The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Screening seminarians: “When was the last time you had sex?” — UPDATED

posted by jmcgee

That’s just one of the cringe-inducing questions that potential seminarians now have to answer, as part of the vetting process. And the New York Times takes a look at what that process entails in 2010:

Every job interview has its awkward moments, but in recent years, the standard interview for men seeking a life in the Roman Catholic priesthood has made the awkward moment a requirement.

“When was the last time you had sex?” all candidates for the seminary are asked. (The preferred answer: not for three years or more.)

“What kind of sexual experiences have you had?” is another common question. “Do you like pornography?”

Depending on the replies, and the results of standardized psychological tests, the interview may proceed into deeper waters: “Do you like children?” and “Do you like children more than you like people your own age?”

It is part of a soul-baring obstacle course prospective seminarians are forced to run in the aftermath of a sexual abuse crisis that church leaders have decided to confront, in part, by scrubbing their academies of potential molesters, according to church officials and psychologists who screen candidates in New York and the rest of the country.

But many of the questions are also aimed at another, equally sensitive mission: deciding whether gay applicants should be denied admission under complex recent guidelines from the Vatican that do not explicitly bar all gay candidates but would exclude most of them, even some who are celibate.

Scientific studies have found no link between sexual orientation and abuse, and the church is careful to describe its two initiatives as more or less separate. One top adviser to American seminaries characterized them as “two circles that might overlap here and there.”

Still, since the abuse crisis erupted in 2002, curtailing the entry of gay men into the priesthood has become one the church’s highest priorities. And that task has fallen to seminary directors and a cadre of psychologists who say that culling candidates has become an arduous process of testing, interviewing and making decisions — based on social science, church dogma and gut instinct.

“The best way I can put it, it’s not black and white,” said the adviser, the Rev. David Toups, the director of the secretariat of clergy, consecrated life and vocations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “It’s more like one of those things where it’s hard to define, but ‘I know it when I see it.’ ”

Many church officials have been reluctant to discuss the screening process, and its details differ from diocese to diocese. In the densely populated Diocese of Brooklyn, officials are confident of their results in one respect.

“We have no gay men in our seminary at this time,” said Dr. Robert Palumbo, a psychologist who has screened seminary candidates at the diocese’s Cathedral Seminary Residence in Douglaston, Queens, for 10 years. “I’m pretty sure of it.” Whether that reflects rigorous vetting or the reluctance of gay men to apply, he could not say. “I’m just reporting what is,” he said.

A footnote: Dr. Palumbo also screens candidates for the diaconate, and interviewed me and my classmates several years ago. 

Check out much more at the link.

UPDATE: Fr. James Martin offers his thoughts on the Times article — and is decidedly unimpressed.



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Dante

posted May 31, 2010 at 9:22 am


Hmmm, how does the person’s church-sanctioned right (highly regarded) to not be required to reveal one’s conscience outside of the Sacrament of Penance dovetail with such pyschological-screening questions? This might also explain why Dr. Palumbo can state that they have no homosexual seminarians (that he is aware of). It seems to me that a solid standard psychological test with interview by a competent professional could make such conscience-intrusive probing unecessary.



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Gerard Nadal

posted May 31, 2010 at 9:59 am


Deacon Greg,
Doesn’t this violate the seal of confession?
[Gerard: According to this item, no.
Fr. Z notes:
The "Seal" which applies to the confessor does not apply in the same way to the penitent, even if the penitent is a priest. In the case of a cleric overhearing a confession and then revealing the contents, I suppose a penalty might include dismissal from the clerical state. But in general a person can reveal he contents of his own confession and what the priest says.
Dcn. G.]



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Dcn Scott

posted May 31, 2010 at 10:56 am


I guess, “Just last night” would not be the preferred answer.



