Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on a new report on clergy sexual abuse:
The Jesuit magazine, America, has done some very important work, but when it comes to understanding clergy sexual abuse, it has failed miserably. The latest example of this is the piece by Michael O’Loughlin. It is an uncritical look at a report issued by professors from the Jesuit-sponsored Santa Clara University, Julie Hanlon Rubio and Paul J. Schutz; the report was funded by Fordham University, a Jesuit school.
Those who are familiar with the interpretation of the scandal as espoused by the Catholic left will find nothing new in the report. Sexual repression and clericalism caused the crisis and homosexuality has nothing to do with it. It is thrice wrong.
Why is it that in the 1950s, when the Church was much less open about matters sexual—”repressed” according to its critics—there was practically no sexual abuse of minors? Why is it that when the lid came off in the 1960s, and especially the 1970s, many of the seminaries turned into dens of iniquity? That’s when the scandal exploded.
Clericalism, or an elitist strain among the hierarchy, may explain why some bishops enabled the molesters, but it has nothing to do with why some priests became molesters. Enabling bishops are to molesting priests what drug lords are to drug addicts—they facilitate the problem. But if there were no molesters or addicts, there would be no enablers.
So who were the molesters? We know from the John Jay studies on this issue that 81 percent of the victims of priestly sexual abuse were male and that 78 percent were postpubescent. It matters not a whit that many homosexual priests who molested young men do not identify as homosexual; what matters is their behavior, not their self-perception.
We need to end this game—and that is what it is—a game of dodge ball played out by those who are either delusional or dishonest. When adult men have sex with young men, that is called homosexuality. It is not pedophilia, and it certainly isn’t heterosexuality.
In my book, The Truth about Clergy Sexual Abuse: Clarifying the Facts and the Causes, published last year by Ignatius, I make it clear that being a homosexual does not cause someone to molest anyone. But there a link, what sociologists call an intervening variable, and that is emotional and sexual immaturity. Homosexual men are much more likely to be psychologically and sexually stunted. It is this which allows them to be attracted to adolescents.
America magazine has misled us before on this issue.
In 1993, it published an article by Father Andrew Greeley who speculated that there were “well in excess of 100,000 victims” of priestly sexual abuse. The John Jay social scientists, who looked at abuse between 1950 and 2002, concluded the real number is 10,667. Why was Greeley so far off? Because he assumed that on average there were fifty victims for every abusing priest. The correct number is one.
No problem can ever be fixed if those who profess an interest in doing so live in a comfortable state of denial. They need to be shaken from their comfort zone and finally look reality in the face.