Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who heads the Archdiocese for the Military Services, and in November was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke at a press conference during the bishops’ conference in Baltimore. He was asked if he stood by a comment he made in 2018 saying, “there is no question that the crisis of sexual abuse by priests in the USA is directly related to homosexuality.” He did not back down from his stance.
What Broglio said is undeniably true. No matter, those who persist in promoting the myth that homosexuality has nothing to do with the sexual abuse of minors are going bonkers.
Kevin Clarke wrote a piece for America magazine saying that a 2011 study by John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that “homosexuality was not a cause of abuse by priests, which researchers argued were crimes of opportunity by pedophiles.”
As Bill Donohue pointed out in his book, The Truth about Clergy Sexual Abuse: Clarifying the Facts and the Causes, the John Jay researchers did a good job overall, but their one weakness was in taking at face value how accused priests characterized themselves.
The researchers did not dispute that 81 percent of the victims were male, and that 78 percent of them were postpubescent. Nor did they dispute the fact that when men have sex with men they are engaged in homosexual acts. Their mistake was in saying that homosexuality cannot be considered a cause because many of the homosexual priests who abused adolescents did not identify as gay. To which the proper response is, “So what?”
While self-identity is an interesting subjective phenomenon, it is no substitute for objective reality. The fact is the clergy sexual abuse crisis was caused overwhelmingly by homosexual priests, and attempts to deny this verity are intellectually dishonest.
Clarke is flatly wrong to say that the John Jay study found that the abuse scandal was caused by pedophiles. That is simply not true. They very clearly said just the opposite. On p. 55 of the report he cites, the authors say that 3.8 percent of the abusers were pedophiles. Clarke obviously did not read the report. Either that or he is lying.
Josh McElwee of the National Catholic Reporter claims that “Academic studies have found no [homosexual] relationship.” Wrong. Donohue cites many in his book.
The relationship between homosexuality and the sexual abuse of minors is not direct, but there is definitely a link. To be sure, being a homosexual does not cause one to abuse anyone. But there is an intervening variable between homosexuality and the sexual abuse of minors, and that variable is immaturity. Homosexuals are more likely to be emotionally and sexually immature, and it is that factor that accounts for their overrepresentation among abusers, in and out of the Catholic Church.
Freud knew it, and so do honest behavioral scientists today. Freud attributed homosexuality to “a certain arrest of sexual development.” The John Jay researchers said many accused priests cited their own immaturity as a factor. The reason why these priests are attracted to adolescents is because they are psychologically stunted—their emotional and sexual maturity leveled off when they were young.
Archbishop Broglio was right in 2018 and he is right today. He doesn’t have to walk back anything. It is his uninformed critics who need to do so.