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Panthera

posted May 31, 2010 at 11:37 am


I am confused.
The Church does not regard being homosexual as sinful.
Research conducted under the auspices of the Church show that sexual orientation is independent of molestation (actually, the research showed that heterosexuals molest more than homosexuals, but the validity of the argument remains intact).
The Vatican does not exclude homosexuals from consecrated service.
Why, then, this pogrom? Would it not be better to focus on the m onsters who prey on children than to engage in yet another witch hunt?
My personal feeling is that this is more a last ditch attempt to swing the Church back to a more conservative time (vorwarts zurück!).
I’ve seen the matter argued by respected Catholics, not just by those of us who are liberal Christians – the conflation of homosexuality, non-Republican politics, abortion and women-are-fully-human, too lies at the root of our culture war.
[Pan...The article indicates that while the church does not explicitly ban homosexuals from religious life, it leaves it up to individual bishops and seminary rectors to determine whether or not someone is an appropriate fit for a life of celibacy, poverty and obedience. "Practicing homosexuals" are a problem -- but then, when you think about it, so are "practicing heterosexuals." Dcn. G.]



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Goodguyex

posted May 31, 2010 at 12:13 pm


Panthera, why be so interested in who can and can not be a Catholic priest. If you are confused I can tell you that you know quite well you will never be one.
So I would not get too exicted about this.
If the Church is raising the bar on homosexuals admitted to the seminary for priesthood study I can not possible see how that should concern you.
If you are truly and really concerned about whether heterosexual priests will sexually abuse minors, I suggest you do not let your children be around heterosexual priests. Simple as that.
Again, if this is REALLY YOUR CONCERN!
Is that hard to understand?



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romancrusader

posted May 31, 2010 at 12:56 pm


The latest data coming out of the Vatican for cases compiled and reported so far that go back about 50 plus years is revealing. Out of the 3000 priests accused during that period (there were a total of about 400,000 priests during that same period) about 60% were pederasts (inappropriate sexual contact with male adolescents), 30% were heterosexual in nature, and the remaining 10% were against children. First of all, let’s do the math: it comes out to less than 1% of priests during that period were accused of inappropriate sexual contact and 60% of the cases were homosexual in nature. Less than one-tenth of 1% were pedophile in nature. Why are they still calling this a pedophile scandal and why isn’t it pointed out that those numbers appear to be far below the overall average of pedophilia in the general population and at least as low if not lower than other religious denominations?



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Joseph J Cleary

posted May 31, 2010 at 12:59 pm


Panthera asks in a respectful manner fair pertinent questions that many of us are asking on this matter.
We are not obliged to agree with the Panthera’s conclusions as to this being a witch hunt or a last gasp of reactionaries in the church.
Frankly that answer makes more sense then the ‘alice in wonderland’ statements from the chancery.
Would that the head of the seminary could answer “I am certain that we have attracted well adjusted heathy male seminarians who are comfortable in their own skin and have made a mature decision to enter a vow of a lifetime of celibate lifestyle and serve the people of the church as a Priest. Period.”
I don’t see any value in your ad hominem attack Goodguyex



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romancrusader

posted May 31, 2010 at 1:01 pm


contin….
They are NOT paedophiles. They are homosexual predators. Paedophiles pray upon babies and toddlers and very young children. These homosexual chicken hawks are preying upon young men and adolescent pubescent boys.
These are the reforms the Church has taken:
The Catholic Church has done more to protect children than almost any other organization in the United States. Consider:
Safe Environment training is taking place in 193 dioceses/eparchies of the country. Over 2 million adults have been trained to recognize the behavior of offenders and what to do about it.
Background checks are conducted on Church personnel who have contact with children. Over 2 million volunteers and employees; 52,000 clerics; 6,205 candidates for ordination have had their backgrounds evaluated.
All dioceses/eparchies have Codes of Conduct spelling out what is acceptable behavior. This serves to let people know what can and cannot be done as well as letting others know what behavior can be expected. It encourages the reporting of suspicious behavior.
All dioceses/eparchies have Victim Assistance Coordinators, assuring victims that they will be heard. In 2009, $6,536,109 was spent on therapy for the victims of clergy sexual abuse.
All dioceses/eparchies have Safe Environment Coordinators who assure the ongoing
compliance to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Bishops are meeting with victims.
Dioceses/eparchies have Healing Masses, retreats for victim/survivors and other
reconciliation events.
There is a Zero Tolerance policy on abusers since 2002. If a credible accusation is made against a cleric, they are permanently removed from ministry regardless of how long ago the offense occurred.
Dioceses/eparchies require intensive background screening as well as psychological
testing for those wishing to enter the seminary.
The Catholic Church has worked hard to protect children. Much has done but more needs to be done. Until child sexual abuse is no longer a part of society, the Church will continue its efforts to stop it.



