05Dec

We need to focus on chastity in regard to abuse

The abuse crisis reared its putrid head again this year and I am concerned lessons have not been learnt regarding how it is dealt with. The latest scandal began with a revelation that Cardinal McCarrick, ironically once in charge of dealing with abuse in America, was himself a serial abuser. He has since stepped down from public office but seems to be enjoying a pleasant retirement rather than being disciplined, punished and defrocked. That he remains an Archbishop is damning proof that bishops seem unable or unwilling to discipline their own.  A large part of the problem. To whom are they accountable?

It is a serious question because the ultimate authority, Pope Francis, despite many strengths, has a shocking record when it comes to handling abuse. And sadly he has this past year broken several golden rules of child protection policy. He has stonewalled complainers, refused to answer credible allegations, attacked victims of abuse in Chile (later apologising) and sent investigators after the whistleblower, Archbishop Vigano, rather than the abusers. This despite the fact that Vigano was a cleric in good standing whose reputation was never questioned before he came forward. That he is now in hiding is appalling. Such methods of dealing with abuse and speaking out on abuse belong to a bygone era and are causing serious damage. I know many clergy and laity who are both angry and demoralised at present.

Now factor in that several of Pope Francis’ close advisors are themselves linked to scandals involving corruption and homosexual sins, see here and it begins to look  worse. The lamentable impression then given shifts from mere incompetence to possible collusion. A feeling exacerbated when Cardinal Cupich was recently named leader of a summit to deal with abuse. Many are outraged by this appointment because Cupich is the protege of disgraced McCarrick and an outspoken supporter of the LGBT agenda. Can you imagine the outrage if a BBC investigation into abuse was placed in the hands of somebody elevated by Saville? How tone deaf can you be? Of course Cupich may be innocent of crimes but his links to those disgraced make him a woeful choice for engendering trust.

It has led many to ask if Pope Francis obfuscates deliberately? Some say he isn’t himself involved but is affected because he rose to power with the backing of the ‘lavender mob’ at the heart of the crisis. That is the claim of the book ‘Dictator Pope’. Others suggest Pope Benedict and Mueller were forced out by the lobby and that Francis protects them. I have no idea if such rumours hold truth, I hope not, but they certainly appear ever more credible each time sexual abuse allegations are downplayed and those mired in controversy and scandal are handed positions of influence. This week, to be fair, Pope Francis did finally acknowledge the homosexual aspect of the present crisis and stated ordination should be closed to those who struggle with sexuality. But such words lack force when his actions seem to contradict them. Let us hope he is waking up to the full implications and not just offering some plausible deniability for the audit trail. Time will tell and history will judge.

His denouncing of homosexuality whole-scale leads to a second problem. One centring on ideology. Put bluntly many, including Cupich, do acknowledge the abuse problem but get irate, and even shutdown debate, when homosexuality is cited as a major cause of it. Here let me make two important points. First sex abuse is not predominantly homosexual within the outside world. However it is within the church. Secondly, just as we differentiate between healthy and unhealthy heterosexuals, swingers are less socially acceptable than married folk, so we should be mature enough to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy homosexual behaviours. To criticise a particular homosexual abusive subculture is not to criticise all homosexuals. But such nuance is getting lost at present because LGBT is so very fashionable and people are defensive of any hint of criticism whatsoever.

Understand over 80% of global clerical abuse was not technically paedophilic but involved teenage lads hit on by older men. Understand that of the many cases cited none yet cover numerous other cases of priests hitting on adults, seminarians, other priests, etc. Yet still the denial continues. Some suggest abuse is about power not sex and orientation isn’t a factor. Which any truly heterosexual (probably homosexual) man can laugh off. Others suggest prison mentality sets in because priests only have access to young men. Another farcical claim given that parishes are crammed full of women and most sanctuaries contain female servers. Prisoners have no access to women – priests definitely do. So let us first admit, whether we ourselves are gay or straight, that homosexuality is clearly statistically significant where clerical abuse is concerned. It cannot therefore be ignored.

