The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Blame it on celibacy

posted by jmcgee

This just in, from the Austria Desk:

The Archbishop of Vienna today said priestly celibacy could be one of the causes of the sex abuse scandals to hit the Catholic church.

In an article for Thema Kirche, his diocesan magazine, Christoph Schonborn became the most senior figure in the Catholic hierarchy to make the connection between the two and called for an “unflinching examination” of the possible reasons for paedophilia.

He wrote: “These include the issue of priest training, as well as the question of what happened in the so-called sexual revolution.

“It also includes the issue of priest celibacy and the issue of personality development. It requires a great deal of honesty, both on the part of the church and of society as a whole.”

Schonborn is not the first person to suggest a link between celibacy and paedophilia – the theologian Hans Kung has made the same assertion.

A spokesman clarified the archbishop’s words, insisting he was “in no way” seeking to question the celibacy rule or call for its abolition.

Schonborn’s remarks followed further revelations of abuse across Europe, with new incidents coming to light in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands, and followed claims by an Italian academic that a greater presence of women in the Vatican could have prevented clerical sexual abuse from taking place.



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hlvanburen

posted March 11, 2010 at 2:10 pm


While it is appropriate that the reasons behind the abusive behavior of these priests are investigated, I sincerely hope that the Church is spending an equal amount of time and resources investigating those who were not abusers themselves but, instead, covered up for their peers who were abusing youth in parish after parish. It is these enablers that seem to be escaping the light of public scrutiny in many cases. Is not their guilt almost as great as that of the abusers themselves?



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Ken Thiltges

posted March 11, 2010 at 2:27 pm


If celibacy is the cause, why now, after all these centuries has it gotten so much worse? Also, the most conservative dioceses and orders who support celibacy the strongest, have the least amount abuse problems.



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Chris Sullivan

posted March 11, 2010 at 2:36 pm


I think that compulsory celibacy has been a contributing factor.
While the situation today is somewhat changed, in decades past men with sexual problems found the Catholic priesthood an attractive “career option”.
I think celibacy is a valid calling and a valid and fruitful religious option but it’s a different calling than the priesthood.
Let those called to celibacy join religious orders and those who are not have the option of marrying.
God Bless



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Lori Sims

posted March 11, 2010 at 3:16 pm


Acts of pedophilia has nothing to do with priests being celibate. It has to do with priests being recruited in the 60′s who were already homosexual. The sexual revolution invaded the Church, and now we are seeing the problems from the seminaries back then being open houses for homosexuals. If celibacy were the problem, you would see more priests having affairs with women, not abusing young children. While this sin may happen also, not near to the degree of homosexual priests abusing vulnerable children, mostly males. I would recommend a good book for you to see another side of the problem, it is called, “Goodbye, Good Men.”



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kenneth

posted March 11, 2010 at 3:48 pm


Celibacy does play a role in the abuse problem for the simple reason that the vast majority of people, including priests, do not possess the spiritual and emotional tools needed to be celibate in a healthy way. It takes a high degree of sexual and emotional maturity. In contrast, most men who come to that state and take the collar are either a) too wounded or in denial about their sexuality to manage a marriage, or b) have unrealistic expectations that it will all just somehow get sorted out by discipline and “prayerful reflection.” There may be certain orders of monastics where celibacy may work out well, but clearly not as a universal requirement for all priests. And to Lori’s point, there are MANY priests who engage in affairs with adult women. I knew of two growing up. They simply didn’t cause the same degree of scandal because of course no felonies were being committed. Many others also get involved with prostitutes.



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pagansister

posted March 11, 2010 at 3:58 pm


I tend to agree with Lori Sims….priests being celibate didn’t contribute to the child abuse situation. As she pointed out so well, priests would be coming on to women and not abusing children. She did mention that in the 60′s she thought that many men were already homosexual and were drawn into the priesthood. That may be. However all pedophils aren’t homosexuals….many are heterosexuals, and contributed to the abuse. No matter what their sexual orientation, children made easy marks. I’m sure there are still homosexual priests and they don’t abuse children, as well as heterosexual priests who don’t either. The fact that priests were so trusted and respected (unfortunately)made the children afraid to tell someone, and this contributed to the whole horrible situation. The lesson of this whole situation, never allow a child in a room by him/herself without the door open and another adult present. No opportunaity, no abuse. Those who were “in charge” of the priests are, IMO, just a guilty as the priests. They all should be kicked out of the church.



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Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher

posted March 11, 2010 at 4:03 pm


Neither homosexuality nor celibacy causes child sexual abuse. What causes sexual abuse of children is a disordered attraction to children and the feeling of power that the abusers have over their victims.
My abuser was attracted to little girls (in my case, an 11 year old little girl).
I do agree that having women or married men, (especially parents) being more vigilant around the rectories, sacristies and schools might have been a preventative factor, but what enabled the abusers was the culture of silence, and the belief that the prevention of scandal was more important than the safety of children, and the willingness of the priests, bishops and yes, religious sisters who were aware of the problem to keep silent and protect the perpetrators of this crime.



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James Wyse

posted March 11, 2010 at 4:51 pm


I have heard that the typical child abuser is a married man, and that priests abuse children no more and no less than the average men who work with children. I have not seen any evidence that celibacy contributes to the problem. There are people who do celibacy well and those who do it poorly. There are people who do marriage well and those who do it poorly.
The conversation of whether to change the discipline of celibacy is not furthered by connecting it to the abuse scandal.



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Dana MacKenzie

posted March 11, 2010 at 4:52 pm


I wonder how the The Archbishop of Vienna, who has been a little odd lately, anyway, can then explain away the sexual abuse of children in our public schools (studies suggest it is 500 times more frequent, there) and in families with married and presumably non-celibate parents.
Celibacy is not the problem. Not keeping vows because of a desire to feel empowered is the problem.



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Bender

posted March 11, 2010 at 5:05 pm


The NUMBER ONE abuser of children is the parent, which until recent times, was almost always married. So it is rather absurd to even raise the question of whether celibacy is a causative factor in child abuse.
Besides, there is only ONE CAUSE of child abuse — the abuser chooses to abuse children. Period. It is his or her free choice of the will, and then acting upon that will. Nothing else “makes” them do it, no one else forces them to do it. They do it because they choose to. They are not puppets, they are not pre-programmed robots, they are persons with free will, and they do evil of their own free will. Nothing and no one makes them do it, and certainly not whether they are married or not.



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Joan Sobala

posted March 11, 2010 at 5:06 pm


The problem is, and was, homosexuality. The rapid increase of homosexual men in the seminaries and then the priesthood which came about in the late 60s-early 1980s is the reason for the widespread and sudden sex abuse crisis. You can’t expect sexual deviants to keep their hands off little penises when they are screwed up sexually.



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Patrick McCoy

posted March 11, 2010 at 5:22 pm


I have heard many psychologists attribute sexual deviances (as pedophilia) to hard-wired preferences in the brain. The same way a man is hard-wired to be attracted to a woman, pedophiles are hard-wired to be attracted to children. The victim’s gender is irrelevant.
The same argument is used to justify homosexuality, that they are born with same-sex attraction.
My counter argument has always been this: murderers, pyromaniacs, and kleptomaniacs are hard-wired with predispositions to kill, start fires, and steal. It does not make their behaviors right.
We all have crosses to bear. It is succeeding in carrying that cross which merits us Heaven.



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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted March 11, 2010 at 5:29 pm


This study has some interesting statistics about the clerical sex abuse scandal — including this: “A majority of the victims were post-pubescent adolescents with a small percentage of the priests accused of abusing children who had not reached puberty.”
Dcn. G.



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Corrector

posted March 11, 2010 at 6:21 pm


Actually, the source article for this is incorrect. They misrepresented the Cardinal-Archbishop who was referencing NOT the fault of celibacy, but the FAULT of bad formation in seminaries during that epoch. The reason for the confusion, over the Cardinal who spear-headed the new Catechism, is false information in the media…and what serious Catholic would actually take the modern media seriously to represent clearly the position of such a prelate?



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Chris

posted March 11, 2010 at 7:21 pm


It may be that what the Cardinal and others are referring to is that a life of cultivated celibacy may well seem attractive to men who have sexual desires that they perceive to be deviant. In other words, they view their sexual orientations as a sign that they are, in fact, called to a life of celibacy. This would explain the above referenced “rapid increase of homosexual men in the seminaries,” a phenomenon probably attributable not to an increase in homosexual men in seminaries but to the normalization of homosexuality over the past century. In other words, it has probably always been the case that some men with same sex attraction are, for that reason, attracted to a life of celibacy. What is different today is that these same men are now freer to reject their celibacy and live as sexually active homosexuals.