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Gerard Nadal

posted May 31, 2010 at 1:13 pm


Deacon Greg,
It doesn’t happen often that I have a complete experience of cognitive dissonance regarding Church discipline, but this is one of those truly bewildering moments for me.
The issue is not at all about sex. Sex just happens to be the subject of the seminary’s inquiry here.
The issue is the seal.
It has always been my understanding that the seal is in place to protect the penitent from his/her sins seeing the light of day, especially after having been absolved. The particular priest who does the absolving is really of no consequence, as he stands in for Jesus in the action. He is a member of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ.
I find it a grotesque mockery of the sacrament and the seal for one member of that priesthood to be bound by silence, while a committee of other members of that priesthood could be permitted to compel the penitent to divulge what has always been protected and privileged information.
Now as regards impediments to ordination, that’s easily dealt with by having the candidate sign a letter listing the impediments, and stating that they are free of any. This would not have the effect of isolating a particular sin that has been confessed.
That said, the line of questioning in the post doesn’t even rise to the level of canonical impediment.
Have I been laboring under an incomplete theological/canonical understanding of the sacramental seal, or has the Church entered into a gray and nebulous zone?



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Panthera

posted May 31, 2010 at 1:50 pm


Gerard,
I agree with you 100%.
Deacon Kandra,
thank you. I am trying very hard to restrain my feline nature here.
Goodguyex,
I strongly urge you to direct your complaint that Deacon Kandra permits homosexuals to participate in these discussion to him rather than to bring the art of ad hominae attack to a new low (high?). No, I shall never be a priest. I lack the compassion and common sense characteristic of the vast majority of Catholic priests whom I have met.
Joseph J. Cleary, I think you have hit the nail on the head. This horrible situation has been exploited by both sides in the culture wars to gain points.
Romancrusader, in my country, it is legally defined as pedophilia and statutory rape unless the child is 16 or in the case of a ‘person of authority’ and a child under the age of 18, in which it is statutory rape. You are intentionally misusing diagnostic tools (which are not universally recognized, and were certainly never meant for this purpose) to try to paint homosexuals as the problem.
The analog would be for me to say that heterosexual priests are the problem because of all the young girls past menarche who have been abused and raped. I don’t, because the argument would be as false as yours.



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romancrusader

posted May 31, 2010 at 2:12 pm


Pan,
This article disagrees with your analysis.
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/sep/09092910.html
“GENEVA, September 29, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church in the US and abroad was a matter of homosexuals preying on adolescent boys, not one of pedophilia, said the Vatican’s representative at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland. It is ‘more correct,’ said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, to speak of ephebophilia, a homosexual attraction to adolescent males, than pedophilia, in relation to the scandals.”
“‘Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90 per cent belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17,’ said Tomasi. His statement is backed up by a report commissioned by the US bishops that found that in the overwhelming majority of cases the clergy involved were homosexuals, with 81 percent of victims being adolescent males.”
“Tomasi also responded to criticisms, saying that while the Catholic Church has been ‘busy cleaning its own house, it would be good if other institutions and authorities, where the major part of abuses are reported, could do the same and inform the media about it.’ According to information from various sources, the problem of sexual abuse of minors in religious organizations is widespread among Protestant churches and Jewish communities.”



