

Your points, Father Malone, are well-taken and well-made, at least from this former teacher’s experience. I cannot begin to tell you the examples of the various sorts of anomalous sexually implicit behaviors that my colleagues and I observed from elementary school children, all of which prompted the thought and question, what has happened to this child. The reactions here obviously indicate that most people are unwilling to address the broader societal data at this moment and see it as a diversion from Church-related abuses. Don’t abandon the effort. Keep repeating it until society addresses it. Too many children experience abuse.

Dennis Doyle
3 weeks 6 days ago

Timing is everything. Why Father Malone would choose NOW to talk about sex abuse in the larger society is baffling. Why he says it is not done to distract from the Church’s problem , given his timing, what other motive can we ascribe. At some point clerics are going to have to come to the realization that they have no standing to talk about any matter of morality till they demonstrate they are actively turning the Church on its head . Until the rank and file cleric come to together and publicly challenge and fight for opening the Church up to the People of God, their opinions have zero weight.

Hilary Hutchinson
3 weeks 6 days ago

I'm with you on this one Dennis. It's the same as the Pope wanting to address capital punishment NOW. It's on nobody radar currently. I call this a diversionary tactic which the Church is very good at. I like Pope Francis very much, and keep praying he will do two things: ordain women and make celibacy optional. I think they would be a giant step forward in curbing pedophilia.

Patt Kauffman
3 weeks 6 days ago

Father, all you have said is true. There is an epidemic of intimate abuse in this country that needs to be addressed. However, none of this mitigates the sadness and the need for a public confession and apology and a change in policy by the church. Every archbishop, every cardinal, needs to be called to Rome for a special synod, to address how the church is going to change its practices going forward. Then the church will begin to regain the laity's trust.

sheila gray
3 weeks 6 days ago

This 66 year-old Survivor thanks you for this editorial. I believe wholeheartedly that the Catholic Church and it’s members who were educated in its schools and institutions, still practicing or fallen away, has an important role to play in healing our society in general of the scourge that is child sex abuse. We could change the world in one or two generations if we accomplished such a “giant leap forward”. But first, we here in America must face and confront the very sad fact that we have not really talked about Abuse By Nuns Yet. And second, I believe we need to actively support the establishment of a permanent Healing Center by, for and about clergy abuse survivors. There we can begin to carve the stones needed to pave the road to a new beginning. The Crisis needs to be studied. How did it happen and how do we prevent it from happening again? The Healing Center would be an oasis in a dying-of-thirst world. We need it now more than ever. This, I believe, is a Real Way Forward.

Jim Spangler
3 weeks 6 days ago

You can write all the articles you want about sexual abuse. Whether it is in the Church, in the homes and neighborhoods, etc. the only thing that I care about is in the Church and the hierarchy. I don't want to hear sorries, sorrowfulness, any other groveling! We need action. I want Woerl to resign! I want him to be rebuked by the Church and defrocked. In addition any other Bishops or Church Officials guilty of involvement, or cover up. I want action now. I don't want to wait until tomorrow, or next week or month. I don't want to wait until the Bishops meet in November. I can have no respect for the Clergy until I see heads falling. These nice little old men are scumbags who have misused their implied powers over the years to live the good life. They have not cared how many lives that they have destroyed. They need to be processed in Civil Courts and punished by civil law. I don't even want them to be part of the Church any longer. They have abused all of us by keeping complicit over solving the issue and protecting those who are vulnerable. Pope Francis do your job, don't continue to grovel, as this does not result in the actions that the Laity want to hear at this point. May God judge all of you and may you who are guilty rot in HELL!

Jim Spangler
3 weeks 6 days ago

You can write all the articles you want about sexual abuse. Whether it is in the Church, in the homes and neighborhoods, etc. the only thing that I care about is in the Church and the hierarchy. I don't want to hear sorries, sorrowfulness, any other groveling! We need action. I want Woerl to resign! I want him to be rebuked by the Church and defrocked. In addition any other Bishops or Church Officials guilty of involvement, or cover up. I want action now. I don't want to wait until tomorrow, or next week or month. I don't want to wait until the Bishops meet in November. I can have no respect for the Clergy until I see heads falling. These nice little old men are scumbags who have misused their implied powers over the years to live the good life. They have not cared how many lives that they have destroyed. They need to be processed in Civil Courts and punished by civil law. I don't even want them to be part of the Church any longer. They have abused all of us by keeping complicit over solving the issue and protecting those who are vulnerable. Pope Francis do your job, don't continue to grovel, as this does not result in the actions that the Laity want to hear at this point. May God judge all of you and may you who are guilty rot in HELL!