But having done that let us not veer off into over reaction or witch-hunts. Which is why I am not sure blanket bans on all same sex attracted men is helpful. Maybe it would be productive therefore to switch the focus away from the controversial issue of sexuality and focus instead on the Christian virtue of chastity? It is not helpful to speak of celibacy, since that simply means not being married and many use that to excuse sins, but if attention turned to chastity we might begin to go after the right people.

We could then differentiate between the healthy and chaste priest, who happens to be same sex attracted, and the vile predator whose roving hands are a serious menace. We could note a huge difference, in terms of public damage to the church, between a homosexual cleric who has a close friend but strives for holiness and turns to the confessional in moments of weakness, and one who goes straight from sacristy to gay or straight bar (or seminary) to cruise for sexual conquest. In other words we would find a way to chart a careful course between expecting perfection from imperfect men and covering up what should never be hidden. Indeed such a focus could help the hierarchy find nuance. In short we might start to deal with the mess without getting side-railed by political footballs. I hope the hierarchy come to this realisation sooner rather than later.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

30 thoughts on “We need to focus on chastity in regard to abuse

  1. After what we now know about what the Italian courts have found in respect of Archbishop Vigano’s treatment of his brother, I doubt anybody can still think of him as a shining knight. The question, to me, is why is he still in the priesthood? Indeed the court proceedings may well explain the Pope’s silence in the matter because whatever he might have said could be seen as influencing the trial.

    1. Oh please! Whatever his civil beef with his brother, and he gave a full and helpful explanation about that this week, is totally irrelevant to the matter in hand. What matters is only this – are his allegations true?

    2. “After what we now know …” Exactly what do we KNOW, as opposed to what certain people would like us to know? Much more about this matter has been disclosed by the Archbishop’s counsel, which reveals the whole unpleasant affair in a more balanced light. It is obvious, however, that you are glad of this opportunity to condemn Archbishop Vigano and to exonerate the Bishop of Rome of any culpability.

      “The question, to me, is why is he still in the priesthood?” Talk about hysterical ! Pathetic really …

      1. Apologies for delay in reply. It is a busy time for family visits.

        I have no views on the accuracy or otherwise of Vigano’s abuse allegations because I have no facts on which to take a view. Investigations will, in time, reveal the truth or otherwise of his allegations. But the courts found that he had to repay $2million to his brother, because that was his brother’s share. For me that has diminished his light somewhat. I base my reservations on Luke 16:10. $2million is not a small matter. For now I rest my case.

  2. Don’t agree.
    For me, it raises doubts about him and his reliability. The case revealed something one should not encounter in family relationships let alone in consecrated religious life. He is no shining light. We’ll probably have to agree to disagree.

    1. What would you say if somebody came forward with a credible accusation of abuse in my parish but I refused to take them seriously because they were quarrelling with a sibling in private about an inheritance? It would be wrong on all levels. If we only listen to abuse accusations from perfect people then children will be failed. Sometimes even bad people have truth to tell.

      1. “What would you say if somebody came forward with a credible accusation of abuse in my parish but I refused to take them seriously because they were quarrelling with a sibling in private about an inheritance?”
        Although this is a rhetorical question it raises, in this reader’s mind at least, a couple of queries.
        First, how would you define a “credible accusation”? As someone both trained and professionally engaged in child protection for several decades it is axiomatic that all accusations made by children must be treated as credible, the appropriate actions taken with despatch – informing the police and social services etc. If people to whom children initially disclose take it upon themselves to judge the plausibility of the disclosure the child is immediately compromised. Yes, the disclosure may later prove to be maliciously founded or a fantasy and the lengthy investigations that follow are always emotionally bruising for all concerned – but better that than abuse being missed or ignored. Report the alleged abuse and leave the appropriate professionals to deal with it.
        Second, a question: if a parishioner or fellow priest were to confess to paedophiliac acts to you within the confines of the confessional what would you then do? I ask you this not to impart discomfort but to raise the question whether to some measure the non-reporting of abuse is due to the confidentiality of the confessional. Predatory paedophiles are cunning and devious – how else could so many go undetected for decades? It is not hard to imagine a paedophile priest sensing imminent exposure confessing to his bishop and thus compromising the person charged with dealing with him when the accusation is eventually made. What works for once will work for many. These things get around.
        When a new client asks a counsellor about confidentiality he or she will probably say something on the lines of “I will keep everything you say confidential unless you tell me something that causes me to believe you pose a threat to the safety of yourself or others”. There is no such caveat in the confessional. No wonder then that so many offending priests got “moved on”.
        I wonder if it is not the case that unless or until this issue is addressed it is truly possible to talk about Catholic child protection procedures without entering the realms of the oxymoron.