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BobRN

posted May 31, 2010 at 3:24 pm


While the Church does not regard being homosexual as sinful, she does regard it as disordered. Thus, it would seem the Church regards homosexual orientation and sexual health as mutually exclusive. Given that worldview, it makes sense that the Church is not interested in ordaining homosexuals to the priesthood.
None of the questions given as examples in the article pertain specifically or exclusively to homosexual orientation or activity. The article says “other questions” do, but doesn’t give any examples. While the focus of the article is on whether or not the Church wants to accept homosexuals into the priesthood, it goes without saying that the Church is obviously hoping to close the seminary doors to heterosexuals who are not sexually healthy. Unhealthy habits of pornography, masturbation, multiple sexual partners, sexual and/or emotional immaturity, etc… are all grounds for rejecting men for the seminary, regardless of their sexual orientation.
I’m no expert, but I don’t see a conflict with the seal of confession or respect for the individual’s conscience. The Church is not dragging these men in and demanding they answer such personal questions. These men are presenting themselves to the Church of their own volition for a position of highest trust and integrity. If they don’t want to answer the questions, they can remove themselves from consideration. Psychological tests by professional therapists have been employed for decades and proved themselves ineffective, at least in isolation, in keeping out candidates that were less than upstanding. A large part of the remarkable reduction in the numbers of new cases of abuse by priests in recent decades is directly related to the reforms of the seminaries, first initiated by Pope John Paul II in the late 70s, early 80s. If this is what needs to be done to protect both our children and the priesthood from those who would sully either, I say go for it with gusto.



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Gerard Nadal

posted May 31, 2010 at 6:54 pm


Bob,
I get your points, but it’s kinda like gun control laws. he only ones who obey them are the non-criminals. Those of nefarious intent will simply lie.
Therefore, I do see the seal being violated as a precondition for Holy Orders, and for what good purpose? It’s the same men whose judgement led to the pedophiles being ordained in the first place. So will there be an overreaction to normal men with normal drives?
If psychological testing failed to pick up any aberrations, a simple lie easily circumvents the screening as well.
Beyond that, it’s the principle that I’m after here. I simply do not see how the priest-confessor can be held to the seal, but a committee of priests can demand its abrogation. It’s more than illogical. It’s dangerous in its potential to then be used in marriage tribunals with annulment, marriage preparation in the pre-marital investigation (PMI), employment screening…
One bad decision in a desperate case makes for very bad precedent. We already have a problem with Catholics not availing themselves of the sacrament. So now we’ll have committees of priests demanding knowledge of confessional material to be used in a prejudicial manner. That should draw the people back in droves.
I don’t think anyone has thought this one through.



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Panthera

posted May 31, 2010 at 7:28 pm


Aber nicht, doch, Gerard – they have thought it through and don’t give a damn.
You are running into exactly the mentality which drives me and other Christians crazy when trying to deal with those of a fundamentalist bent.
Good luck – I confess to a wee bit of Schadenfreude, forgive me, please.
Romancrusader,
Citing Archbishop Silvano Tomasi to prove a point, any point, is just about the best way to lose an argument I can think of.
Are you truly incapable of listening to anyone within the Church (or apart from her) who embraces post-enlightenment thought?
Bobrn,
You would have felt quite at home in colonial Salem – through ‘em into the water with their hands bound. Let God sort them out.



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Conservative

posted May 31, 2010 at 7:57 pm


After all the hysterics on clergy sexual abuse now we are parsing whether candidates should be screened and how the screening should take place. Do we want to screen out undersirable candidates or not??????? This is bizarre.



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Joseph J Cleary

posted May 31, 2010 at 11:07 pm


Deacon Greg–
It is good to know the diaconate process includes an assessment to insure they attract well adjusted mature deacons too.
Still it begs the question – do they ask also the question in the lead of the married diaconate candidates?
If so, I sure do hope they have a different preferred answer ! :)
have a good week! Joe



