Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Elephant in the Sacristy

The following article was originally published in 2002. The fact that such crimes kept happening for decades is infuriating beyond words. After the first incident it should have been nipped in the bud. But I have been hearing and reading about such abominations my entire adult life. From The Weekly Standard:
What even this brief recitation makes clear is a cluster of facts too enormous to ignore, though many labor mightily to avert their eyes. Call it the elephant in the sacristy. One fact is that the offender was himself molested as a child or adolescent. Another is that some seminaries seem to have had more future molesters among their students than others. A third fact is that this crisis involving minors--this ongoing institutionalized horror--is almost entirely about man-boy sex. There is no outbreak of heterosexual child molestation in the American church. In the words of the late Rev. Michael Peterson, who co-founded the well-known clergy-treating St. Luke Institute, "We don't see heterosexual pedophiles at all." Put differently, it would be profoundly misleading to tell the tale of Rudolph Kos--what he was and what he did--without reference to the words "homosexual" and "gay."

Of course, as the bishops and many other savvy observers of the debate will also know, just such distortion has become commonplace--indeed, is the literary norm--in the daily renditions of what the tragedies in the Church are actually "about." The dominant view in the press right now--what might be called the "anything-but-the-elephant" theory--reads like this. Whatever the scandals may appear to be about--as it happens, man-boy sex--they are actually about something else. "It should be clear by now," as the New York Times put it in a classic formulation, "that this scandal is only incidentally about forcing sex on minors." Similarly, the New Republic: "We all know that the sexual abuse of minors is horrific; but somehow the bishops did not react with horror. That is what truly shocks." And the New Yorker: "The big shocker has been not so much the abuse itself--awful and heartbreaking though it is--as the coldly bureaucratic 'handling' of it by hierarchs like [Boston's Bernard] Law and the current archbishop of New York, Edward Cardinal Egan." And, for good measure, the New York Review of Books: "The current scandal is not a sex scandal." (Read more.)

Confusion on the parish level has not helped matters. From The Stream:
 As has been obvious to many Catholics for many years, broad swathes of the American Church have been very cavalier and accepting of homosexual behavior, despite the fact that the Church is crystal clear that such behavior is gravely sinful. So, I wanted to share a brief story. When I decided I had to become Catholic, I went to a local RCIA Program. RCIA stands for “Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.” It is the program most converts go through in order to become Catholic. So, I went to my first class. The instructor was a nice lady. But she had one major flaw: She took it upon herself to tell the students that she disagreed with the Church’s teaching. On what you may ask? You guessed it: homosexuality. Up until she said that (and no student even brought it up) I had been very engaged in the discussion. But when she said it, I went dead silent. I didn’t know how to respond. I was so disappointed that an instructor in the Catholic faith wasn’t even standing by it that I determined the most prudent course of action, for a first class, would be to simply be silent — and if God intended me to speak, He would open the door. (Read more.)

If the bishops had followed Church law to begin with in dealing with such horrendous crimes, the infamy would have been ended at once. From Cardinal Burke:
There is no need to develop new procedures. All of the procedures exist in the Church’s discipline, and they have existed throughout the centuries. What is needed is an honest investigation into the alleged situations of grave immorality followed by effective action to sanction those responsible and to be vigilant to prevent that similar situations arise again. This idea that the conference of bishops should be responsible for addressing this is misguided because the bishops’ conference does not have surveillance over the bishops within the conference. It is the Roman Pontiff, the Holy Father, who has the responsibility to discipline these situations, and it is he who needs to take action following the procedures that are given in the Church’s discipline. This is what will address the situation effectively. (Read more.)

From Church Militant:
The numbers themselves, from multiple annual reports, prove that the vast majority of clerical sex abuse is, in fact, homosexual nature. In 2004, the numbers showed 80 percent of abuse was homosexual in nature and 90 percent involved post-pubescent teens, proving this is not about pedophilia, but homosexual pederasty, a common dimension of homosexuality, where older men seek out younger males.

In 2011, the numbers are nearly identical, with 81 percent being homosexual in nature. And as in 2004, most of the abuse was committed on post-pubescent males. Unsurprisingly, those numbers were again confirmed in the 2016 John Jay Report, showing 78 percent of priestly sex abuse is homosexual in nature, again the majority of the abuse committed against post-pubescent teens.

The Pennsylvania grand jury report published last week also confirmed those numbers, showing that 74 percent of the abuse in six dioceses was homosexual predation on males, and the majority of the abuse — 60 percent — was committed against post-pubescent teens. Again, homosexual pederasty, not pedophilia, which pertains only to young pre-pubescent children of either sex. The homosexual predation exposed by the Pennsylvania grand jury report and before that, Cdl. Theodore McCarrick, has sparked new debate over the presence of gay priests in the Church. (Read more.)

The Pope responds to the scandal. From Zenit:
Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated.’ Pope Francis stressed this in a letter he sent to the People of God today, August 20, 2018, in the wake of the findings of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report. In his message, published in seven languages, the Holy Father decried that the Church has ‘abandoned’ its children and vowed accountability.

In recent days, the Pope acknowledged: “a report was made public which detailed the experiences of at least a thousand survivors, victims of sexual abuse, the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests over a period of approximately seventy years. Even though it can be said that most of these cases belong to the past, nonetheless as time goes on we have come to know the pain of many of the victims.”

These wounds “which never go away,” the Pope stressed, never disappear and require the Church to forcefully condemn these “atrocities” and “join forces in uprooting this culture of death.”

“The heart-wrenching pain of these victims, which cries out to heaven, was long ignored, kept quiet or silenced. But their outcry was more powerful than all the measures meant to silence it, or sought even to resolve it by decisions that increased its gravity by falling into complicity.” (Read more.)

 Andrew Klavan, a Protestant, responds.

The Agony in the Garden


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