  3. I’d say that you’d have to be very sure of your ground and be aware of the accuser’s background. All I’m really saying is that you would have to be very careful, do your investigation, get the evidence and then act. You’d also have to make sure you have a strong enough case for the civil authority to proceed. There is such a thing as ‘displacement activity’, a favourite of politicians. To me this guy’s treatment of his brother leaves a question mark.

    1. What possible question mark. Have you read his own explanation rather than the defamatory comments of those who are, simply, angry with him? What possible influence does a private matter with his brother regarding a will have to do with his claims of trouble in the Vatican? Explain because, to my mind, this is just an attempt to weaken his voice because you are uncomfortable with where it leads. Ultimately one question is pertinent here. Did PF knowingly rehabilitate McCarrick despite his appalling double life?

  4. Your exchange here, Father Ed and Pat, touches on a difficult issue: the extent to which our evaluation of the value of what an individual says or writes should be influenced by our opinion of that individual’s moral character. One does not surely have to regard someone as “a shining knight”, to use your words Pat, in order to take an allegation they have made seriously. As you have correctly said, Father Ed “even bad people [can] have truth to tell”.

    But on the other hand think about all the human suffering that could have been mitigated if John Paul II, Benedict and Cardinal Bertone had taken seriously and acted properly upon the allegations against Marcial Maciel. But instead, Bertone chose to make a positive evaluation of Maciel’s written words, writing a glowing preface to Maciels’ book “Christ is my Life”. Even after the Vatican eventually denounced Maciel, the book’s publisher, John Barger, defended it, saying “in our judgment, [it] contained much wisdom.” Perhaps it did – but interestingly they then completely withdrew the book from publication and sale, demonstrating that a judgement about a writer’s moral character does impact on judgements about that value of that person’s writing.

    Actually for me the spat between Archbishop Viganò and his brother is not the main question mark over his character. For me the bigger mystery is his decision to go into hiding after publishing his letter, and to remain in hiding (unless I am mistaken) three months later. This is very strange behaviour indeed. Can he really have justifiable fears for his personal safety? And if so what does this tell us about his enemies in the church? Can the Vatican really have hit men? Or is Viganò just a coward, hiding behind his written words? I would certainly not be sympathetic to this, as evidenced by the fact that I am one of the very few contributors to your page, Father Ed, who posts under a full name rather than hiding behind a pseudonym.

    But sadly it seems to me that expressing an opinion within the Catholic Church these days is, more than ever, about taking sides, deciding whether your particular “knight in shining armour” is, for example, Bergoglio or Viganò, Bertone or Tobin. And of course those outside the church simply see an organisation pulling itself apart in acrimony, a living embodiment of Matthew 23:33.

    How sad.

  5. “Understand over 80% of global clerical abuse was not technically paedophilic but involved teenage lads hit on by older men.”
    FACT CHECK:
    The “Study on the Sexual Abuse of Minors by Clergy” was commissioned by the German Catholic bishops in 2014. Its findings were published and announced at their conference in Fulda in September of this year:
    • Some 1,670 clerics, mostly priests, were found to have committed sexual abuse between 1946 and 2014 — around 4.4 percent of all serving clerics within that period.
    • There were at least 3,677 individual victims, most of whom were boys, and all were minors.
    • 62.8 per cent of the victims were male and 34.9 per cent female.
    • Of the male victims up to a half were under 13 years old at the time. Over half – 969 – were altar boys
    • One in six incidents related to accusations of rape.
    • Sixty percent of the time, abusive priests escaped punishment.
    • The total number of abuse cases is likely to be far greater. The report’s author has criticized the church for denying him access to other Catholic institutions, such as schools and children’s homes.
    • Many predatory priests were simply moved to other parishes once their crimes were uncovered by the church. Communities were never informed of the priest’s previous crimes.
    A rough calculation indicates that some three hundred under-thirteen year-olds were the victims of rape. In this context your assertions about the nature of the abuse are as inaccurate as they are offensive.