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BobRN

posted May 31, 2010 at 11:57 pm


Well, Gerard, I suppose we’ll simply have to disagree on this one. We see it differently.
First of all, the vast majority of those accused and found guilty of abuse were ordained from 1960 – 1980. I doubt many of the men who made decisions about who was and who was not accepted into seminary 30+ years ago are the ones making those decisions today. Again, if you look at the crop of priests ordained in the U. S. since 1985, the number of accusations against these men is considerably lower. So, something must be working. I know that progress in this matter is defined differently be different people. I’ve said before that, for me, progress comes down to fewer (hey, how ’bout none?) children being abused by priests. Based on that measure, the reform of the U. S. seminaries initiated by JPII has been a remarkable success. Let’s not make the mistake of concluding that, because the NYT article just came out, these screening strategies are new. For many diocese, they’re not. Again, based on the numbers of accusations against men ordained since the mid-80s, I would say the screening strategies are working, and offer a great big “Thanks be to God” for it. As well, about ten or so years ago, the number of men entering seminary stopped declining and has been on a fairly steady increase, so it doesn’t seem to me that those men who truly feel called to the priesthood are being turned off by these screening questions. But, if any are, I’m way okay with that. I recall being on the committee seeking to hire a part-time organist for our parish. One of the conditions was a willingness to sign a statement promising that he or she would never place themselves in a compromising position with a minor. One man we interviewed refused. Okay. I can respect that. No problem. We certainly won’t demand that you sign it. Thank you for your time. Bye!
You ask if there will be an overreaction to normal men with normal drives. I have no idea what an overreaction of such would look like, but I certainly do hope the answer to that question is “yes.”
The current screening processes seem to employ a variety of strategies, rather than simply relying on psychological testing. While not foolproof, again, the results suggest strongly that something is working.
There is no committee of priests demanding the abrogation of the confessional seal, as I see it. Again, these men are applying of their own volition to the office of highest trust and integrity within the Church. They’re asking the Church to consider them as among those who are worthy to stand before the people of God as another Christ. They know what’s involved in the process before they enter into it and, unless they’ve had their heads stuck in a hole over the last decade, they know why. If they don’t want to answer the questions, there’s no obligation to continue with the process. It’s not like they’re being denied a right they have within the Church. No one has a right to be accepted into seminary, much less a right to be ordained. After all, it’s not simply a matter of protecting the consciences of applicants (not yet candidates), but of protecting the dignity and integrity of the priesthood. We can’t eat our cake and have it, too. If we want to protect our children and the priesthood, we must be willing to adopt a screening process that takes seriously the potential for these men to be a great blessing to others, or another’s worst nightmare. Sorry, if you’re asking the Church to put you in that place, then answer the questions, or please move on.
Well, today is the end of Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer. That means it’s adios for me, as I begin my summer hiatus of all blogs everywhere. God bless and keep you all! See ya’ after Labor Day!



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romancrusader

posted June 1, 2010 at 8:37 am


Pan,
Since when are you the authority on sex abuse? That’s what I thought. Fact: Sex Abuse in Catholic Church was a Homosexual Problem. And that lifesitenews article was dead on the mark. You are no expert on Catholic Church discipline so don’t pretend to be.



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Panthera

posted June 1, 2010 at 9:14 am


Romancrusader,
Sometimes, I just read your posts and smile. Other times, I read your posts and shudder.
You do realize, don’t you, that the abuse of girls and boys arose from exactly the same mentality as you are blindly advancing?
I can understand that you reject any post-enlightenment thinker. I can understand that a Christian who is not a Catholic like me is outside the narrowly defined set of people whom you are willing to listen to.
What I do not understand is how you can so blithely reject the arguments which so very many respected, conservative Catholics are bringing forward which totally repudiate this concept of yours that ‘teh gayz’ are guilty for everything.
I think you ought to re-read Deacon Kandra’s postings on this matter as well as the official position of the Vatican and not just that of Bishoprics which, in early times, would have been swiftly brought to heel for their incorrect views.



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romancrusader

posted June 1, 2010 at 9:33 am


Pan,
Why exactly are you even commenting on Catholic matters when you aren’t even Catholic? You haven’t been on Catholic forums enough have you?
Fact: straight men are NOT turned-on by other males. Period. They just are not.
And you also need to understand that again, it’s not pedophilia, but its hebephile or ephebophile. Sexual attraction to underage but post-pubescent adolescents.
It amazes me how you can’t even get your facts straight. Straight men do not wake-up one day and say “ooh, that man over their sure looks great, or ooh that teenage high school guy looks great.” For the vast majority of males, sexual atraction is set in near concrete and is very close to unmovable. Those are facts that must be considered in all this.
This has puzzled me from the outset. The abuse was primarily homosexual predation upon young boys, and yet this is hardly ever mentioned. We’ve never seen headlines about a pederasty crisis or a homosexual molestation crisis. Even the Virtus training plays down the actual numbers or never mentions them, ignoring the elephant in the room.