Hilary Hutchinson
3 weeks 6 days ago

Wow, Jim, I'm in your camp. I'm for action too. There is a movement underway right now to request the resignation of ALL bishops in the USA. I think that would be a good start. I feel and share your pain. Just what does it take to clean-up this pox on the church. So far the Catholic church in America has paid out $2.6 BILLION to settle these abuse cases, and that's not counting what will happen in Pennsylvania. Enough is enough!!!

Jim Spangler
3 weeks 6 days ago

You can write all the articles you want about sexual abuse. Whether it is in the Church, in the homes and neighborhoods, etc. the only thing that I care about is in the Church and the hierarchy. I don't want to hear sorries, sorrowfulness, any other groveling! We need action. I want Woerl to resign! I want him to be rebuked by the Church and defrocked. In addition any other Bishops or Church Officials guilty of involvement, or cover up. I want action now. I don't want to wait until tomorrow, or next week or month. I don't want to wait until the Bishops meet in November. I can have no respect for the Clergy until I see heads falling. These nice little old men are scumbags who have misused their implied powers over the years to live the good life. They have not cared how many lives that they have destroyed. They need to be processed in Civil Courts and punished by civil law. I don't even want them to be part of the Church any longer. They have abused all of us by keeping complicit over solving the issue and protecting those who are vulnerable. Pope Francis do your job, don't continue to grovel, as this does not result in the actions that the Laity want to hear at this point. May God judge all of you and may you who are guilty rot in HELL!

J Brookbank
3 weeks 6 days ago

Fr Malone,

I am blown away that you wrote this.

This is no different that a child protective agency, in the aftermath of a high profile series of child deaths in open cases, saying "if you think we screwed up, look at all the other agencies and institutions that fail kids".

This was manipulative. This was dishonest. This was shameful.

You are a Catholic Priest. Priests in your religious order have abused hundreds and hundreds of victims. You guys knew about McCarrick. You are the editor of one of major Catholic presses.

You are one of the people obligated, by decency if none f the other obligations appeals to you, to KEEP THE FOCUS ON THE CHURCH AND ITS VERY PARTICULAR SEXUAL ABUSE problem, context, facilitators, etc.

I just lost faith in you, Fr Malone. You are simply a bureaucrat after all.

Hilary Hutchinson
3 weeks 6 days ago

So true. However, they didn't vow to be the moral and ethical leaders of society.

ALFRED CHAVEZ
3 weeks 5 days ago

I don't understand why you would say Fr. Malone was being "manipulative." You want him to focus on this evil only because he is a Catholic journalist and you believe it is his obligation to critique only the Catholic Church. Not so. As a journalist he needs to look at the story—sexual abuse of minors—wherever he sees it.

One of the sad things about the coverage of this story is that it focuses only on the Catholic Church, ignoring all other Churches and religions and organizations (e.g., the Boy Scouts) which have identical problems. How convenient for the enemies of the Church.

Yes, be disgusted at what has happened in the RCC. Seek to root out the evil and fix the problem at whatever level it exists. But please don't pretend it is only in the RCC; be consistent and oppose the roaring lion wherever it pops up.

J Brookbank
3 weeks 5 days ago

Alfred, no one is pretending it isn't happening elsewhere or in that this is not, in general, an appropriate topic for a journalist, even a Catholic journalist. That is a misreading of all the critical comments here, including mine.

Fr Malone is one of the most powerful Catholics editors in the world and he is, thus, a leader in the institution that is arguably responsible for more sexual abuse crimes around the world than any other
institution. His own community within that institution is
responsible for the abuse of thousands of children. His community and publication knew about a Cardinal's abusive behavior and did not report on it. His institution is under fire like never before and that has been needed and long cried out for by its thousands of victims.

This is the playground bully, caught red-handed, attempting to escape the just focus on him by adopting the mantle of advocate for victims of teacher abuse. No! That bully's energy needs to be squarely and fully and exclusively focused on the attention directed towards HIS wrongdoing. You know that old saw about the log in your own eye....

Fr Malone's publication didn't report on McCarrick when McCarrick was still in a position to abuse and harass more victims. That makes all Fr Malone's editorial decisions on this topic suspect and that's likely a painful reality for him. He needs to make up for THAT editorial decisions by denying himself the very human but immoral dodge of "hey we ain't the only ones diddling the kids and, if you really cared about kids, you would take some of this energy and focus on some other people too,"

Fr Malone should be writing an editoral, over and over again, that says "Catholics, keep your eyes on the RCC until this problem is solved. Then we will have a created a truly safe sanctuary for victims and potential victims everywhere".

Again, this was a manipulative piece of writing with a strategy not to inform but to dilute much-needed attention and justly targeted anger toward Fr Malone's institution.