    1. Writing FACT CHECK and then citing a study that did not even consider abuse of post pubescent doesn’t detract from my post. I have never detracted from the terrible suffering of children and women at the hands of wicked clergy. I simply point out that the majority of abuse, now substantiated by Cardinal Muller in a recent interview, is homosexual in nature and perpetrated on seminarians and teenage lads. The same has been seen routinely in America where only last month two priests were arrested performing sex acts on each other in public. All I am driving at is that we will not get to the heart of the problem if we gloss over the unhealthy homosexual subculture within clerical circles.

      1. Re: “a study that did not even consider abuse of post pubescent (sic)”

        The “Study on the Sexual Abuse of Minors by Clergy” investigated the abuse of both pre-pubescent and post-pubescent minors in Germany. That this was the inquiry’s remit is a fact.

        My apologies if this comprehensive and reputable study produced figures that are markedly at variance with the ones you have apparently plucked out of thin air.

        1. I was talking of the global studies covering more than just Germany. But even in Germany the majority of abuse was male on male. Or do you think Cardinal Muller is misinformed when he speaks about it?

          1. Dare I suggest, Father Ed, that it would be honourable if you were to admit that you were just plain wrong when you suggested that Steve was “citing a study that did not even consider abuse of post pubescent…”? The age of majority in Germany (as in the UK) is 18 and the average age of puberty is 11 for girls and 12 for boys, so there are many postpubesecent minors, and as Steve has correctly pointed out, those over the age of puberty are specifically covered in the German report to which he refers: “Sexueller Missbrauch an Minderjährigen durch katholische Priester, Diakone und männliche Ordensangehörige im Bereich der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz”. In fact this report does refer to the age of the victims and, interestingly, the research behind the report found that over half those abused were 13 or younger when the abuse started, suggesting that a considerable amount of clerical abuse has been directed at young people who have not reached puberty.

            There may well be a statistical link between homosexual orientation and clerical sexual abuse. But there is also considerable evidence of a link between clericalism and the perpetration and cover-up of clerical sexual abuse. As Pope Francis wrote (on 20 August 2018) “To say ‘no’ to abuse is to say an emphatic ‘no’ to all forms of clericalism.” And of course one symptom of clericalism is – to refer back to the opening sentence of this comment – the reluctance of a priest to admit that he has made an error.

          2. Give over and stop. Clericalism is not the problem behind priests sexually abusing men and boys. It just isn’t. I could suffer the worst case of clericalism in history and not ever be tempted to have sex with a man because I am ruggedly heterosexual. Here is what Cardinal Muller, until recently head of the CDF and therefore privvy to all the information globally, has had to say. He is German and coming from the exact place that report claims to speak about:

            “More than 80% of the victims of these sexual offenders are teenagers of the male sex. One cannot conclude from this, however, that the majority of the priests are prone to homosexual fornication, but, rather, only that the majority of the offenders have sought out, in their deep disorder of their passions, male victims.”

            “That McCarrick, together with his clan and a homosexual network, was able to wreak havoc in a mafia-like manner in the Church is connected with the underestimation of the moral depravity of homosexual acts among adults.”

            “it is part of the crisis that one does not wish to see the true causes and covers them up with the help of propaganda phrases of the homosexual lobby. Fornication with teenagers and adults is a mortal sin which no power on earth can declare to be morally neutral.”

            “But it could be so that it has pleased them that I am no longer tasked in the Congregation for the Doctrine to deal with sexual crimes especially also against male teenagers.”

  6. Your exchange here, Father Ed and Pat, touches on a difficult issue: the extent to which our evaluation of the value of what an individual says or writes should be influenced by our opinion of that individual’s moral character. One does not surely have to regard someone as “a shining knight”, to use your words Pat, in order to take an allegation they have made seriously. As you have correctly said, Father Ed “even bad people [can] have truth to tell”.