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Frank Hannon

posted June 1, 2010 at 9:43 am


The John Jay study found that more than 80% of the abuse cases considered were clinically homosexual in nature.
The power of the gay rights lobby makes that a huge political problem, of course, and so Karen Terry, one of the main John Jay researchers, suggested to a USCCB assembly that “It’s important to separate the sexual identity and the behavior. Someone can commit sexual acts that might be of a homosexual nature but not have a homosexual identity.”
This kind of an assertion might tickle the ears of Jesuit liberals like Fr. Martin, but it is preposterous on its face, and reflects a perfect willingness to give the advancement of the gay agenda a higher priority over truly defeating the Church’s sexual abuse scourge.



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Panthera

posted June 1, 2010 at 10:04 am


Romancrusader,
Deacon Kandra has welcomed all to comment here, Catholic or not, Christian or not. If you don’t like that, talk to him. It is not unreasonable to expect you to play by the same rules as everyone else here.
I explained rather carefully that my country legally defines pedophilia differently than does the US. Briefly, any sexual contact between someone over the age of 18 and someone under the age of 16 is considered pedophile. If the m onster committing the abuse is also in a position of authority, then it is statutory rape up to the age of 18 for the abused child.
I could care less about your misuse of labels (which are hardly universally recognized and were never meant to be misused as you do) to try to blame all of this on homosexual orientation.
Pedophilia, whether committed against a child of ones own or the opposite sex is a crime which has nothing to do with orientation. We don’t condemn all heterosexual men for the crime of rape – a far more prevalent crime.
As both the Deacon and the Vatican have repeatedly stated, this is not a question of sexual orientation, it is a problem which needs must be addressed on an individual level.
Now, I have a question for you. Across all the blogs, threads and comments on this hideous situation over the last months, you have never once to my recollection acknowledged the attacks on girls nor yet the pregnancies (and forced abortions) resulting therefrom.
How very strange. Surely, this would not be due to political reasoning? Or, are girls simply of lesser value to you qua females versus males?



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romancrusader

posted June 1, 2010 at 10:15 am


“Deacon Kandra has welcomed all to comment here, Catholic or not, Christian or not. If you don’t like that, talk to him. It is not unreasonable to expect you to play by the same rules as everyone else here.”
Because your posts are very anti-Catholic and it’s quite annoying that you frequently bash the Church continually?
“Surely, this would not be due to political reasoning? Or, are girls simply of lesser value to you qua females versus males?”
http://www.usccb.org/nrb/johnjaystudy/
Gender of Alleged Victim
Male 8,499 80.9%
Female 2,004 19.1%
Transexual 2 .0%
Total 10,505 100.0%



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Gerard Nadal

posted June 1, 2010 at 11:38 am


Panthera,
The great regard I have for you has everything to do with everything about your life and character outside of your sexual orientation. I trust that you understand that to be the higher road.
That said, it simply strains credulity to suggest that the men who molested boys were heterosexuals trapped into the same dynamics as heterosexuals in prison. “Situationally Homosexual” as it is euphemistically called.
Priests have more freedom, more women surrounding them, hitting on them, flirting with them than you can possible imagine. For a priest who is interested in satisfying his heterosexual drives, a parish environment offers every opportunity to do so. Heterosexual men don’t get their thrills with other men or little boys.
These men were gay, practicing the sort of seduction and predation that was practiced on them as boys. That is a very large and serious issue in the homosexual community at large. I know few gay men who weren’t seduced as boys. We’ve been down this road before in our discussions, but the gay community has its own work cut out for it where this is concerned.
However, the “situationally gay” priest ranks in the same category as elfs, unicorns and other mythical creatures. Its repeated invocation is a repeated denial that only strengthens suspicions of a group trying to dodge any culpability for this monumental crime. The cracks in your argument’s foundations are widening. The truth is so obvious that you seriously lose credibility in its denial.
God Bless.



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pagansister

posted June 1, 2010 at 1:18 pm


Right off the bat, my thought was…even for this position, who’s business is it anyway? If the guy (since no girls are allowed) have decided this is what they what they want to do, they know that no sex after ordination (or during training too, I guess) will or is allowed. Some will make it…some won’t.