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hlvanburen

posted March 11, 2010 at 7:22 pm


Thank you for posting a link to the John Jay study, Deacon. It has some interesting points.
“It said that 68 percent of the allegations were made against priests ordained between 1950 and 1979, while priests ordained after 1979 accounted for 10.7 percent of the allegations.”
So much for the alleged “rapid increase of homosexual men in the seminaries and then the priesthood which came about in the late 60s-early 1980s.”



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pagansister

posted March 11, 2010 at 7:26 pm


JoanS: It would be easy to blame homosexuals for all child abuse. However it is not true that child molesters are predominately homosexual. If you have facts supporting your theory, please quote your sources.



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jc

posted March 11, 2010 at 8:00 pm


The “pagan sister”? Maybe its better not to know…annnyyyywho, I am wondering about the cardinal’s frequent choice of words. He seems dissonant, and I hope that is not intentonal, but should he not clarify while speaking? Precisely because he is a prince of the Church? I think this is the third time in recent media engagements, he has given too much latitude for bad interpretations. On the higher side, celibacy is a wonderful gift! It is certainly NOT a cause, but a precious gift. I dont think anyone would find faithful priests wanting to give up that gift.



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plavo

posted March 11, 2010 at 9:04 pm


Lori, homsexuality is as old as the hills, st benedict ordered his men to be staggered in the dormitory: one young, one old, one young, one old….



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pagansister

posted March 11, 2010 at 9:17 pm


“…..celibacy is a wonderful gift!” so saith jc
That must be the reason so many men are headed for Catholic seminaries, right? The thought of being ceibate is such a “gift”. Riiiight! Perhaps if the church saw fit to allow their priests to marry, there would be more men interested. Faith in the Catholic church has caused 60% of the Irish to stop attending Mass. Not too good for the church.



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Lori

posted March 11, 2010 at 9:37 pm


There are two other important statistics that are brought forth in the article the Deacon mentioned.
“An overwhelming majority of the victims, 81 percent, were males.”
“The abuse often took place in the priest’s residence.”
It was common for altar boys to congregate with the priests. This was well known, and most likely a reason that homosexuals decided that being a priest would be a wonderful profession for them. Again, read the book, “Goodbye, Good men.”



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Fr. A. W.

posted March 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm


I am sure that many would see doing away with mandatory celibacy in response to the abuse crisis as a restoration of credibility. Wrong. There is nothing wrong with having married priests – we’ve had them before, and the Eastern Rites and converting Protestant clergy have them now – and there would be nothing wrong with changing the discipline at some point in the future. However, 1) the hardest sell in convincing people worldwide of the truth of Catholicism is with regard to her irreformable teachings of the past 2,000 years on human sexuality. 2) Changing the discipline of the Church on celibacy as a direct response to the abuse crisis would admit specifically that celibacy – taught by Scripture and the Tradition of the Church as a superior calling – caused the crisis. That would irretrievably throw into question the teachings of both the Scriptures and Tradition on celibacy and, by extension, on all of human sexuality. It would be a case of a change in discipline de facto newly teaching doctrine which the Church can’t logically teach if she was ever right to begin with. Celibacy and how it has been dealt with and taught may indeed have played a role in contributing to the scandals, but changing the discipline would make the assertion that it preponderantly caused the abuse of children. A practice cannot at once directly cause the abuse of children and be a good thing, as the Scriptures and Tradition have always taught that celibacy is. If celibacy is bad, then Catholicism as an averment of the truth is incorrect, and if it’s wrong about that, it’s almost certainly wrong about almost everything.
If the Holy See were to decide to do away with mandatory celibacy as a direct result of the crisis, the New Evangelization would be conclusively over. No one of any logic would ever want to become Catholic or be able to see truth in Catholicism. One might argue, “Oh, if we don’t make this change, everyone will leave.” The difference is, the people leaving now are those who don’t believe in the Church’s teachings anyway. If we make this change for this reason, the people who at this point *do* believe the Church’s teachings will put logic to work, make the appropriate connections, and be the ones who leave, at which point the terrestrial Catholic Church will be over.
I have always felt (in my adult life, anyway) that, while it could conceivably be a good idea someday to change the Church’s discipline on priestly celibacy, this (the ’60s to the present, the age of the sexual revolution) would be, catechetically, the single worst time in the Church’s 2,000-year history to do so. As a direct response to the abuse scandals would be the single worst imaginable *reason,* catechetically speaking, to do so. Thankfully, that’s not at all what his Eminence said or suggested.



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Craig

posted March 11, 2010 at 9:48 pm


Everyone should stop bickering and realize that Satan had entered the Church quite some time ago and the end results were the unwanted effects of Vatican II-and the loss of tradition in the Church, specifically the extraordinary form/Tridintine Latin mass and respect for the priesthood. “Ecumenism” replaced the teaching of Catholic doctrine and traditions that so many saints preached and martyrs died for. The result has been watered-down catechism and abuse by clergy. Thank God traditional seminaries and convents are flourishing now, as well as an increase in traditional-minded Catholics. Maria ora pro nobis!



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Ron Thomski

posted March 11, 2010 at 9:50 pm


Fr. A. W. – so well said. Bravo. Amazing how many peole can’t see that.



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Eka

posted March 11, 2010 at 10:43 pm


Oh c’mon now, Cardinal Schonborn did NOT say that celibacy is the cause of sexual abuse!! He said that the church needs to look honestly at how priests are trained and nurtured. He completely refutes the premise of this article’s interpretation of his message…which is really quite irresponsible.
Deacon Greg, you really do need to get a more accurate version of this story…and perhaps a less provocative title!



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Melchizedek

posted March 11, 2010 at 11:28 pm


What’s the noise on…abusers, Traditional Mass,…celibacy. do not understand:The End is near!
Dumb@lazy pro TV culture of pagan world @ official religious abusers;
85% this dumb world@clergy is going to HEll;ONLY 15% IS SAVED (accord to polls, to my comments on CBC (Jesus in the pocket of PMCANADA)@EXODUS 20TH CENT=BERLIN WALL FAsll,St.Aristotle: the act follows the knowing



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Mike

posted March 11, 2010 at 11:38 pm


Fr. A.W.’s logic is impeccable. Unfortunately, the understanding of human sexuality it stands on is inherently disordered.



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Thomas

posted March 11, 2010 at 11:58 pm


The catholic church perverted the idea of celibacy and priesthood. Apostle Paul said that celibacy is the best case scenario for spreading God’s word because it eliminated the distractions of marriage and family. Moreover, he considered it a blessing not a qualification. So, when men were force to choose between two powerful forces, problems were inevitable. Priests who commited these crimes are not victims, but evil and should not have been there in the first place. Rather, the system was bereft of godly men who could have done great work, but were banned because they were married. Strange how these doctrines exist, when in the beginning God made sure Adam had Eve to accompany him. Man can sure screw up these simple clues.



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anthony

posted March 11, 2010 at 11:59 pm


I agree with Eka, the Cardinal is not blaming celibacy but encouraging a deeper look at healthy formation. The title the Deacon wrote gives the whole thing a more sensational spin that is not in the article. Must be from the old CBS days from throwing out teasers to get people to watch the evening news!



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Fr. A. W.

posted March 12, 2010 at 12:32 am


Mike, the understanding of human sexuality on which my logic was based is the natural law (which is no more refutable than 1+1=2) and the teaching of Scripture and Tradition within the Catholic Church. Interesting that you would use the language of the Church and the philosophical jargon of the natural law to contradict both.
The Church has always taught (unsurprisingly, given the crystal clear teaching of the Scriptures) that marriage is great and holy (marriage is a Sacrament, celibacy isn’t), but that celibacy is the higher calling. Whether inexorably linking celibacy with priesthood is prudent is arguable; believing that priests at least ideally ought to be celibate is not. The latter idea is simply to take priesthood seriously. My argument was that the Church *could* relax priestly celibacy, but that to do so in response to the sexual abuse scandals would have the clear sign value of placing the entirety of Church teaching in the realm of human sexuality – every bit of it, whether derived from Scripture or Tradition – as an immolated offering at the feet of the prince of this world.
If it’s sinister to suggest that human beings, whether married or unmarried, can and must control themselves with God’s grace in the realm of sexual attraction, then the world, and not Jesus Christ, is right. I’ll stick with Jesus, thank you very much. I will pray for you to come around on this as well.