    But on the other hand think about all the human suffering that could have been mitigated if John Paul II, Benedict and Cardinal Bertone had taken seriously and acted properly upon the allegations against Marcial Maciel. But instead, Bertone chose to make a positive evaluation of Maciel’s written words, writing a glowing preface to Maciels’ book “Christ is my Life”. Even after the Vatican eventually denounced Maciel, the book’s publisher, John Barger, defended it, saying “in our judgment, [it] contained much wisdom.” Perhaps it did – but interestingly they then completely withdrew the book from publication and sale, demonstrating that a judgement about a writer’s moral character does impact on judgements about that value of that person’s writing.

    Actually for me the spat between Archbishop Viganò and his brother is not the main question mark over his character. For me the bigger mystery is his decision to go into hiding after publishing his letter, and to remain in hiding (unless I am mistaken) three months later. This is very strange behaviour indeed. Can he really have justifiable fears for his personal safety? And if so what does this tell us about his enemies within the church? Does the Vatican really have hit men? Or is Viganò just a coward, hiding behind his written words? I would certainly not be sympathetic to this, as evidenced by the fact that I am one of the very few contributors to your page, Father Ed, who posts under a full name rather than hiding behind a pseudonym.

    But sadly it seems to me that expressing an opinion within the Catholic Church these days is, more than ever, about taking sides, deciding whether your particular “knight in shining armour” is, for example, Bergoglio or Viganò, Bertone or Tobin. And of course those outside the church simply see an organisation pulling itself apart in acrimony, a living embodiment of Matthew 23:33.

    How sad.

      1. Grow up. The point was made merely to underline the obvious fact that heterosexual men have zero interest in sexual contact with males, a point which was being disputed by those who simply refuse to link the current crisis with a strong cause of it. I wonder why?

        1. Possibly because they believe every word that falls from the mouth of the present Bishop of Rome, ignoring all the evidence that he is an ignorant and partisan man?

          I wonder would anyone else agree with me that Comment Boxes and their like are a social ill? Since I have this view, I should now excuse myself from further contribution.

          1. I think I understand, Michael, the irritation that you express about social media comments, which you describe as a “social ill”. What I find particularly tedious is when someone uses blog comments to make provocative, and often unkind, statements without bothering to provide any evidence at all for what they have asserted. An example of this would be referring to Pope Francis as “an ignorant and partisan man” but failing to back up this claim with any rational argument or references to what others have said or written.

            As will be obvious to anyone reading my comments on Father Ed’s blog, I always seek to back up what I say by citing and reflecting on the thinking of others. In this discussion alone (I mean the responses to “We need to focus on chastity in regard to abuse”) I have referred to the Gospel according to St. Matthew, a book preface written by Cardinal Bertone, an article by Father Thomas Doyle, an article in Angelus News, a report from the Catholic News Service, evidence given to the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and the German report “Sexueller Missbrauch an Minderjährigen durch katholische Priester, Diakone und männliche Ordensangehörige im Bereich der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz”.

            And notwithstanding what I wrote in the first paragraph of this comment, I very much value the opportunity that Father Ed’s blog provides for me to reflect, to deepen my understanding through further reading about a topic and thereby to clarify my thinking on the issues raised in the blog.

            So I will not “excuse myself from further contribution” 🙂

        2. Your readers, Father Ed, will note your assertion that “clericalism is not the problem behind priests sexually abusing men and boys.” They will also note that you have provided no evidence at all for this assertion, At the risk of stating the obvious, saying things like “Give over and stop… It just isn’t…Pull the other one.” does not constitute evidence! I prefer well-referenced rational argument, so here goes:

          The belief that clericalism is associated with both the perpetration and cover-up of abuse is certainly shared by many. To give but a few examples:

          # Natalia Imperatori-Lee, a professor of theology at Manhattan College, told Catholic News Service earlier this year that “there is no doubt that clericalism is at the root of the abuse crisis. Clericalism is isolating and insular – it cuts off the ‘oxygen’ of genuine solidarity and sharing-of-life with laypeople by creating a separate class, even a separate caste, within the Church.”

          # Russell Shaw, writing with reference to McCarrick in Angelus News, said: “Clericalism doesn’t totally account for what happened, but it is an important part of the explanation, and it’s essential that we understand how that was so.”