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pagansister

posted June 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm


romancrusader:
You asked one of the posters why he comments on Catholic matters if he isn’t Catholic. Why shouldn’t he? Why does any non Catholic comment on these forms? Because we have an interest in what is being discussed. That’s simple, huh?
Also child molestation should be a concern of everyone…not just Catholics. The fact that much of the current focus has been on those in the RCC being responsible for that molestation (no matter what their secxual orientation!!) also draws comments from us “non-Catholics” shouldn’t be a surprise. If asking a potential seminary student when he last had sex helps (even though it really is none of their business, as I mentioned above) helps weed out possible problems in the future, so be it.



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romancrusader

posted June 1, 2010 at 11:48 pm


Paganister,
I can’t let ignoramous posts go unchallenged. That’s why I try to correct these people. Sounds like you’re fighting off the urge to become Catholic.
“If asking a potential seminary student when he last had sex helps (even though it really is none of their business, as I mentioned above) helps weed out possible problems in the future, so be it.”
It’s their right Paganister.



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Panthera

posted June 1, 2010 at 11:49 pm


Gerard,
I hold you in the highest regard as well. No, I don’t agree with your position on torture, but people who live in glass houses daren’t throw rocks.
I have never endorsed ‘situational homosexuality’ because I simply don’t believe in it.
Our differences here arise from different definitions – you know my background includes a fair amount of work in the field of abnormal psychology (much more useful for teaching than any education course I ever took). I live in a country which defines pedophilia radically differently (more strenuously) than does the US and, whereas your exposure to gays was under the most painful circumstances (and God knows of the good work you have done), I find no supporting data for your position in my culture or, indeed, anywhere in Western Europe.
Prize for longest run-on sentence? Sorry – long day and I still have to get back to you on your statistics.
Take care, I hope all in your family are well. Have you read any of the current studies on post-traumatic-stress treatment? Strikes me there are some overlaps with autism.



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cathyf

posted June 2, 2010 at 12:51 am


romancrusader, you explicitly linked to, and Archbishop Tomasi alluded to, the John Jay Study. Logically, I must conclude that one or more of four things must be true about both you and Archbishop Tomasi:
1) can’t read
2) didn’t read it
3) can’t do math
4) is a pervert
Here are the age buckets from part 4.3 Characteristics of children who alleged sexual abuse by Catholic priests
age count
1: 4
2: 11
3: 22
4: 41
5: 82
6: 158
7: 220
8: 369
9: 362
10: 752
11: 895
12: 1,323
13: 1,141
14: 1,188
15: 1,042
16: 769
17: 577
total: 8956
Now, in charity, I choose to presume that neither romancrusader nor Tomasi has any particular failing beyond the inability to do math. But just as a friendly piece of advice, romancrusader, when those of us who ARE able to do math read your vigorous assertions that adults having sex with 12-year-olds (the freaking mode of the freaking distribution!!!) is not pedophilia, our immediate visceral reaction is that you are a pervert! Maybe when you find yourself agreeing with the raison d’etre of NAMBLA it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate your position.
To make things even more stark, batch the victims by their function in 20th-century American life:
grade3&below: 14.17%
grades4-8: 59.17%
highSchool: 26.66%
Just under 3/4 of all victims were junior-high-aged or below. (Does anyone else notice the very strong correlation between altar boy demographics and victim demographics, both age and gender?) Of the boys, we are talking about victims who don’t shave, don’t need to use deodorant, sing either soprano or alto, have high-pitched giggles, think girls have cooties. On Disney and Nick the 4th-8th grade boys are hypersexualized teenagers, but real 10-14 year olds are quite surely not.



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praesta

posted June 2, 2010 at 1:00 am


I don’t care what questions the psych teams ask. I do wonder if the examiners have all their legal bases covered. Any employer that asked these questions of their job candidates would almost immediately find themselves in a civil lawsuit. Do potential seminarians sign a release before the psych exam?



