In April, two news stories broke on priestly sexual abuse that warranted our comment; one of the stories was published by the Associated Press and the other one by Media Matters.
The AP story admitted that “The overwhelming majority of the victims were adolescents. That means very few guilty priests were pedophiles, a term mental health professionals reserve for those who target pre-pubescent children.” Fine. But then it said something that was absolutely remarkable: “Even though about 80 percent of victims were boys, the John Jay researchers and other experts on sex offenders say it does not mean that the perpetrators were gay.” So what would they be? Heterosexual?
The Media Matters story relied on an extraordinary remark made during an interview with Margaret Smith, a professor who worked on the John Jay study. She said that although Bill Donohue had “quoted the study’s data correctly,” he nonetheless “drew an unwarranted conclusion.”
Donohue questioned where he was wrong in stating that most of the molesters have been gay.
Smith also said, “The majority of the abusive acts were homosexual in nature. That participation in homosexual acts is not the same as sexual identity as a gay man.”
Donohue replied, “So if two men sodomize each other, no one really knows if this qualifies as gay sex. Now I must admit that when I was studying for my doctorate in sociology at NYU, they never taught me such logic.”
Both of the stories said the reason why there were so many male victims is because the priests did not have access to girls as altar servers. This was nonsense. There have been girl altar servers in some U.S. dioceses since 1983, and almost everywhere since 1994. The statistics actually show that the more priests have access to girls, the less likely it is for girls to be abused.
Here’s the tally. As reported in 2004, between 1950 and 2002, 81 percent of the victims were male; in 2005, it stayed the same; in 2006, it dropped to 80 percent; in 2007, it climbed to 82 percent; in 2008, it jumped to 84 percent; and in 2009, it held at 84 percent.
In other words, even though priests have less access to males, homosexual priests are molesting them at a higher rate. Ironically, critics of the Church who allege there has been a cover-up are not altogether wrong—it’s just that they have identified the wrong subject. The real cover-up involves the role that molesting homosexuals have played in the abuse scandal. But to say so is politically incorrect these days, though that hardly matters to us.