Clergy scandals summarized.Some months have passed since I wrote about the sexual abuse crisis in the U.S. Catholic Church. In June 2002, Catholic Insight published "U.S. Cardinals visit Rome." In the October 2002 edition we published an eight-page overview of what the bishops in Dallas had decided to do in June and the reaction thereto; plus reflections by Fr. John Harvey, OSFS OSFS Oblates of St. Francis de Sales (religious order)
OSFS Order of St. Francis - Secular, 3rd Order Franciscan (religious order)
OSFS Old Shoes for Sale
OSFS Open Source Free Software , who pointed out that the main issue is not paedophilia paedophilia or US pedophilia
the condition of being sexually attracted to children [Greek pais, paid- child + philos loving]
Noun 1. but homosexuality, and that one of the bishops' main problems in the past had been the acceptance of advice of psychologists and psychiatrists at various treatment centres who assured them that abusing priests could safely be returned to parish work. We added a section of short biographies of eight homosexual bishops who have been forced to resign over the last ten years.
Father Harvey sees the root cause for the crisis in so many clergy abandoning solemn Catholic moral teaching. The theological and popular dissent which began during Vatican II Noun 1. Vatican II - the Vatican Council in 1962-1965 that abandoned the universal Latin liturgy and acknowledged ecumenism and made other reforms
Second Vatican Council
Vatican Council - each of two councils of the Roman Catholic Church reached its high point with the rejection by many laity, priests, and theologians of Humanae vitae Humanae Vitae (Latin "Of Human Life") is an encyclical written by Pope Paul VI and promulgated on July 25, 1968. Subtitled "On the Regulation of Birth", it re-affirms the traditional teaching of the Roman Catholic Church regarding abortion, contraception, and other issues (On human life) in 1968. This encyclical encyclical, originally, a pastoral letter sent out by a bishop, now a solemn papal letter, meant to inform the whole church on some particular matter of importance. Benedict XIV circulated the first known encyclical in 1740. opposed separating the procreative pro·cre·a·tive
1. Capable of reproducing; generative.
2. Of or directed to procreation. aspect of marriage from its love-union aspect by means of contraception, whether by Pill or device.
Since the time of writing, Father Harvey has been joined in this opinion of the consequences of dissent by the editors of the Homiletic and Pastoral Review The Homiletic & Pastoral Review is unique among religious journals in the United States in that it was the very first clergy magazine to appear in the United States and has been the leading journal of its kind for over 100 years. , Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., Professor Hudson of Crisis magazine, Philip Lawler of Catholic World Report, Fr. Richard Neuhaus of First Things First Things is a monthly ecumenical journal concerned with the creation of a "religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society" (First Things website). , Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR CFR
See: Cost and Freight , George Weigel George Weigel (Baltimore, 1951 - ) is an American Catholic author, and political and social activist. He currently serves as a Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Weigel was the Founding President of the James Madison Foundation. , author of "The courage to be Catholic: Crisis, Reform and the Future of the Church," and many others.
The facts appear incontrovertible in·con·tro·vert·i·ble
Impossible to dispute; unquestionable: incontrovertible proof of the defendant's innocence.
in·con . Once people rebelled against Humanae vitae, justifying contraception, they followed it up by justifying sexual intercourse sexual intercourse
or coitus or copulation
Act in which the male reproductive organ enters the female reproductive tract (see reproductive system). before marriage (as part of a process of "self-fulfilment"), allowing pornography, together with justifying masturbation and, logically enough, same-sex pleasuring. By this time, many of the dissenters dissenters: see nonconformists. had also quietly begun to accept the killing of the unborn. As we know, they were backed by leading members of the American Catholic Theological Society who published their 'new morality' views in 1975 (Kosnick, et al).
Dissent as a cause for deviant behaviour has another side to it, namely, the refusal of bishops to denounce false teachers--which in North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. was left principally to Rome. This, in turn, was accompanied by their decision to be silent in the public forum about Catholic sexual and marital moral truths. In Canada, for example, after the bishops themselves had pushed the encyclical Humanae vitae aside in their September 1968 Winnipeg meeting, they threw themselves into the promotion of social justice, hoping to make up for silence on sexual-marital issues by loudly supporting economic and political activity on behalf a large variety of justice issues, national as well as international.