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cathyf

posted June 2, 2010 at 1:24 am


BobRN, if you look at the demographics of the priest-perps in the John Jay report, it’s not that the majority came from the classes in the 60’s and 70’s
1890-1919 33
1920-1929 79
1930-1939 245
1940-1949 501
1950-1959 931
1960-1969 1,021
1970-1979 791
1980-1989 339
1990-2002 94
If anything, I would characterize the perps’ “formative experiences” not as being what era they were in the seminary — the two largest cohorts were men whose formation was mostly or totally before vatican II, and there was a large group afterwards as well. As someone who lived through the period, I would characterize these priests ordained from 1940-1980 as the “Chinese boys.” Everyone knows about China’s one-child rule, and how it has caused 100 million Chinese girls to be killed through abortion and infanticide. And also created 2 generations of obnoxiously spoiled brat boys grown up or growing up to be obnoxiously spoiled brat men. (100 million of whom have no hope of marrying…)
In the 70s and 80s, as the seminaries were empty, and priests were resigning from the priesthood by the tens of thousands, the coming demographic train wreck was obvious. In the 40s and 50s there were so many priests that the newly-ordained sometimes didn’t get assignments, while in the 70s and 80s people were so desperate to keep priests that they tolerated all sorts of obnoxious behavior. Or another analogy — NYC used to be nasty because of everything from the squeegee guys to the winos to the gangbangers. When they started arresting people for the obnoxious misdemeanors, the more serious crime also dropped. I would argue that the same thing was going on in a lot of parishes — people became more tolerant of priests who were bullies, or lazy, or who spent parish monies on lavish things for themselves. And just like tolerating squeegee men got you more murders, weakening the public disapproval for venialities in our priests got us heinous behavior in a small group who couldn’t handle the temptations of acting with impunity.



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Goodguyex

posted June 2, 2010 at 5:32 am


It is a mainly a homosexual problem, but more specifically it is an emotionally immature homosexual problem.
The true pediphiles are a tiny number and percentage, but regarding priests they made a disproportionate number of victims. The typical perp “abused” one or at most 2 teen aged boys who are themselves homosexuals. A good example of this dramatized in the movie “Doubt” starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep. If I were at the age of the proposed “victim” and one of his peers I would not consider him a victim, but a willing toy boy catamite. This stuff is becoming more mainstream in our society and it goes all the way back to Socrates. As I mentioned this type of case represents about 50-55% of the priests accused, but a lower percentage of victims are characterized by such an example.
Most homosexual men do not go after teen boys, but a lot of the less developed perps do, especially the less developed perps.
There is another reason to question or limit homosexual admittance to the seminary, and this involves the idea that the priesthood is a sign of sacrifice. The heterosexual man forfits wife, family, and children. The homosexual man does not make this social sacrifice.



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pagansister

posted June 2, 2010 at 7:37 pm


romancrusader: Believe me when I tell you I’m most certainly NOT fighting the urge to be Catholic. I spent 10 years teaching in a Catholic school (as I have mentioned before), which included Mass every month etc. While I find the rituals etc. beautiful, I have too many problems with how the church is run and many other things…too numerous to mention. Also one fundamental problem…my lack of belief in God. That puts a crimp in things.



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Brad

posted June 23, 2010 at 8:26 pm


Pagansister, I think one Mass per month is the root of your problem :-) What if we only brushed our teeth once a month? We’d develop all kinds of mental issues with “teeth brushing”.



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Andre John

posted August 18, 2010 at 10:33 pm


I was confused b4 bcoz of the clergy sex scandal…
but now I realize:
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, we give ourselves.
Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/deaconsbench/2010/08/lost-and-found-man-reconciles-with-church-after-80-years.html#ixzz0x6osJVjm
“C.O.U.R.A.G.E.” is still a virtue we need to practice everyday for the rest of our lives. “S.N.A.P.” out of the darkness and into the light of Christ, people of Los Angeles, will the real Christians, PLEASE STAND UP for the truth and true love.
Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/deaconsbench/2010/08/mark-wahlberg-i-love-golf-and-i-love-church_comments.html#ixzz0x6pU7aa1



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Peter Implant Dentist Philadelphia

posted February 17, 2011 at 10:08 pm


To pagansister:
Lack of belief in God is a serious a serious case. I myself an implant dentist should keep the faith and believe in him that way I have the persuasive power and well to do with my profession.



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