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Fr. A. W.

posted March 12, 2010 at 12:37 am


Thomas,
The Catholic Church has never taught mandatory priestly celibacy as doctrine. It’s a discipline of the Church. Once again, whether it was or it is a prudent discipline is debatable. I think it’s clearly not debatable that right now would be an awful time to change that discipline, and that in-response-to-the-abuse-crisis would be a crushingly awful reason to change it. Call me an “inopportunist.”



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Eka

posted March 12, 2010 at 12:58 am


Fr. A.W, you are a very wise teacher.
I believe that the problem that most people have with celibacy is that they don’t understand it’s meaning and purpose. As a married woman, I see that men and woman who live their celibacy with integrity and joy, can have a profound impact on the faith of others. Knowing that they have given up their own posterity is an incredible witness of faith.
But when a culture has such an impoverished view of sexuality in general, is is not surprising that they don’t understand celibacy.



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Pamela Ricci

posted March 12, 2010 at 8:34 am


It requires a strong heart to call for honest and complete examination of sex abuse within the Church, and a stronger one to lead the way. This is what is needed.
Pedophilia, by the way, involves only prepubescent children. One of the first things the Church should to do is separate the instances of true pedophilia from those of inappropriate sexual contact with teenagers. The pathology of the two behaviors is entirely different.



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Patrick

posted March 12, 2010 at 9:38 am


There is alot going on here… One point that has not been mentioned is the link between mandatory celibacy for priesthood and the INDIVIDUAL. Celibacy is considered a higher calling. It is one that is to be chosen in freedom, like marriage, but in a sense even more so due to its elevated status and its unique challenges. Many priests and religious have great zeal to spread the news of the Kingdom of God and accept celibacy as the consequence. This is where there may be a link between sexual disorders and certain individuals. The committed relationship between a man and a woman is affirming, it is stable, natural and is mutually complimentary. Men and women are often “realized” in this deep bond created by God. They grow and flourish as human beings and in their relationships with God and men. This does not necessarily then mean that celibacy does the opposite. Scriptures indicate clearly that there are some that are called to this by God and flourish accordingly. Chastity begets chastity, whether it be realized in marriage, celibacy or single life. The real problem seems to be the attempt to create an intrinsic link between the priesthood and celibacy. This simply does not exist, as is evidenced in Scriptures, Oriental Catholicism, our own Latin Rite history and exceptions in our own day that are made. This forces men called to the priesthood to take upon them certain sacrifices that may not correspond to what they need on a personal, intimate level. Our understanding of and appreciation for the sacredness of our sexuality has developed greatly over the last century or so… is it possible that this discipline is just a little behind our doctrine?



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Patrick

posted March 12, 2010 at 9:41 am


Deacon… how do you feel about the Church’s decision to re-allow married men to serve as deacons in the Church?



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Margaret

posted March 12, 2010 at 9:43 am


I have never understood how celibacy can be supposed to make someone act so much against nature as to have sex with a child. There are plenty of women around with a ‘thing’ for priests if the issue was simply one of human emotional and physical loneliness.



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Tim H.

posted March 12, 2010 at 9:56 am


Much to Pamela’s point, and wWith all due respect, I wonder if it is not a homosexuality problem rather than pedophelia?
It seems to me that the abuses are overwhelmingly against boys and not girls. The fact that they are young is seems to be a function of being easier targets, rather than attraction to young children per se.
Just my observation and I’d like to throw it out there to see what others more knowledgeble in the subject think.
A friend of mine attends a sexual addiction recovery group in a Baptist Church and I can tell you that of the 150 or so men that attend, at least half are Protestant pastors. The problem exists in all of society, not just in the Catholic prieshood.
We are all called th chastity. I am celibate by choice out of obedience because I love God and have been so for several years now. It is very hard to remain pure and tempation is very strong. I question why I can do it (with God’s help) but some priests and pastors can’t. Maybe they misuderstood the seriousness of their calling?
There are many good celibate preists out there.
-Tim-



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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted March 12, 2010 at 10:15 am


Patrick …
As a married member of the clergy, obviously I approve :-)
Having said that, I have to add: it’s unbelievably difficult, and often challenging, to maintain a balance between work, marriage and ministry. I’m blessed with a sympathetic and supportive wife, and a job that is equally sympathetic and supportive. Not all deacons are as fortunate.
Dcn. G.



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Frank

posted March 12, 2010 at 11:17 am


Lori, you’re repeating outdated propaganda. The problem with priests molesting boys is not a new phenomenon, hence not a product of sexual revolution or gay liberation. The problem has been documented for about 1,000 years. After all, St. Peter Damian in Liber Gomorrhianus wrote about the same thing in the eleventh century. Catholic institutions like seminaries are a breeding ground for abuse that continues from one generation to the next. Since these institutions are sexually segregated, same sex abuse is the only kind that is likely to be blamed on them. This occurs across cultures and across times.
If you actually look at the John Jay data, the modal (peak) age for a victim of molestation is 14- not coincidentally the age of admission to seminary schools. In every year thereafter, the probability of abuse declines. Therefore, it can’t be said that the abusers are typical homosexuals who are looking for teenagers as a substitute for men. If that were the case, the abusers would be more likely to select victims closer to full sexual maturity.
The John Jay study concluded that there was no connection between clerical abuse and homosexuality (defined as sexual attraction to adult males by males).



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Frank

posted March 12, 2010 at 11:31 am


Fr. A W.
“Mike, the understanding of human sexuality on which my logic was based is the natural law (which is no more refutable than 1+1=2)”
1+1=2 is can be proven based on a finite set of axioms schemas defining set theory (Zermelo-Fraenkel axioms). Natural law assumes new axioms in every argument written. Mathematical logicians don’t add new axioms because the addition of new axioms threatens to create a contradiction which would make EVERY STATEMENT provable. Ex falsum quodlibet.
So your claim, Fr. A W, is patently false.



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Leo

posted March 12, 2010 at 7:36 am


A Catholic priest has a bride. It is his congregation and the One Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church. “Other Christs” as Catholic Priests are called to be are meant to live as Jesus did, obviously. Jesus did not take a wife. The sex scandals in the Church are largely the result of the ongoing and perennial infiltration and corruption of the Church by pagan, atheistic and satanic activists who simply and always will want to destroy the Church (not reform it) and have since the begining. Their ways were and are defeated or hidered by Jesus and His Church and always will be. Every generation of Catholics must wake up! The smoke of the Devil “has entered the Church.” Would somebody please pull the alarm.



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Homo.Mysterium

posted March 12, 2010 at 12:50 pm


If that were try, then protestant ministers (married) would have no problems in this area. The reality is that the problem is as bad with protestants as it is with Catholics. But it is only politically correct to bash Catholics so it is not publicized to the same degree with protestants.



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hlvanburen

posted March 12, 2010 at 2:48 pm


“Mike, the understanding of human sexuality on which my logic was based is the natural law (which is no more refutable than 1+1=2)”
Under a preconceived set of circumstances, 1+1=2. However, if one uses a binary system (the system of counting that every computer in the world uses), 1+1=10.
Therefore, just as with almost every other statement offered as “absolute truth”, there are almost always circumstances where it isn’t.