The American Conference American Conference may refer to:
Please help Wikipedia by adding references. See the for details.
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One further point: Kenneth Whitehead points out in the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly, Fall 2002, that as early as November 1968, the American bishops in their pastoral letter Pastoral letters are open letters addressed by a bishop to the clergy or laity of his diocese, or to both, containing either general admonition, instruction or consolation, or directions for behaviour in particular circumstances. Human life in our day, had included a section entitled "Norms of licit dissent." Although the theoretical conditions they described there bore no resemblance to the open rebellion that was actually underway, it cut the ground from under the feet of those bishops who might have been willing to take action. Eventually, only two did, Cardinal Boyle of Washington, and Bishop McNulty of Buffalo.
New norms and Cardinal Law
Before presenting the facts and figures of this survey, I should mention two other events. On November 13, 2002, the U.S. Bishops approved the Vatican authored "revised norms," including how to dismiss guilty priests from the priesthood. Some now fear that secrecy will be reintroduced into the newly created tribunals contrary to Dallas where the bishops wanted lay participation for the sake of openness and transparency. All this remains to be seen. The new norms do provide the accused with proper legal procedures in his own defence.
The second event is the December 2002 resignation of the Cardinal- Archbishop of Boston, Bernard Law. It was in Boston that the revelations of massive abuse by priests began in the fall of 2001, due to the relentless probing of the Boston Globe, which blew the issue of priestly sex abuse wide open across public America. The Boston cardinal is hardly a sacrificial lamb A sacrificial lamb is a lamb (or metaphorical parallel) killed or discounted in some way (as in a sacrifice) in order to further some other cause. In typical modern usage, it is a metaphorical reference for a person who has no chance of surviving the challenge ahead, but is placed . His errors were numerous: moving abusive priests from parish to parish without giving much thought to the victims or to the idea that crimes had been committed which should have been reported to the police and the courts. He appears to have "followed a policy of covering up accusations, ignoring the pleas of victims, and placing priests back into ministry with little concern for the children," states Commonweal com·mon·weal
1. The public good or welfare.
2. Archaic A commonwealth or republic.
Noun 1. (December 20, 2002). Whether his resignation is conducive to greater openness among bishops remains to be seen. Of the two things the Dallas meeting refused to discuss, one was finding the reasons for the crisis, the other was discussin g the accountability of bishops. No public progress has been visible on this last subject since then.
New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Times
On Sunday January 12, 2003, Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times published the most complete compilation of data on the U.S. priestly abuse crisis hereto here·to
To this document, matter, or proposition.
Formal or law to this place, matter, or document
Adv. 1. . She titled her article, "Trail of pain in church crisis leads to nearly every diocese."
The New York Times (NYT NYT New York Times
NYT National Youth Theatre (UK)
NYT New York Transit (New York, USA)
NYT New York Tribune ) is not a Catholic-friendly paper; its reporters carry with them the liberal bias for which this daily is famous. The fact and figures however are sufficiently comprehensive to allow one to see them independently of the newspaper's predilection. Here are some of the numbers.
The survey compiled the names and histories of 1205 accused priests. It counted 4,268 people who have claimed publicly or in lawsuits to have been abused by priests. (Observers believe that there are many more who have remained silent.)
* The survey found accusations of abuses in all but sixteen of the 177 Latin-rite dioceses in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. .
* Every region was seriously affected:
206 priests in the West;
246 in the South;
335 in the Midwest;
and 434 in the Northeast.
* The abuse reached not only big cities like Boston or Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. , but smaller ones like Louisville, with 27 priests accused, and St. Cloud, Minn, with 9 priests accused.
* The priests counted included both diocesan and religious order priests.