This is a common bureaucratic strategy, and Fr Malone should be ashamed of himself.

Dina Janis
3 weeks 6 days ago

let women lead... stop marginalizing women... things will get better

Dina Janis
3 weeks 6 days ago

let women lead... stop marginalizing women... things will get better

Dina Janis
3 weeks 6 days ago

let women lead... stop marginalizing women... things will get better

ALFRED CHAVEZ
3 weeks 5 days ago

Women need to be involved in the solution--definitely. But in the world of sexual abuse of minors women have their problems as well. E.g, female teachers and the boys they seduce. Women abusing young men is not as widespread, but one gender does not have a monopoly on sexual abuse of minors.

Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea
3 weeks 6 days ago

You are correct. You are no expert. And plenty are available to help you write articles like this. In addition, the Church's situation is particularly heinous because you all insist that you are THE arbiters of morality. The hypocrisy is part of the most egregious harm done in the Church's crisis. I suggest you let the experts worry about what happens out of the Church and you stay focused on what is STILL happening inside the Church.

Gerard Baumann
3 weeks 6 days ago

Agree with your context BUT it’s the “risk Management” coverup by senior management, Cardinals,Bishops and the Vatican, which exacerbates the lay reaction. Cardinal Law was given a posh Roman role as punishment. Sadly , the celibate clerical hierarchy has proven to be unwilling and incapable of successfully leading our church. Resignation letters should be required of every US Bishop.

rcorteg13@gmail.com
3 weeks 6 days ago

I find this piece mostly unhelpful. Did anyone need a refresher on the statistics offered here? You can’t cover an old escapist clericalist excuse by interspersing it with admonitions and laments of the current ecclesial status quo. The implied tone is, “Where have all you outraged and angry Catholics been in that face of an even greater social scourge that eclipses this nightmare in the Church.” This is not helpful and even seems oddly insincere. Please don’t obscure the problem and simultaneously try to convince the reader you see reality with even greater clarity then they do. I guarantee you that many of your readers read the report cover to cover too. Pleas keep taking a long hard look at reality and don’t distract us from the call to conversion that is at hand. The Lord stands at the door of our hearts and knocks, he is pleading with us to re-build the Church from the ground up, crying out in the voices of abused children, specifically those abused by clergy. Start here, keep your focus here, and let all of our hearts be converted here and now.

Bernard EvilLaw
3 weeks 6 days ago

This is the standard Catholic dishonesty and distraction.

You use estimates that you can't prove, so you don't show the origin, and don't differentiate swearing (most of the abuse) from priests having sex with children.

The Catholic church is BY FA the largest organized child rape ring in US history. No one else comes close.

At least 301 priests in the 6 diocese in Pennsylvania, and you didn't make clear that there were at least 50 in Altoona, 37 in Philly, etc.

Boston had 271 known pedo priests in 2002.

The most important fact is that the Catholic church claims to be "God's church", which none of the other groups do, and uses that power to defiantly get away with their rampant child rape.

Jesus called this unforgivable in Matt 18:6-14, and Catholics are defiant about using the name "God's church" getting away with it. This is blasphemy, which is also unforgivable (Matt 12:30-32).

You find the real truth when you die. Would you rather say you believed that the largest child rape ring in the US, which is also the most filthy rich church, was "God's church"? Or say you left, and chose another church?

James Ashley
3 weeks 6 days ago

It was painful to read this commentary in concert with today’s readings. Ezekiel 34:1-11. I trust that you read this, Fr. Malone. Absolutely, and unconditionally, it is important to talk about how this horror is happening more broadly, but honestly, Fr. Malone, we are talking about “the shepherds,” and we are talking a system for training and forming them that communicates, overtly or tacitly, what is allowed, what can be overlooked, and what is most important for them if they want to survive and “advance” in their roles, as shepherds. Archbishop McCarrick clearly learned the lessons well, and many, many “shepherds” in our church learned the lessons as well. That is what is at stake here, and your attempt to change the subject strikes me as disengenuous, to say the least.

Lauretta Monise
3 weeks 6 days ago

This article was quite misleading in presenting data to support your hypothesis about child sex abuse being "worse" in our families and neighborhoods. The data states that the "overwhelming number of perpetrators are males, more often an older child under the age of 18." It is illogical and very misleading to compare the dynamic of minor to minor child abuse to what has occurred by adult men, in trusted positions, with power and authority over their victims. Also significant is that when other perpetrators are caught they are tried in court and receive consequences for their crimes against children. In the case of the Church, the hierarchy chose to allow very disturbed individuals to remain in positions of authority in some other parish where the likelihood of continued victimization would occur. The hierarchy was complicit in these crimes. I humbly suggest that though sexual abuse occurs in our communities, the disregard for the lives of children shown by Church leadership by doing nothing but attempt to hide scandal, was an evil with no comparison.