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Theo

posted March 12, 2010 at 2:58 pm


Kenneth said, “most men who come to that state and take the collar are either a) too wounded or in denial about their sexuality to manage a marriage, or b) have unrealistic expectations that it will all just somehow get sorted out by discipline and “prayerful reflection.”
Most men? Please. Only a tiny percentage of priests are abusers, the same percentage as in Protestant churches with married pastors, and far less than in public schools.
Marriage does not prevent abuse any more than celibacy causes it. I was abused by a married man when I was 15; I knew of affairs and improper behavior between married teachers and young students in both middle and high school; the married pastor of my old evangelical megachurch (before I became a Catholic) was embroiled in a terrible gay sex scandal.
I think the problem is original sin. The Church teaches that prior to the Fall Adam and Eve were not subject to uncontrollable sexual impulses, but rather the soul had complete control over the body. The Fall disrupted that balance, causing the flesh to rule over the soul, and sexual sin was the second sin to be committed after the expulsion from the garden (Lamech’s polygamy, Gen 4:19, after the murder of Abel), and became widespread in the Old Testament. Much of God’s teaching to Israel was about sexual purity.
Sexual sin (along with murder) is a satanic offensive against the image and likeness of God in the human body, for which purpose satan seduces us. And satan attacks priests the hardest, in trying to disrupt and defame the Church (2 Peter 2:2 “And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled”). So both vigilance and good formation are very, very important.
Here’s another thought: Someone pointed out that the bulk of allegations, 68%, were against priests ordained between 1950 and 1979, and only 10.7% against those ordained afterward. This would square with the vision that Pope Leo XIII had in 1884 in which satan told Jesus he could destroy the Church, needed “75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.” (from http://www.stjosephschurch.net/leoxiii.htm )
Jesus gave him permission to try, and 75 years later it was 1959, right when seminary formation started falling apart and priests later accused of abuse were being formed and ordained. 100 years later it was 1984, right when the first priest abuse scandals started to break and initial efforts to clean things up began.
Just an observation. But celibacy causing sex abuse? Please. One can just as easily argue that sexual activity causes sex abuse, because of all the sexually active people who are also abusers. No, I think the cause is something much, much darker, and must be fought with much prayer and fasting, and good spiritual formation for priests.



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RGB

posted March 12, 2010 at 3:01 pm


And the 900 pound gorilla in the room that no one wants to see is homosexuality. There is your main cause.



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Marquis

posted March 12, 2010 at 3:05 pm


Duh! Celibacy is not the problem. A lack of celibacy is the problem.



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Your Name

posted March 12, 2010 at 3:17 pm


First of all, in the interest of accuracy, let’s refer to Hans Kung as ex-catholic-theologian. The Vatican rescinded his authority to teach Catholic theology (in 1980!). Kung is quoted as saying “Joseph Ratzinger has stood still because as a Bavarian Catholic in the Hellenistic tradition, interpreted in Roman terms, he wanted to stand still. To this degree he represented and represents a different basic model of theology and church, as different from mine as in astronomy Ptolemy’s geocentric picture of the world is different from Copernicus’ heliocentric picture.” — Hans Küng, Disputed Truth: Memoirs Volume 2, Continuum 2008, p. 329.
At the root of the problem is evil, plain and simple. And what better way is there for the evil one to cast the seed of doubt on Christ’s true church, than by infiltrating the clergy with this horrible sin? This isn’t a case of a few bad seeds, but rather an elaborate and well-orchestrated attack on the Church. If anything, the time-honored practice of celibacy forces oneself to confront one’s degenerate nature and through Christ’s help, overcome it. Those pediphiles which became priests and preyed on the innocent youths have responded to a different calling. Satan not only whispered in the ears of those priests, but was there to accuse them of their sins afterwards.



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David, Chicago

posted March 12, 2010 at 3:29 pm


If you are truly interested in being accurate: Hans Kung is a Catholic priest in good standing, with faculties to celebrate the sacraments. The license to teach is another matter. Sorry, you don’t get to kick him out of the church.



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Christi from Ohio

posted March 12, 2010 at 3:29 pm


Right. So the priest abuses children. The solution is for him to marry in order for him to abuse his own children.
I think not.



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pagansister

posted March 12, 2010 at 3:36 pm


LeoH:
You said that priests have brides…the congregation and the church. Interesting…that really isn’t very conforting on a cold, rainy night. How can one be married to an institution? Can’t be done. Serve an institution, yes, be “married to it”. Ugh.
You mentioned that Jesus never married…as far as we know. The tradition at that time was for Jewish men to marry…wonder why Jesus didn’t?
Also you think the church’s problems are due to satanic activists, Pagans, and atheists….and “the devil”. They have infiltrated the church. That is a bunch of bull. You are attempting to pass the blame for what many, many, many MEN in that organization have been doing to far to many children for centuries….using their arrogant power as “men of the cloth” to harm those the children trusted. What a mistake that was. The blame for all this is the priests,and their overseers (bishops, all the way up to the popes…who probably participated in some of that activity too). The smoke turned to flames as soon the church started it’s systematic secrecy, intimadation and just plain arrogance to keep the church’s control over the masses has caused this continuing problem.
The blame, Leo, is the whole structure of the church. Reforms would be advised.



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Bender

posted March 12, 2010 at 3:54 pm


Hans Kung is a Catholic priest in good standing
While that “good standing” phraseology might be proper for a social club, the Church is not a social club.
The real issue regarding Hans Kung is whether he is in full communion with the Church, specifically the Magisterium. By his writings and his statements, he has indicated that he is not.
And, if you are truly interested in being accurate, “Your Name” referred to Hans Kung as “ex-catholic-theologian,” not an “ex-catholic.” That is acccurate, Kung can no longer hold himself out to be a teacher of Catholic theology. “Your Name” did not excommunicate the professor, unlike some have vainly tried to do in these pages in recent days.



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Your Name

posted March 12, 2010 at 4:02 pm


Actually, since the natural law is written from creation in the design of the human person, and since the world in which 1+1=2 exists for the sake of the human person, the natural law is more fundamentally true than mathematical laws. It is by its very nature true. The clouding of the will and intellect can lead to arguments which seem to admit exceptions, or even to arguments which apparently contradict the truths of the natural law. It’s still irrefutable in its very essence, and many of the attempts to refute its axioms may be taken as simple bad faith.
Hlvanburen, your denial of absolute truth and insistence upon creating exceptions to it serves to identify you with Pontius Pilate, who asked, “What is truth?” I’m sure you don’t want that. Situational ethics and morality do not fly in orthodox Catholic thought. I recommend Veritatis Splendor, the encyclical letter of Pope John Paul II of happy memory.



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Fr. A. W.

posted March 12, 2010 at 4:11 pm


Pagansister,
Every marriage has its give-and-take. In terms of the “give” aspects of marriage, the priest gives himself as bridegroom to the bride he sacramentally shares with Christ, which is the Church – both in terms of the whole Church and his local congregation. In terms of the “take” aspects of marriage, the priest receives from Christ. For anyone who is not married, because of an accepted vocation to celibacy or not, all genital activity is excluded; however, I believe you are asserting that there are other emotional, mental, and even physical needs which are served by marriage. Let me assure you first hand that all of those needs – with the exclusion of genital activity which should be excluded anyway – all of them – are in fact well-met by a solid prayer life. God really is great comfort on a cold, rainy night.
BTW, I lost my CAPTCHA on the last post, the one that referenced Veritatis Splendor. That was me.



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pagansister

posted March 12, 2010 at 4:25 pm


“Let me assure you first hand that all of those needs-with the exclusion of genital activity which should be excluded anyway-all of them-aer in fact well-metby a solid prayer life. God really is great comfort on a cold, rainy night.” Fr. A. W.
I’ll just have to take your word for that, Fr. :o)



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Just a Seminarian

posted March 12, 2010 at 4:41 pm


Over the years, as more and more priest sexual abuse cases have come to light, many people have been calling for the removal of the celibacy mandate for priests. As a seminarian in priestly formation, those who call for the removal of the celibate state for priests simply do not understand it. If you see celibacy for what it truly is, a gift, you would not be calling for its removal in the life of a priest. If you view celibacy as something you are giving up, you need to go read JPII’s Theology of the Body. (The Christopher West commentaries would be better because JPII does have an elaborate use of language.)
In response to celibacy being the driving factor for the scandals, that is simply absurd! Answer this, why do sexual abuse cases occur in other churches where celibacy is not mandatory for ministers?



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iyke manus

posted March 12, 2010 at 5:03 pm


While I agree that celibacy can possibly become a problem in terms of psychosexual development, what I am not sure of is whether it should take all the rap for the scandals. We all are aware of the level of sexual abuse that took place in families over the years, abuses which took a number of years to hit public consciousness. Were those abuses the result of celibacy? What explains the many cases of paedophilia in the society? Celibacy too? Human sexuality has an in-built potential to cause all kinds of problems- we call this concupiscence. Celibacy or no celibacy, it is there.



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Fr. A. W.

posted March 12, 2010 at 5:09 pm


Pagansister, much appreciated. At the same time, of course a priest should have good healthy relationships with family, parishioners, and brother priests. “It is not good for the man to be alone” still applies in that sense to diocesan priests at least.



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hlvanburen

posted March 12, 2010 at 6:59 pm


“Situational ethics and morality do not fly in orthodox Catholic thought.”
May this fiction be tattooed on the heads of every abusive Priest and every cleric who enabled/covered for them.