          But the most cogent argument for the link between clericalism and abuse comes from a man who probably knows far more about abuse than either you or I, Father Ed. Father Tom Doyle was one of the first to identify and campaign against sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. Giving evidence to the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Father Doyle described clericalism as a “virus that has infected the church” whereby “it is believed that the church men, the priests, the bishops, are in some form or way sacred and above ordinary people, and because of this sacredness, because of their importance, they must be held as more important and protected… They used this stature, this belief on the part of people that they were higher beings, often times to seduce, to groom the victims, to lead them in. The victims, they didn’t know what they were getting into. They had no idea. I can’t tell you how many have said ‘We thought it was a tremendous honour that he was picking me out, because he’s a priest He’s on a pedestal because this concept of the institutional church has built that pedestal for him. And it’s easier – the seduction, the grooming takes place and the priest can use that to control the victim, to scare the victim, ‘Don’t you tell anyone about this or God will be angry’.” This last sentence certainly tallies with what victims have said about their abuse.

          Father Doyle has also written about priests and bishops “frozen in a block of clericalist denial”. After reading this blog I think I have a better understanding of what he means by clericalist denial!

          1. Your readers, Father Ed, may wish to note that the aforesaid Father Doyle – quoted infallibly by “Terry Loane” – was perceived by legal observers of the Australian Royal Commission as a not very “solid” witness. His “expert” opinion could have been downloaded from Commonweal or publications of such a particular bias. Nor was there any particular outcome to be had from his “evidence”. In fact, the Royal Commission sought an “expert” witness who was likely to be “hostile” to the Church. They found such a person in Father Doyle.

            Quoting “experts” to prove that clericalism is the problem does not actually constitute a strong argument (particularly when those experts who do not agree are not mentioned).

          2. The Ruth institute, which works with sexual abuse survivors, also just released a damning report showing the clear link between homosexuality and abuse within the clerical cases. All would do well to read it. As another American diocese reveals some 500 priests were accused of abuse- again almost always on boys. https://spark.adobe.com/page/xIVdVcuq9whJL/

        3. To be serious, I don’t think anyone with any sense disputes the fact that the majority of clerical abuse is homosexual.
          A lot of gay men have entered seminaries in a misguided attempt to deal with their sexuality.
          However there are gay priests who are chaste. What needs to happen is not to root out all gay candidates for the priesthood but rather to identify those with authentic vocations which come from God, who presumably can be relied on to select the right candidates.

  7. I cited Cardinal Mueller and provided quotes so how you say I don’t cite sources is beyond me. Yesterday another very senior figure in the church, underlined the connection between homosexuality in the priesthood and the abuse perpetrated claiming you could not sort out the one without sorting the other. Go read his comments here. Is he making it up? How do you explain the fact that most abuse- I mean the vast majority- was male on male? Clericalism? Pull the other one

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/popes-homosexuality-comments-could-encourage-discussion-at-abuse-summit

    anpother article here

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/sex-abuse-crisis-in-us-catholic-church-is-about-homosexuality-not-pedophili

  8. We may argue – heatedly – about statistics and sources but the fact remains that one hundred percent of acts of clerical abuse of minors were committed by clergy upon minors. The cover-ups that enabled the abusers both to escape justice and, frequently, to abuse again were likewise carried out by clerics. The following passage gives the perceptions of the State of Pennsylvania and the FBI as to how and why these cover-ups were so effective:

    ‘The Dioceses:
    This section of the report addresses each diocese individually, through two or more case studies that provide examples of the abuse that occurred and the manner in which diocesan leaders “managed” it. While each church district had its idiosyncrasies, the pattern was pretty much the
    same. The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid “scandal.” That is not our word, but theirs; it appears over and over again in the documents we recovered. Abuse complaints were kept locked up in a “secret archive.” That is not our word, but theirs; the church’s Code of Canon Law
    specifically requires the diocese to maintain such an archive. Only the bishop can have the key.

    The strategies were so common that they were susceptible to behavioral analysis by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. For our benefit, the FBI agreed to assign members of its National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime to review a significant portion of the evidence received by the grand jury. Special agents testified before us that they had identified a series of practices
    that regularly appeared, in various configurations, in the diocesan files they had analyzed. It’s like
    a playbook for concealing the truth:

    First, make sure to use euphemisms rather than real words to describe the sexual assaults in diocese documents. Never say “rape”; say “inappropriate contact” or “boundary issues.”