Elia Cuomo
3 weeks 6 days ago

Father, I respect and admire you but I disagree with you this time. When I was teaching high school, if I even heard a rumor that one of my students was being abused at home; was in a questionable relationship; if another teacher had done anything untoward with a student; I was legally required to inform the authorities. Not my principal first. No, the Police, then my principal. It was up to the police to determine if MY information was true. It was NOT up to me to decide or for my principal or for me to decide that perhaps it was just gossip or how could I ruin someone’s reputation or all the excuses the church has used to cover up pedophile priests and the co-conspirators/bishops/archbishops/cardinals. And do you know why? Because we don’t value children once they are born. We march, we pray the rosary Saturday mornings and we condemn to hell women who have abortions but once the UNBORN see the light of day, let them fend for themselves. They and their mothers are on their own. But let’s remember that it was our own Jesus Christ Who said, “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Well, let’s remember that each and every time we come up with another excuse for these lowlife bishops, who in my book are even worse than the pedophiles because the bishops were doing to keep their positions and church’s reputation “pristine. The pedophiles were only thinking of themselves. The bishops ARE STILL covering up for themselves And the institution.
No father, no more excuses.

Al Cannistraro
3 weeks 6 days ago

Fr. Matt Malone,
The implication of your argument appears to me to be that the Church, as a human organization, seems to be nothing special. Or am I missing something?

Michael Painter
3 weeks 6 days ago

Fr. Malone: You may be 100% correct in your facts and arguments, but this is simply not the time to be making them.

Agustin Paz
3 weeks 6 days ago

Has anybody noticed the different responses of the church in Chile and the church in the USA regarding the recently revealed mishandling of their respective sex abuse cases? All the bishops of the church in Chile resigned.

Lauretta Monise
3 weeks 5 days ago

yes

Patricia Hemsworth
3 weeks 6 days ago

This sounds a lot like changing the subject. How about keeping the focus on the church, where men have used their precious religious authority to traumatize children and to betray their faith, causing stunning damage to the church? Please listen to yourself.

Edwin Hess
3 weeks 6 days ago

In any comparison of sexual predators it is important to keep in mind that this group consists of "men of God" who we were supposed to look up to. Of itself, that is bad enough, but for the young victims it creates a terrible problem.

Patrick Nugent
3 weeks 5 days ago

I agree that this isn’t me-too-ism: it’s a warning. From years in the field of children’s and family services I assure you that the most dangerous place for a child is in his or her own home.

When the crisis was raging early in this century, the sports commentator Frank DeFord did one of his Wednesday commentaries on NPR on this subject. His lunch line: if you think it’s bad in the church, wait till they start looking into little league and high school sports.

Patrick Nugent
3 weeks 5 days ago

What keeps my head spinning is the math. First, 300 priests in one state (neglecting for a moment the two excluded dioceses). Then when I read the lists, I saw how it averaged fifty priests per diocese (300 divided by 6). That was a harder number to absorb—perhaps because it is so much more local and therefore concrete. This morning, after reading this article, I’ve swung in the other direction. Fifty priests per diocese times two hundred dioceses: that’s 10,000 priests. If the average in PA is the average nationally, that’s 10,000 priests.

Isn’t there an argument here for the application of RICO? (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, designed to give Federal prosecutors the tools to prosecute the mob.)

Patrick Nugent
3 weeks 5 days ago

What keeps my head spinning is the math. First, 300 priests in one state (neglecting for a moment the two excluded dioceses). Then when I read the lists, I saw how it averaged fifty priests per diocese (300 divided by 6). That was a harder number to absorb—perhaps because it is so much more local and therefore concrete. This morning, after reading this article, I’ve swung in the other direction. Fifty priests per diocese times two hundred dioceses: that’s 10,000 priests. If the average in PA is the average nationally, that’s 10,000 priests.

Isn’t there an argument here for the application of RICO? (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, designed to give Federal prosecutors the tools to prosecute the mob.)

Patrick Nugent
3 weeks 5 days ago

What keeps my head spinning is the math. First, 300 priests in one state (neglecting for a moment the two excluded dioceses). Then when I read the lists, I saw how it averaged fifty priests per diocese (300 divided by 6). That was a harder number to absorb—perhaps because it is so much more local and therefore concrete. This morning, after reading this article, I’ve swung in the other direction. Fifty priests per diocese times two hundred dioceses: that’s 10,000 priests. If the average in PA is the average nationally, that’s 10,000 priests.

Isn’t there an argument here for the application of RICO? (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, designed to give Federal prosecutors the tools to prosecute the mob.)

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