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Fr. A. W.

posted March 12, 2010 at 7:46 pm


What fiction?
What I said wasn’t fiction. If a priest who was an orthodox Catholic thinker ever abused a child in the name of situational ethics and then convinced other orthodox Catholic thinkers to adopt those situational ethics, it would validate your point. You’ll be looking for a while to locate such a creature.
If you were ever a victim of abuse by a priest, I would certainly pray for your interior healing and for your abuser to be brought to civil justice. I have counseled a victim of clerical sexual abuse and helped him find healing in Christ and helped bring his perp to justice. The issues I’m arguing about here do not contradict the reality that the abuse was a dire evil. The debate at issue is the remedy. Doing away with mandatory celibacy isn’t it.



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Jim

posted March 12, 2010 at 9:04 pm


The study Deacon Greg linked in one of his comments indicates that between 2.5% (religious priests) and 4.5% (diocesan priests) abuse. The most common numbers floated about are that between 5% and 7% of men in the general population abuse. Using a rough blended number of the religious and diocesan priests, it appears that priests abuse at roughly half to two-thirds the rate of men in general.
Other studies have shown that priests don’t abuse at a statistically significantly different rate from clergy of other Christian or non-Christian traditions. If celibacy was a significant cause of the abuse, there would be significant differences in the rate of abuse between celibate Catholic clergy and largely married non-Catholic clergy. The lack of that difference in rate leads quickly to a lack of correlation between celibacy and abuse.



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hlvanburen

posted March 12, 2010 at 9:21 pm


“If a priest who was an orthodox Catholic thinker ever abused a child in the name of situational ethics and then convinced other orthodox Catholic thinkers to adopt those situational ethics, it would validate your point. You’ll be looking for a while to locate such a creature.”
Well, not really. It came up on my home page when I loaded the browser. Go figure.
//apnews.myway.com//article/20100313/D9EDEDFG2.html
“VATICAN CITY (AP) – Germany’s sex abuse scandal has now reached Pope Benedict XVI: His former archdiocese disclosed that while he was archbishop a suspected pedophile priest was transferred to a job where he later abused children.
The pontiff is also under increasing fire for a 2001 Vatican document he later penned instructing bishops to keep such cases secret.
The revelations have put the spotlight on Benedict’s handling of abuse claims both when he was archbishop of Munich from 1977-1982 and then the prefect of the Vatican office that deals with such crimes – a position he held until his 2005 election as pope.
And they may lead to further questions about what the pontiff knew about the scope of abuse in his native Germany, when he knew it and what he did about it during his tenure in Munich and quarter-century term at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”
While we may wish to define some terms here (such as your use of ‘situational ethics’), it seems that each day brings revelations like this. Why did Benedict pen that letter? What did he know while serving as Archbishop? Did he knowingly cover up a crime or series of crimes?
And more importantly, what does the Bishop of Rome owe in explanation to those in his care while he was Archbishop, who trusted the church and his ministration in it?



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Frank

posted March 12, 2010 at 10:18 pm


Your Name,
Proof by assertion. F.



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Fr. A. W.

posted March 12, 2010 at 10:42 pm


“Well, not really. It came up on my home page when I loaded the browser. Go figure.”
Your attempt to be funny wasn’t much better than mine. I think it’s pretty clear that the Munich perp, and all perps, don’t choose to abuse out of ethics, but rather set ethics aside so that they may abuse. In other words, no, your “example” doesn’t fit the intentionally absurd criteria.
“While we may wish to define some terms here (such as your use of ‘situational ethics’),”
I use the term situational ethics to address your assertions – that absolutes have exceptions. Many moral absolutes actually do not. “Situational ethics” is the belief that moral principles generally claimed as absolutes may be set aside if they stand in the way of achieving a greater end.
“Why did Benedict pen that letter?”
It would seem that he penned it to clarify issues of internal forum in ecclesiastical trials. Those norms apply to many situations, not just the sexual abuse of children.
“What did he know while serving as Archbishop? Did he knowingly cover up a crime or series of crimes?”
We’ll see. I profoundly suspect the answers are, “Not nearly as much as he probably should have” (it’s called delegation, and was probably overdone here) and “No.”
“And more importantly, what does the Bishop of Rome owe in explanation to those in his care while he was Archbishop, who trusted the church and his ministration in it?”
Hopefully an honest addressing of why the “cover-ups” took place. I suspect on pretty good authority that it has to do with three major principles:
1) The avoidance of scandal, that is, the exposure of wrongdoing that could jeopardize the Church’s mission to spread the Gospel. For example, if it becomes known to the public that a priest abused a child, some people might say that all priests abuse children. Or (these comments attached to this post being a case in point) people might conclude that celibacy (taught, once again, by Scripture and Tradition as a higher good and a higher calling!) creates child molesters. Or one might simply conclude that the Church was evil. If one really and truly believes that the Church’s mission is to get people to believe the Gospel, then the avoidance of scandal is a very high principle indeed.
2) Forgiveness. Certainly one of Jesus’ most stringent and relentless teachings. If someone expresses contrition for doing something, the Catholic way from the beginning is to give them another chance, and moreover to presume that with grace they will not repeat the offense.
3) A respect for the priesthood, in terms of the importance of priests to the mission of the Gospel, and in spiritual terms, but also in the human terms of commitment put in. If one believes in forgiveness as above, and that the priest will not repeat his crimes, then it could conceivably be difficult to throw away that priest’s sacramental powers and learned administrative/ministerial skills when the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few. It also might seem harsh to dismiss the years of preparation and commitments of celibacy, simplicity, and obedience he has made.
I think that in their hearts of hearts even most enemies of the Church, rightfully angry victims, and victims’ advocates know that the combination of these three principles (and not one or two of them, but all three, in all cases), and not criminally mischievous motives, engendered most of the cover-ups over the centuries and up to around the early ‘90s. Taken individually, each is a decent and good-faith ideal rather than just an excuse for what now seems inexcusable. And they are, by the way, why I believe the Pope shouldn’t (and shouldn’t have to) resign if the reports are correct as stated.
Of course those three principles as combined in these situations have several major problems in light of the abuse crisis:
1) The massive recidivism associated with the abuse of children. Catholic Christian forgiveness may presume that the forgiven will not repeat the offense, and in the abstract still must do so, but outside the confessional, the Church has always also enjoined the use of prudence. Once bishops and priests in charge of personnel decisions understood the recidivism rates (generally speaking, the early ‘90s, if not a bit earlier), there was no good argument left for allowing offending priests to remain in ministry.
2) The failure to appreciate how devastating these events were for the victims. Many of the gatekeepers dealing with victims and perps were sweating so much about the scandal factor and money that they forgot to use the Good Samaritan principle of compassion. They may not have understood the full psychological effects, but they should have at least been able to put themselves in the shoes of others and imagine how they would feel if it had happened to them. As a priest, I believe the single worst phenomenon in the abuse crisis is how several Church contact people essentially re-victimized the victims in their treatment of them. In any event, if there had been from square one as much compassion for victims as for “repentant” perps, the scandal would have been nipped in the bud from the beginning.
3) The failure to recognize how much worse the secretive policies would make the scandals in the end.
4) As noted earlier in the comments, the failure to see the additional scandal factor of failing to follow civic reporting laws would turn the policies into a outraging scandal of outright criminal behavior. The Christian responsibility to obey civil laws as enshrined in Scripture is naturally not absolute (cf. the law to worship and sacrifice to Caesar), but in this case, it was too easily set aside.
The changes that took place in the Dallas Charter and which will likely take place worldwide now are difficult. They involve setting aside principles and norms which the Church has held as holy (forgiveness, internal forum) or nearly-holy (secrecy to avoid hurting the Church’s mission). I hope those adjustments can be made with humility and a genuine care by the hierarchy and those from whom they seek advice not to throw the Baby Jesus out with the bath water. I hope all will pray for the genuine purification of the Church in these matters. To those with other agendas, please meditate on 1 Cor 12:27 and Acts 9:5.



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Fr. A. W.

posted March 12, 2010 at 11:05 pm


Frank,
I cop to doing a much crummier job than I ought in explaining the natural law – there’s too much else, and arguably more important in this debate, and my philosophical studies were too long ago. In any event, a Catholic is not free to reject the existence nor the correctness of the natural law nor its individual assertions. If you aren’t Catholic, then our back-and-forth has certainly ended – not because I’m not right (I would stake my life and soul that I am), but because I simply can’t argue the point as well as I should be able to. If you are a sacramental Catholic, once again, I would direct you to Veritatis Splendor, and toward some conversion of heart on the issue.