    Second, don’t conduct genuine investigations with properly trained personnel. Instead, assign fellow clergy members to ask inadequate questions and then make credibility determinations about the colleagues with whom they live and work.

    Third, for an appearance of integrity, send priests for “evaluation” at church -run psychiatric
    treatment centers. Allow these experts to “diagnose” whether the priest was a pedophile, based largely on the priest’s “self -reports,” and regardless of whether the priest had actually engaged in sexual contact with a child.

    Fourth, when a priest does have to be removed, don’t say why. Tell his parishioners that he is on “sick leave,” or suffering from “nervous exhaustion.” Or say nothing at all.

    Fifth, even if a priest is raping children, keep providing him housing and living expenses, although he may be using these resources to facilitate more sexual assaults.

    Sixth, if a predator’s conduct becomes known to the community, don’t remove him from the priesthood to ensure that no more children will be victimized. Instead, transfer him to a new location where no one will know he is a child abuser.

    Finally and above all, don’t tell the police. Child sexual abuse, even short of actual
    penetration, is and has for all relevant times been a crime. But don’t treat it that way; handle it like a personnel matter, “in house.”’

    (40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury REPORT 1 [Pennsylvania, published August 2018])

    Father Ed, you made mention of “global studies” in a previous s comment. I was hitherto unaware of any but do like to keep up-to-date. I would be grateful if you could provide some details, links etc.

    1. I was not speaking of one global study but the fact that each study- from Germany, America, Ireland, Chile, etc etc- all point to a similar story. Young men preyed on by homosexual priests.

  9. This is a reply to Michael’s second comment, dated 19 December. (For some reason the ‘reply’ buttons immediately below this post seems to be missing.)

    First of all Michael, thank you for taking the trouble to reply to my comment. But several things puzzle me about your reply. Firstly, you refer to “Father Doyle – quoted infallibly by Terry Loane”. I am not sure what you are attempting to say here with your use of the word ‘infallibly’, but nowhere in my comment did I even imply that Father Doyle was infallible – I would never suggest that anyone is infallible (including myself:-) What I did say was that Father Doyle “probably knows far more about abuse than either you or I, Father Ed.” And indeed no reasonable person could deny Father Doyle’s expertise on the issue of clerical child abuse. Not only was he just about the first person, back in the 1980s, to identify and acknowledge the scale of the problem, but he has published about a dozen academic texts about sexual abuse and co-written two books on the subject ‘Meeting the Problem of Sexual Abuse Among the Clergy in a Responsible Way’ and ‘Sex, Priests and Secret Codes’. He has also received several awards acknowledging his work in this field, and, by the way, he has a Ph D in theology. (You can read his full CV at https://bit.ly/2T3SIey).

    In the light of Fr Doyle’s substantial experience and expertise it is even more puzzling that you should suggest that “his ‘expert’ opinion could have been downloaded from Commonweal or publications of such a particular bias”. Have you even read the transcript of his evidence? It consisted of a sort of cross-examination of Fr Doyle by Gail Furness, with occasional questions from the Chair, Peter McClellan; and the transcript runs to 20 pages (see https://bit.ly/2AcVfMv), so it is clear that he did not ‘download’ anything! If you bother to read the transcript you will see that what he said derives from his considerable knowledge about the subject. (By the way I recommend reading pages 14-15 and 18-19 for further clarification of the link between clericalism and both the cover-up and perpetuation of abuse.)

    I would be really grateful if you could provide a source/reference for your assertion that Father Doyle “was perceived by legal observers of the Australian Royal Commission as a not very ‘solid’ witness,” as I have been unable to find any reference to this despite an extensive search. I have read all 20 pages of the transcript of his evidence, and it certainly looks pretty solid to me!

    And finally I ought to clarify that I have never said that “clericalism IS the problem” (to quote from your final paragraph). All I have said is that there is a link between clericalism and abuse – and I have yet to find an expert who denies this link.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.