* The total (which may still rise) comes to 1.8 percent of all priests ordained or·dain
tr.v. or·dained, or·dain·ing, or·dains
a. To invest with ministerial or priestly authority; confer holy orders on.
b. To authorize as a rabbi.
2. between 1950 and 2001, a 50-year period.
* Dioceses which have fully opened their books--or were forced to do so by court orders--and which have provided complete lists, show much higher percentages of abusive priests. (Baltimore 6.2 percent; Manchester, N.H., 7.7 percent; and Boston 5.3 percent. The Boston percentage comes to 94 priests.)
* A number of dioceses have not published complete lists, or have even refused to identify any priests, though the survey did not say how many.
* During the twelve months of 2002, 432 accused priests have resigned, retired, or been removed from priestly ministry. So far, only 11 of them have been defrocked.
* Fifty percent of the priests in the database were accused of molesting one minor; 33 percent of three minors; 16 percent of five or more.
* Again, 57 percent stand accused of molesting teenagers (13 years and older); 43 percent were accused of molesting boys of 12 years or younger. (Not in the survey is the fact that only a handful are accused of paedophilia, that is, of abusing pre-pubescent children). Four out of five victims were male.
* The 1956 ordination class is the first class which has a significant proportion of accused priests (32). But many of them did not commit their offences until the 1960's or 1970's.
* Actual accusations of abuse per decade looks as follows:
1950's: 63 priests accused
1960's: 256 priests accused
1970's: 537 priests accused
1980's: 510 priests accused
1990's: 211 priests accused
(Some think that the figure for the 1990's is low because the victims have not yet come to terms with their victimization victimization Social medicine The abuse of the disenfranchised–eg, those underage, elderly, ♀, mentally retarded, illegal aliens, or other, by coercing them into illegal activities–eg, drug trade, pornography, prostitution. ).
Los Angeles poll
The NYT survey does not mention the Los Angeles poll of October 2002, which revealed that currently the American priesthood has a much higher percentage of homosexuals than does the general population. The poll shows "...a combined 15% of priests identified themselves as homosexuals (9%) or "somewhere in between, but more on the homosexual side" (6%). But, said the poll, "among younger priests--those ordained 20 years or less--the figure was 23%. (Ordination classes in the eighties and nineties have been much smaller than in the forties and fifties).
The percentage of male homosexuals in the general population is between 1 1/2% to 2%. The 1993 Alan Gutmacher Institute Study found 1.1% of males to be homosexuals (Wanderer, Jan. 18/03).
The above NYT statistics demonstrate that the incidence of abuse coincides with other factors, of which the survey mentions only two. First, the NYT sees it as coinciding with the relaxation of priestly discipline which began in the early 1960's, supported--so it was claimed--by the new spirit of Vatican II: get off your pedestal; wear sports clothes; be one with the laity; leave your collar at home.
Secondly, as mentioned, it runs parallel with the theologians' revolt against Catholic moral teaching that followed the Second Vatican Council Noun 1. Second Vatican Council - the Vatican Council in 1962-1965 that abandoned the universal Latin liturgy and acknowledged ecumenism and made other reforms
Vatican Council - each of two councils of the Roman Catholic Church (1962-1965). This reached its unchallenged popularity in the seventies and continued into the eighties.
Thirdly, not mentioned by the NYT is that the rate of increase of abuse by clergy coincides with the "Gay" drive for homosexual equality which was well underway at the end of the sixties and then went public in a big way during the following decades. The NYT, together with practically all large liberal dailies, supports the homosexual lifestyle, and does not care to throw an adverse light on it which it would do if it connected it to abuse by homosexual priests.
A fourth event worthwhile recollecting is that Pope John Paul II Pope John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Italian: Giovanni Paolo II, Polish: Jan Paweł II) born was elected Pope in October 1978. One of the first things he did was to halt the laicization of priests, restore discipline, and then begin a program of re-catechizing both priests and faithful especially in the defence of traditional marital-sexual-morality in direct opposition to the permissive society.