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hlvanburen

posted March 12, 2010 at 11:16 pm


“I think it’s pretty clear that the Munich perp, and all perps, don’t choose to abuse out of ethics, but rather set ethics aside so that they may abuse. In other words, no, your “example” doesn’t fit the intentionally absurd criteria”
I think that until there is a full accounting on the matter we really cannot make a full determination about this. The existence of the letter is disturbing, or should be to anyone with a conscience. The reassignment of the abuser is clearly outlined in the policy of the church, and is consistent with behavior observed in other countries.
//image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Observer/documents/2003/08/16/Criminales.pdf
(Note section 4 portion highlighted on page 2)
“Taken individually, each is a decent and good-faith ideal rather than just an excuse for what now seems inexcusable. And they are, by the way, why I believe the Pope shouldn’t (and shouldn’t have to) resign if the reports are correct as stated.”
Thank you for defining situational ethics by example. It is appreciated.



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Robertlifelongcatholic

posted March 12, 2010 at 11:18 pm


To FR.A.W. – Your explaination is part of the problem. The clergy’s warped sense crime and punishment. You said you “would certainly pray for the interior healing of the victim of abuse by a priest and for the abuser to be brought to civil justice. IT’S A CRIMINIAL ACT NOT A CIVIL OFFENSE! Such predators and those who aid or abet them are not God’s gift to Catholicism. The clergy continues to marginalize what has been going on far too long with pontificating platitudes and political posturing. IT’S TIME STATE, FEDERAL AND INTERNATIONAL LAW AGENCIES CAME DOWN ON THE COLLEGE OF BISHOPS AND THE VATICAN AND PUT AN END TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S UNDERGROUND SODOM AND GOMORRAH. The Vatican and bishops obviously won’t. The answer is not three Hail Marys and two Our Fathers or shuffling the preditor priests out of jurisdiction to another parish, state, or country and paying off the victims with the parish Sunday collections of the dioces. Such is the character of charlatans.



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Fr. A. W.

posted March 12, 2010 at 11:25 pm


“Thank you for defining situational ethics by example. It is appreciated.”
How so? I outlined three principles which are well in line with solidly Scriptural Catholic thought, and then proceeded to admit why they were misapplied in this situation.



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hlvanburen

posted March 12, 2010 at 11:29 pm


“The changes that took place in the Dallas Charter and which will likely take place worldwide now are difficult. They involve setting aside principles and norms which the Church has held as holy (forgiveness, internal forum) or nearly-holy (secrecy to avoid hurting the Church’s mission).”
Revelation of these matters is not what damaged the church’s mission. It was the acts of the abusers and those who covered for them that damaged the mission of the church. Perhaps that is the first attitudinal change that needs to be made by apologists for Rome.



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Fr. A. W.

posted March 12, 2010 at 11:34 pm


Robert, I’m befuddled as to your issue with my quote you cited. By “civil justice,” I wasn’t referencing tort law, but rather the civil society which governs criminal laws. Of course what the perps did were criminal acts. I didn’t dispute that.
If you really are a lifelong Catholic and still Catholic, then surely you can see how far more likely it is that the cause of the Gospel will be realized if the Church cleans things up on her own rather than being crushed by civil authorities. Please pray as much. And if someone you know has been hurt by a priest, by all means call the police.



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Fr. A. W.

posted March 12, 2010 at 11:41 pm


Hlvanburen,
You are correct, but once again, the issue was scandal. If the bishops and chancery staffs that covered up the abuse had had any foresight, they would have recognized that the cover-ups would cause greater scandal. BTW, I have never disputed that the acts of the abusers were awful.



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Frank

posted March 13, 2010 at 1:26 am


Fr. A. W.,
I reject “Natural Law” because it is based on provably unsound deductive principles. It’s rhetoric, not logic. Therefore, as a baptized and confirmed Catholic with a doctorate in mathematics, I apostacize out of consistency.
Now, if you reject the principles of formal logic, please abstain from their benefits. Turn your computer off. You can’t have it both ways.



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Vince

posted March 13, 2010 at 1:50 am


Frank,
You are falling into a reductionist view of reality (therefore limiting yourself, closing yourself) as opposed to the comprehensiveness of true philosophy which opens. If you reject Natural Law on the basis of “rhetoric” then I can reject mathematics on the basis of “numerical symbology.” The numbers that are there are symbols we created that we just think it means something when we add them together. In short, by reducing Natural Law, the natural order of creation which God created(thereby speaking of the nature of God himself), you reduce God to numbers. Now this doesn’t make any sense. You reduce, God who, as St. Anselm wrote, is that which nothing greater can be thought, and more importantly you reduce his creation to a number. It is actually logically fallacious to do what you are doing.
What you and I realize as human beings is that there is…being. There is truth. Thus, our understanding of truth fits into the GREATER, COMPREHENSIVE (see, it moves up instead of down in reductionism)whole (the ultimate) as God, Truth. So the question really is: why is there being/order (natural order/law/right)? Why is there SOMETHING rather than nothing?



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Frank

posted March 13, 2010 at 2:41 am


Vince,
You really don’t understand what I’m talking about at all. Formal logic is a careful analysis that can be applied to any discourse. The deductive principles used in Natural Law will lead to the ability to “prove” _anything_ – even false statements. That’s what ex falsum quodlibet means. That’s why it’s just rhetoric and sophistry. Natural Law reasoning is no longer generally-accepted in legal discourse because it leads to conclusions which are both subjective and autocratic.
Knowledge that guides human behavior has to be subject to the test of falsifiability. If there is evidence derived through observation that a particular philosophy makes a prediction that is incorrect, then that theory has to be revised.



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dccsvd

posted March 13, 2010 at 8:59 am


There are multiple reasons for the problem. Candidates for priesthood or religious life must be screened. This has been done since apostolic times. Search the scriptures and you’ll find that St. Paul set some very high qualities for those who would play some public role of service in the Church. Today the tendency is to take whoever walks in the door because it walks, breaths and thinks it has a vocation. “Personality Development” is not proper formation work in the seminary/religious houses/convents. A candidate’s personality has already been formed before entering! A candidate coming into the seminary should already be a mature person. Where the formation comes into play is to help the candidate see their personality in view of Gospel values and a relationship with Jesus on a daily basis. Testing must take place that challenges the candidate to a deeper following of Christ to Calvary and the joy that follows in knowing true sacrifice for the good of others.
Too many religious and priests have secretly thought that they can do anything because they profess perpetual vows or are ordained … it’s hard to get of them or “fired” in lay terms! Transparency, accountability … even for one’s “private” time is necessary, because priests and religious are never “private” persons.
Finally, the question of obligatory celibacy needs to be honestly looked at by the Church. Honestly! Despite what people might think … Christ selected a group of men, most of whom were married! We don’t know anything more than that. Those are the facts! OBVIOUSLY he wasn’t worried about having married men as his first witness & apostles. OBVIOIUSLY he wasn’t thinking that all of them had to be single like him or that it was necessary in order to be like him! OBVIOUSLY it wasn’t in the thinking of the early Church and wasn’t the basis for their theology of the priesthood. It isn’t the basis for the theology of the priesthood in the Eastern Churchs … even to this day! It is a discipline that can be changed! It isn’t an absolute, OBVIOUSLY!



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Paul

posted March 13, 2010 at 11:44 am


Frank, is the mention of your bona fides an example of sound deductive principles, or an appeal to authority? Be careful Frank, I fear that if you walk with you nose up for too long you might trip.



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Frank

posted March 13, 2010 at 12:34 pm


Paul,
You really have no idea what you’re talking about. Catholic education just isn’t as good as your think it is.



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pagansister

posted March 13, 2010 at 12:37 pm


Dear Leo H:
Pagan has many, many more definitions than yours, which I feel you chose because it makes those of us who have chosen to be Pagan sound “bad, or evil”. If you are referring to your Satan, or Devil when your refer to “beneath the creator”, then you are so off base it isn’t even funny. I feel he was made up to help keep the masses in line…behave and follow the rules are you will meet the devil when you die etc. Pagan was originally defined as a “country dweller”. How evil is that? Really bad, Huh? In Rome, civilians were defined as Pagans as opposed to the military. Bad, huh? There was no denigration implied with that name. The fact that it has been around before Christianity is significant. (many of your adopted holidays started out as Pagan celebrations). Anyhow, all this to say that everyone has their own definition of what a Pagan or Wiccan is. You have chosen it to mean something not acceptable. My motto” Do as you will as long as it harm none”. Really bad, huh? I do not honor evil. I do not worship evil.
FYI: I spent 10 years as a teacher in in a Catholic elementary school, and learned much more about the Catholic church. Taught 5 year olds. In fact, that was the last part of a 24 year teaching career. I retired from there. Yes, I was Pagan while I worked there…went to Mass and taught the prayers, etc. So as to commenting on this section? As a past Christian, I find all religions interesting….not just the Christian ones. Some of my best friends are Catholic and most of my family are Christian.
Have a nice day.



