Evidently, some Catholic clergy have difficulty understanding what “celibacy” means. Fr. Dwight Longenecker catches Fr. James Martin, saying in his 2010 book, (page 216) that celibacy is “the restriction against marriage for members of the Catholic clergy.”
Published at the National Catholic Register, November 26, 2018, with the title, “Cherished Beliefs of the Sexual Revolution (And How they protect Sexual Predators.)
One curious feature of the current clergy sex-abuse scandal is the reticence of the non-Catholic media to go after the predators.
Many journalists in the “Legacy Media” seem to have an “anti-Catholic default” setting. One might think such journalists would leap at the chance to pile on with negative reports about the behavior of the Catholic hierarchy. Yet most secular newsrooms have been quite subdued on this issue.
This situation cries out for an explanation.
I propose that many people in our culture, including the media, subscribe to what I call “Cherished Beliefs of the Sexual Revolution.”
These tenets of secularism have been so widely promoted, defended and accepted that they are part of the air we breathe. We don’t even recognize that we believe these ideas.
Some of these ideas have specifically to do with homosexual activity and identity. Others are part of the more general ideological structure of the sexual revolution. Dissecting these ideas and correcting or even discarding them is a crucial step in getting to the bottom of the clergy sex-abuse scandal.
Allow me to assist.
Let me state for the record: Gross generalizations are unfair and unhelpful. I will never say “All gay men are … .” In fact, I once wrote an article called “Fifty Shades of Gay” — so I’m not about to draw rash conclusions about “gay men” from the behavior of a few.
However, the over-representation of homosexual predation certainly casts doubt on what I will call the “Grand Gay Narrative.” The marketing machine for “LGBT” activism and its allies in the sexual revolution have gone to a lot of trouble to create the following impressions in the public mind:
Being gay is a normal variation of healthy human sexuality. “Straight” vs. “gay” is no more significant than left-handed vs. right-handed.
Gay people are “born that way.”
Any problems that gay people might have are the result of “homophobia,” that is, unjust discrimination against them by society, or “internalized homophobia,” that is, self-hatred.
People who hold these ideas might very well object, “That isn’t exactly what we mean.” I will be glad to accept a moderation of their position if they care to walk back these extreme versions.
Let’s see where that would leave us:
In response to each of these points:
Not every person who claims a homosexual identity or engages in homosexual acts is a paragon of mental health. Some of them are out of their minds (including, perhaps, some of the sexually compulsive priest-predators?). Not every person who claims a homosexual identity or engages in homosexual acts is an innocent lamb. Some of them are mean, nasty and selfish (including, perhaps, some of the serial predators?).
Even if people are born with a sexual attraction to people of their own sex, it does not follow that those same people (or anyone at
all) is born with an uncontrollable urge toward sexual predation or habitual lying. (Was Theodore McCarrick “born that way”?)
“Homophobia” has nothing to do with the current situation. “If only people were more accepting of homosexual activity and identity, then … .” Then, what exactly? The clergy could behave like Harvey Weinstein and all the other married men who sexually exploit women? Blaming “homophobia” is not a credible response to decadeslong patterns of abuse.
In short, it should be appropriate to say, “Men of homosexual inclination used the priesthood as a base of operation for preying on teenaged boys.”
Behind these specific beliefs about homosexual practices are also some general cherished beliefs of the sexual revolution. They include:
Sexual activity is an absolute necessity for a healthy life. (News flash: No one has ever died from not having sex.)
Sexual activity is an entitlement. (Only a rapist truly believes he is “entitled” to sex.)
Any problems one might encounter from sexual activity are the result of either lingering “sex-negative” prejudices or not using your “protection” correctly and consistently. (People can have all sorts of problems from having sex at the wrong time, with the wrong person, in the wrong situation, even if their condoms work perfectly.)
This ideological aegis is providing cover for clergy sexual abuse. Journalists, judges, lawmakers and opinion-leaders who subscribe to these ideas are going to squirm when they try to face the evidence. Like the “#MeToo” movement, they are trying to condemn sexual abuse while still embracing the ideologies that made it possible.
Some of my readers no doubt have already figured out from experience that the sexual revolutionaries have been lying to them.
I urge you to examine your conscience in search of lingering traces of these beliefs. Go to confession. You will feel better, I promise you. And you will be a more credible witness in the Church’s current hour of need.
If you are still hanging on to any of these beliefs about same-sex attraction, I beg you to re-examine them. If you have friends who are hanging on to them, share this article with them. You can feel good about yourself without subscribing to superstitions.
In fact, you’ll feel better about yourself and about life in general if you know the truth. Just follow the One who described himself as “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” In this case, as in so many others, the Truth really will set you free.
Can anyone read German? Here is a article in German on our Clergy Sex Abuse Study. The headline means, “Stop Denying.”
According to the Google translator function:
(Fr. Paul) Sullins’ proposal for resolution looks like this: To deal with the homosexual subcultures in the seminars, “the first thing that needs to be done is to stop denial.” You have to realize that there is a problem. This includes admitting that there may be a connection between “homosexual behavior in seminaries or in the priesthood and this kind of mischief,” the abuse. The impulse “that we do not want to say anything that could stigmatize homosexuals is understandable. But this must be weighed against the damage potential for the victims. How many times do we want to repeat that and continue to deny what is becoming more and more obvious? “When do we take action to address it?
Please keeping sharing the study. People need to have the courage to face this issue directly.
In the fallout from the revelations of former-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s serial sexual predation, some have worried about an “anti-gay witch hunt.”
Recently, a headline in America magazine all but shouted, “Homosexuality is not a risk factor for sexual abuse of children.” Yet, the Pennsylvania grand jury report that came out in August found about 80% of the teenage victims of clerical sexual abuse were male, just as the John Jay Report found more than 10 years ago. This fact cries out for explanation. But many in the media and in the Church seem reluctant to focus on this obvious connection. We must come up with an explanation that is true to the known facts, without harming any innocent person.
Once again, members of the Catholic heirarchy are trying to convince us that priests living a homosexually active sex life are not particularly a problem in the current crisis. I’m here to say that the lay faithful are not going to be diverted by attempts to change the subject. Clergy living active homosexual lives are causing a lot of problems in the Church.
Cardinal Blaise Cupich stated in an interview with America magazine:
What do we call guys like Cardinal McCarrick? (Please, no smart aleck answers.) Terminology is extremely important in the on-going discussion about how the Body of Christ should address same sex attraction. We need to steer clear of 2 different pitfalls.
“Pedophilia abuse” vs. “homosexual abuse.”
“Gay” vs. “same sex attracted” or some other term.
I was always taught to respect the clergy. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Should criticism be necessary, let it be as gentle as possible. But what do we do when the clergy harm each other? Cardinal Kevin Farrell’s recent comments about priests lacking credibility for preparing couples for marriage amounts to an attack on every priest in Christendom. He makes an unnecessary criticism, in a harsh manner. Worst, his comments bring disrespect to the priestly office itself. A bit of thought, plus a brief look into the Cardinal’s background, may help explain his comments, wrongheaded though they are.
Cardinal Farrell’s Claims
Let’s review the Cardinal’s comments:
During an interview … Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, said that ‘priests are not the best people to train others for marriage.’
They have no credibility; they have never lived the experience; they may know moral theology, dogmatic theology in theory, but to go from there to putting it into practice every day … they don’t have the experience.