Some other observations:
The (defensive) claim by some Catholics that "people are outraged at the negligence of what amounts to relatively few bishops" is not acceptable. The bishops in question are not few; they are many. As the New York Times survey observes, only 16 out of 177 Latin-rite dioceses have so far been free of priestly abuse. Last year the Dallas Herald reported, on the opening day of the bishops' meeting there, that 114 dioceses out of 177 have records of bishops moving abusive priests from one parish to another. Again today, as the NYT survey mentions, a number of bishops are not cooperating.
Also, the number of U.S. bishops who have been forced to resign over the last ten years is not insignificant either. In October 2002, Catholic Insight listed eight bishops forced out because of homosexual affairs. Meanwhile, affairs with females have led to the resignation of two Archbishops (Atlanta and Texas), and several other bishops as well.
Similarly, the idea that the percentage of abusing priests is "only" 1.8 percent and therefore "below" the 2 percent of the American average, has nothing to recommend itself either. What is that observation supposed to mean? After all, we are speaking of more than 1200 priests where there should have been none.
Third, some commentators continue to speak about the abusing priests as "pedophiles." Pedophiles are those who abuse little children; they indeed number a handful. The great mass of priest abusers are homosexuals. Psychologists have coined the term ephebophiles for those who abuse boys after pubescence pu·bes·cence
1. The state of being pubescent.
2. The attainment or onset of puberty.
3. The presence of downy or fine short hair. . Some people take this to mean that these priests, therefore, are not homosexuals. It's a suggestion which should be ignored.
Fourth, there have been reports of people--including apparently commentators in Rome--who blame or have blamed the media for this crisis. That is also dangerous, indicating a state of denial which could be very harmful to resolving this crisis. The media did not create the crisis; the priests and the bishops did.
A final comment:
Vocal Catholic dissenters have for years supported the homosexual lifestyle in one form or another, either by backing equality for "sexual orientation sexual orientation
The direction of one's sexual interest toward members of the same, opposite, or both sexes, especially a direction seen to be dictated by physiologic rather than sociologic forces. ," or by thinking that it can't be so bad when so many do it, or in some other way. These "supporters" are not pleased with the turn of events the clergy scandals have taken.
First of all, they dismiss the idea that dissent has played a major role. Others turn the tables around and aggressively charge that John Paul II's "rigidity" is to blame, not their dismissal of Catholic teaching.
Others, such as the Jesuit magazine America, defend ordaining homosexuals. Others again try to force the debate by charging that homosexuals are being "scapegoated" as, for example, Fr. Andrew Britz, editor of the Prairie Messenger in Saskatchewan did when he wrote the sentence, "Efforts by the hierarchy to find a scapegoat--the homosexual priest--only deepened the crisis." (Editorial, Feb. 12.03). The truth is that the large majority of American bishops have completely ignored the issue of homosexuality and have done nothing to slow down the continued pro-homosexual propaganda among their own faithful by diocesan approved "gay" ministries and even bishops such as the auxiliary bishop of Detroit Thomas Gumbleton.
The clergy abuse scandals will take years to resolve. Meanwhile, let us not be disheartened dis·heart·en
tr.v. dis·heart·ened, dis·heart·en·ing, dis·heart·ens
To shake or destroy the courage or resolution of; dispirit. See Synonyms at discourage. . Even though the number of priests involved is not small, nevertheless, as individuals and as a group, they do not represent the Church and any effort to use them as such will fail.
Homosexual activity remains a sin, as it always has been and as it always will be. "Hate the sin but love the sinner" remains the Church's philosophy, no matter what the Globe & Mail and Canadian judges may say.
Meanwhile, we pray for reform, we pray for sinners, and we pray for ourselves that we may not also be tempted. As Father Neuhaus put it: Fidelity to the Magisterium mag·is·te·ri·um
n. Roman Catholic Church
The authority to teach religious doctrine.
[Latin, the office of a teacher or other person in authority, from magister, master; see . Fidelity, fidelity, fidelity.
Father Alphonse de Valk is a priest of the Congregation of St. Basil For the Ukrainian Catholic order, see . (C.S.B.). He is the editor of this journal.