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pagansister

posted March 13, 2010 at 12:58 pm


One more thing, LeoH, Yes, the principal that hired me knew I wasn’t a Catholic. That was the first thing I told her when she called me for an interview. She interviewed me anyhow and hired me. An outsider with opinions on the RCC isn’t influenced by being a member of it….more objective in their views. Not influenced by the secrecy that has been the rule thus far in the church…do anything to protect it…lie, pass on men who should have been kicked out, don’t admit to anything (except in the confessional), so not in awe of priests, cardinals, bishops, archbishops, even a pope. They are only human beings. Rank in that large organization obtained like any other business….be good and you will be promoted. Follow the rules, make nice…etc.



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Rink

posted March 13, 2010 at 1:01 pm


Schonborn may say celibacy is the reason for the pedophilia problem, I used to think that way, but of late you see married men, left and right running off to scandals with women, married and unmarried teachers doing it with their students and more, its not a celibacy problem, its a problem of morals and the corruption of morals in today’s culture, celibacy may drive some who just arent adjusted properly for priesthood, thats something that needs to be weeded out yn the seminaries, some ideas needs to be squelched, like the idea that if a male has sex with another male, it isnt legitimately ‘sex’ per se.
Its sex no matter how you excuse it away.
Its a problem that needs to be seriously and internally addressed WITHOUT the glare of the media and the paparazzi who so love to play up the scandals for all to see hoping to break more weak souls from the Church.
Remember Christ Himself said about scandals, that it would be better if a person had a millstone hung around their necks and tossed into the sea than lead one of His little ones astray.
Those prists who have been found to be partaking int hese scandals need to be defrocked and more stringent standards put into place to weed out the problems that we are seeing currently here today.
One more last thing to keep in mind, St Paul stated that celibacy was a PREFERENCE, not a mandate, he preferred a man devote his entire life to God as it would be better to do so than be burdened by the cares of this world, thats understandable, but it was Never a mandate, it was a Preference.
This must be given scrutiny and review, whether the Catholic Church sees fit to act on that or not is up to them, I’ll not criticize them as Christ gave to them the keys to heaven, and what they open, cannot be shut, and what they shut cannot be opened.
Thus the Apostolic Church has a divine right to act on what it sees best for the Church and the Body of Christ, and only Christ can change that through his supreme Authority only.
I just think such a thing needs to be looked at and reviewed, as we are all human, we’re all prone to mistakes, and sometimes even with good intentions mistakes do happen, so I just hope and pray the Church with the Pope can do whats right for the Church and the Body of Christ as a whole. :)



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Leo

posted March 13, 2010 at 10:30 am


Dear Pagansister,
It is somewhat dishonest to call yourself Pagan def. “One who worships something beneath the Creator.” and join in a discussion about reforming a Church that you don’t even belive in. If you don’t believe that Jesus was God then you can’t possibly understand the Church or what would constitute a reform. Speakin of “Bull” most Christians rejected Paganism as bull a long time ago. Where have you been?



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Tony in Central PA

posted March 13, 2010 at 5:48 pm


I going to make a wild guess that those who think priestly celibacy is the answer to these sexual abuse scandals generally aren’t familiar with Church history. An important component of the Gregorian reforms begun in the 11th century was the rededication of priestly celibacy. One of the things that precipitated this was, you guessed it, sexual misbehavior by priests.
I am not defending any of this sort of behavior. It would be better to expose all of the facts, as ugly as it may get, and have the perpetrators sent away in shame. There really isn’t any alternative.



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mike

posted March 13, 2010 at 9:20 pm


If celibacy caused otherwise normal men to become pedophiles, children would be in danger from all men who were not involved sexually at the moment. There have been times in my adult life where I’ve been celibate for years, without vows of celibacy, and I had no desire whatsoever to molest a child. A pedophile is a pedophile. Blaming pedophilia on the sex drive uses the same logic as the secularist who claims we are simply base animals driven by animal desires.



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Your Name

posted March 14, 2010 at 3:02 am


I have no theological degrees or training beyond what the Chuch teaches, but isn’t the basis of priestly celebacy the fact that they have consecrated themselves as a spouse to Christ’s Church? Isn’t a celebate priest no different than any other faithful spouse? Whether the vocation is religeous or matrimonial, it would seem to me that suitablity for it is what needs to be examined here. The shortage of priests and the eagerness of the Church to fill the seminaries may have let this very important factor fall through the cracks. Everyone is being clouded into thinking it all centers on whether or not a person is having sex, when really sex has nothing to do with it at all. Rather it’s about self control and the true desire of a priest to be a husband and care giver to the one he has made a lifelong commitment to. The hierarchy then, should be no different than the long suffering father who insists on meeting his daughter’s new beau and sizing him up. Only after a careful process should her hand be given.



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LeoH

posted March 14, 2010 at 10:55 am


Dear Pagan Sister,
The Church teaches us to hate hate the sin but love the sinner. Do the sins and abuses that we all should hate really abound within the Catholic Church more than in your world of pagans? The average life span in the Roman Empire (the Model of the Pagan World)in the time of Christ was about 19 years of age. Do you expect me to believe that the world wants to or should go back to the paganism of the Roman empire. Wake up. Cast the beam from your own eye before removing the splinter from your brothers. Yes the Church is full of sinners. But so is the world. If you look at the facts you exagerate the sins and abuses of the Church and totally ignore the sins and abuses of the Pagan and Neo Pagan world. Oh I forgot! Atheists can’t sin because there is no sin. Your philosophy or whatever it is is a poor, deluded, deceitful ironic joke indeed!



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pagansister

posted March 14, 2010 at 4:51 pm


LeoH, how long did the Christians live in Roman times? Hello….
Not saying that ALL religions don’t have their problems with their members. No one is perfect…(not even Mr. Pope) as you so colorfully pointed out using that favorite Christian word..SINNER. I certainly wasn’t suggesting that we all go back to Roman times. I like my modern things. :o)
However I don’t feel I’ve exagerated the abuses of the RCC. It has been happening for centuries but fortunately the years of secrecy, deceit, are coming to light….reaching to the highest chair in the land of RCC. The pope is just as guilty as the priests who committed the crimes.
Every religion has it’s bad folks…who have mistreated each other and their children. That’s life. I think what makes folks so angry with the RCC is that it was happening for so long with the knowledge of the Bishops, and Cardinals and all those higher ups who just contributed to it by sending the guys on to molest ever more and then lied to make the RCC seem “sin free”.
If it wasn’t for a few Pagans, you wouldn’t have many of your holidays, which were made Catholic by trying to convert said Pagans. Your welcome…enjoy them.
So happy to have given you a laugh…enjoy your day. BTW, I’m not an atheist. I just don’t happen to believe in your god.



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Irenaeus

posted March 14, 2010 at 9:06 pm


Schonborn and Kung are two peas of the same pod. Unfortunately, his work on the catechism gives him a respect he does not deserve because he is constantly trying to turn the Catholic church into a protestant one. The abuse crisis in the USA was caused by active homosexuals, not celibate priests.
Almost all the priests who abuse children are homosexuals. Dr. Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University, found that 90% of all priests who in fact abuse minors have sexually engaged with adolescent boys, not prepubescent children. Hence that 90% of the abusers are in fact gay.
According to the Boston Globe,
“Of the clergy sex abuse cases referred to prosecutors in Eastern Massachusetts, more than 90 percent involve male victims. And the most prominent Boston lawyers for alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse have said that about 95 percent of their clients are male.”
In a database analysis of reports on more than 1,200 alleged victims of priests identified by USA Today, 85 percent were males.
According to USA Today, it was determined that of the 234 priests who have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor while serving in the nation’s 10 largest dioceses and archdioceses, 91 percent of their victims were males.
If we look at the USA and how they have more young women than boys involved or volunteering in church activities, it becomes obvious that these statistics show abusers for what they are. They had same sex preferences… not prepubescent urges since they represented only 10% of the victims in age.
On celibacy…
Matt. 19:11-12 – Jesus says celibacy is a gift from God and whoever can bear it should bear it. Jesus praises and recommends celibacy for full-time ministers in the Church. Because celibacy is a gift from God, those who criticize the Church’s practice of celibacy are criticizing God and this wonderful gift He bestows on His chosen ones.
Matt. 19:29 – Jesus says that whoever gives up children for the sake of His name will receive a hundred times more and will inherit eternal life. Jesus praises celibacy when it is done for the sake of His kingdom.
Matt. 22:30 – Jesus explains that in heaven there are no marriages. To bring about Jesus’ kingdom on earth, priests live the heavenly consecration to God by not taking a wife in marriage. This way, priests are able to focus exclusively on the spiritual family, and not have any additional pressures of the biological family (which is for the vocation of marriage). This also makes it easier for priests to be transferred to different parishes where they are most needed without having to worry about the impact of their transfer on wife and children.
1 Cor 7:1 Paul teaches that it is well for a man not to touch a woman. This is the choice that the Catholic priests of the Roman rite freely make.
1 Cor. 7:7 – Paul also acknowledges that celibacy is a gift from God and wishes that all were celibate like he is.
1 Cor. 7:27 Paul teaches men that they should not seek marriage. In Paul’s opinion, marriage introduces worldly temptations that can interfere with one’s relationship with God, specifically regarding those who will become full-time ministers in the Church.
1 Cor. 7:32-33, 38 – Paul recommends celibacy for full-time ministers in the Church so that they are able to focus entirely upon God and building up His kingdom. He who refrains from marriage will do better.
1 Tim. 3:2 – Paul instructs that bishops must be married only once. Many Protestants use this verse to prove that the Church’s celibacy law is in error. But they are mistaken because this verse refers to bishops that were widowers. Paul is instructing that these widowers could not remarry. The verse also refers to those bishops who were currently married. They also could not remarry (in the Catholic Church’s Eastern rite, priests are allowed to marry; celibacy is only a disciplinary rule for the clergy of the Roman rite). Therefore, this text has nothing to do with imposing a marriage requirement on becoming a bishop.
1 Tim. 4:3 – in this verse, Paul refers to deceitful doctrines that forbid marriage. Many non-Catholics also use this verse to impugn the Church’s practice of celibacy. This is entirely misguided because the Catholic Church (unlike many Protestant churches) exalts marriage to a sacrament. In fact, marriage is elevated to a sacrament, but consecrated virginity is not. The Church declares marriage sacred, covenantal and lifegiving. Paul is referring to doctrines that forbid marriage and other goods when done outside the teaching of Christ and for a lessor good. Celibacy is an act of giving up one good (marriage and children) for a greater good (complete spiritual union with God).
1 Tim. 5:9-12 – Paul recommends that older widows take a pledge of celibacy. This was the beginning of women religious orders.
2 Tim. 2:3-4 – Paul instructs his bishop Timothy that no soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim his to satisfy the One who enlisted him. Paul is using an analogy to describe the role of the celibate priesthood in the Church.
Rev. 14:4 – unlike our sinful world of the flesh, in heaven, those consecrated to virginity are honored.
Isaiah 56:3-7 – the eunuchs who keep God’s covenant will have a special place in the kingdom of heaven.
Jer. 16:1-4 – Jeremiah is told by God not to take a wife or have children.



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pagansister

posted March 14, 2010 at 9:25 pm


Irenaeus: Are we to assume from your quotes that those 90% gay priests had “bosses” who were also gay (only 90% of course) so the secrets were kept as the priests were passed from parish to parish to mess with still more children? Interesting. 90% of the men in the RCC were homosexual, so they wouldn’t turn in their fellow priests, bishops, etc.? There is absolutely no excuse in anyone’s world that covers the horrendous acts of those formerly trusted men or the men/organization who protected them. This goes all the way up to the Pope, who IMO is just as guilty as the lower echelon. Ultimately the “buck stops with him”, just like Truman said when he was President.



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Ismael

posted March 14, 2010 at 11:19 pm


“”If it wasn’t for a few Pagans, you wouldn’t have many of your holidays, which were made Catholic by trying to convert said Pagans. Your welcome…enjoy them.””
That’s historical nonsense.
It is true that many feasts have replaced omany pagan feasts and fall on the same they, but their significance is intrinsically different.
More than a trick to convert people it was a way to drive away paganism and celebrate the true religion and the true God.
Besides neo-pagans have no claim on pagan holidays. Most of neo-paganism is barely 1 century old and only barely and rarely compares with true ancient paganism.



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LeoH

posted March 15, 2010 at 7:52 am


Dearest Pagansister,
While it is somewhat amusing how you can confound the simplest observations it is not funny. The Catholic Church transformed the doomed Roman Empire into the Eternal Holy Roman Catholic Church. Get it? Again, I ask you what Pagan Society is or was Holier than the Church that you so flippantly despise? Perhaps the Nazi’s. Or which totally secular regime had fewer abuses Lenin’s, Stalin.s, Mao’s? Are you really so obtuse as to not see the precipice before you. I don’t laugh at you, I weep for you.



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Max Alberts

posted March 15, 2010 at 9:36 am


I have never read more intolerant and ignorant comments on homosexuality. Why does this blog draw so many nasty and ill-meaning people? If gthis is a represenative sampling of Catholic mentality, then I consider myself well out of it.



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pagansister

posted March 16, 2010 at 8:24 pm


LeoH: I don’t dispise any religion, not even the RCC. Do I give my honest opinion, yes. If I did dispise the Catholic church would I have spent 10 years teaching in one? No. As to the RCC rescuing the Romans, I’m sure they appreciated it. No religion is any better than another. Christianity in all it’s versions isn’t any better than the Jewish faith, or the Muslim faith, or Hindus, or Buddhists etc. As much as the RCC would like to think they are THE church, well, everyone thinks their faith is the best (usually, or they wouldn’t belong). Wish that the RCC wasn’t having so much nasty publicity, but they did bring it on themselves. The rules of secrecy and follow the rules finally has brought it to it’s knees. Talk about the Roman Empire having a problem….look what happened to them…you all supposedly rescued them from what I don’t know. If the pope can get you all out of this, hopefully the church will be able to restore itself to more nobility, and will have learned that passing on criminals in it’s midst isn’t the way to run things.
BTW: Don’t weep for me, Leo. I am incredibly happy where I am in life and with my life. Have a Blessed day (or night).



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Cliffy H

posted March 28, 2010 at 7:22 pm


My research has found that there is NO causal link between celibacy and child sexual abuse.
In fact, heterosexual, celibate priests commit abuse much less than other professions that involve contact with children (school teachers, coaches, therapists, etc.).
My research also shows that homosexual priests commit child sexual abuse at about the same rate as school teachers in general.
I did this research so that I could put a lot of these questions to rest. However, this does not mean the Catholic bishops are less culpable — indeed, they should still be held accountable for trying to sweep even one case of child sexual abuse under the rug.
I encourage you to see my blog post on this topic.



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Patrick

posted March 30, 2010 at 10:16 pm


Interest groups have been trying to do away with celibacy for a long time. Now they use the unfortunate scandals to bolster the agenda. Celibacy doesn’t cause pedophilia. That’s an absurd and overly-simplistic idea.
If we really wanted to do away with such scandals then we wouldn’t waste our time on scapegoats such as celibacy.



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Hypocrite

posted April 3, 2010 at 6:19 pm


Well, actually he was pointing out personality and sexual development linked to celibacy as a possible culprit, not celibacy itself. I think he has in mind the virtual abduction of young teenage boys to seminaries back in the day, where they had no contact with members of the opposite sex for at least a decade. Their sexual development had nothing but an all male environment, and either became homosexual or became fixated at a young age (hence, the sexual attraction to youths).
I think the worst paedophiles, however, like Geoghan, may have targeted the priesthood as a promising avenue for victims. These are the types who abused dozens and dozens of boys. They like to target positions that have access to children, such as sports coaches and ministerial positions. Sick bastards. (I don’t know that Geoghan targeted the priesthood in this way, but he is the example of the serial assaulter who might have done that).



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P St

posted May 2, 2012 at 9:43 am


Celibacy does not a pedophile make. Pedophilia is something those men have. They don’t have, and are not celibate.



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