The Myth of Pedophile Priests

March 22, 2010

I am so grateful to Fr. Longnecker and this post …

As more pedophile priest scandals blow up across Europe we should be ashamed of the offenders and those who sheltered them and oppressed the victims. The guilty should be weeded out, removed from office and handed over to the civil authorities where they are guilty of crimes. Systems to avoid abuse must be established and rigorously maintained, and victims should be justly compensated for their suffering.

However, Penn State professor Philip Jenkins (who is not a Catholic) has written the most objective book on the subject, and he summarizes his arguments in this excellent article. In light of his work, we should remember some basic facts and principles:

  • Priestly celibacy is not the issue – married men are more likely to abuse children than unmarried
  • Most child abuse takes place within the home.
  • All religious groups have pedophile scandals, and the Catholics (while the largest religious group) are at the bottom of the list statistically.
  • Child abuse is prevalent in all areas of society: schools, youth organizations, sports, etc.
  • Statistically, of all the professions, Christian clergy are least likely to offend. Doctors, Farmers and Teachers are the professions most likely to abuse children–not clergy.
  • Among clergy offenders Catholic priests are least likely to offend.
  • Catholic cases of pedophilia make more headlines because of anti Catholic prejudice and because the Catholic Church is bigger and more lucractive to sue.
  • Pedophilia and Euphebophilia are different problems. The former is sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children. The latter is attraction to teenagers. Most cases branded ‘pedophila’ are actually ‘euphebophila.’
  • Most of the cases of euphebophilia are homosexual in nature, however the politically correct do not want this problem to be associated with homosexuality.
  • The number of Catholic priests guilty of pedophilia is very small.
  • What we now call ‘cover up’ was often done in a different cultural context, when the problem was not fully understood and when all establishment organizations hushed scandals. They did so for what seemed good reasons at the time: protection of the victims and their families, opportunity for rehabilitation of the offender, the avoidance of scandal to others. It is unfair to judge events thirty years ago by today’s standards.
  • When lawsuits are looming people smell money. We must be wary of false accusations.
  • The accused must be entitled to a fair hearing. The church should insist on hard proof of the abuse, and for the sake of justice, ensure that the innocent are not prosecuted.
  • When guilt is established the offender must be punished, not sheltered.
  • Distinctions must be made between types of abuse. Some offenses are worse than others. Verbal abuse or corporal punishment during a time when that was acceptable, while lamentable, is not the same as sexual abuse or extreme physical abuse.
  • Sexual abuse of an adult, or a sexually experienced older teenager is wrong, and damaging, and should be punished, but it is not the same as the sexual abuse of a younger, innocent child.
  • Number of offenses must be considered. One lapse is not of the same seriousness as repeated, persistent and premeditated offenses. 

I am in no way wishing to be soft on pedophiles and those who covered for them, however justice and truth demand an objective analysis of the facts.


This Cartoon Seemed Far-Fetched In 1948

March 22, 2010

Rise, let us go, see my betrayer comes

March 22, 2010

This post is meant to be a type of sequel to the previous article I posted by Patrick Archbold entitled, “Bishops Share the Blame.”

Like many of you, my heart is heavy today as I try to wrap my mind around all of what is going on, and what will be the consequences. I’ve been a priest for nearly 22 years, and my youthful naiveté, along with the benefit of doubt I tend to give to my neighbor, continues to be challenged, especially as I become more and more exposed to the corruption right in the very bosom of Mother Church.

I guess I want to believe we are safe in her bosom; that we will be given the truth that sets us free to live life open and honestly, rather than under any despairing mantle of suspicion and mistrust.

As we continue to see a steady fading of the trust we have for our shepherds, there is a ray, no, a beam of hope that comes from the poignant words of the Vicarius Christi:

“Priests who see insults offered to God and remain silent are called by Isaias ‘mute dogs.’ But to these mute dogs shall be imputed all the sins that they could have- but have not – prevented…. Hence, St. Leo adds: ‘The priest who does not withdraw another from error proves that he is himself involved in it.’” (St. Alphonsus De Liguori) … 

“The words of the Bible and of the Church fathers rang in my ears, those sharp condemnations of shepherds who are like mute dogs; in order to avoid conflicts, they let the poison spread. Peace is not the first civic duty, and a bishop whose only concern is not to have any problems and to gloss over as many conflicts as possible is an image I find repulsive.”  (Cardinal Ratzinger, 1997)

In chapter 26 of St. Matthew’s Gospel. Christ had found his apostles (our first bishops) asleep for the third time, just as his betrayer was approaching. Instead of confronting evil, he could have said, “Let sleeping (mute) dogs lie.” But he did not. He took this bungling band of brothers with him and faced his betrayer head on: “Rise, let us go, see my betrayer comes” (Matt. 26:46).

This is the greatest temptation of every one of our shepherds: In order to avoid a disturbance or any trouble or complications, our shepherds are inclined to say, “Let sleeping dogs lie.” But, as our Holy Father points out (above), peace is not the highest priority. Recall Christ’s words: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household” (Matt. 10:34-36)

The sword he equips us with is, in the words of Scripture, “the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God” (Eph 6:17), “lively and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of the soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12). The word of God in fact leads to these divisions. It can lead, even within families, to those who embrace the faith being regarded as enemies by relatives who resist the word of truth. Yet, without being led by the sword of truth, we are left misled and confused and prone to every wind of false doctrine and temptation to sin. We are sheep without a shepherd. 

The time has come to call for own type of Catholic Tea Party, as we urge our shepherds to bring us the truth, no matter how difficult it is to hear.

Bishops Share The Blame

March 22, 2010

Well, it is done. The Government takeover of health-care is now the law of the land complete with the federal funding of abortion.

At this horrific moment we must make an honest assessment of how we arrived at this point.  The responsibility for this terrible moment in history is spread far and wide.  The Democrat party, committed to the Siamese causes of increasing government control of lives and desire to have less lives, is the obvious culprit but far from the only one.

A truly honest assessment of the situation should hold the Republican party to account.  Truth be told, the Republican party has acquitted themselves well in the past year.  They managed to hold off this bill as long as they could facing an opposition with a huge majority.  But why did the Democrats have such a huge majority?  Because when the reigns of government were entrusted to Republicans, they woefully failed in their duty.  They failed to live up to their own creed in both a fiscal and moral sense.  No need to go into detail here, everyone knows their failings.  Those failings opened the door to a virulently pro-death Democrat Congress and a virulently pro-death Democrat president.

Had the Republicans been good stewards of the authority entrusted them, we would likely not be in this situation now.

There is another group that should also take a hard look at their stewardship and acknowledge their failures, the US Bishops.

Again, while the Bishops have acquitted themselves well through this process recently, they cannot ignore the past.

The hard truth is that for years the Bishops have allied themselves with the pro-abort party in matters related to health-care, and now they claim 11th hour betrayal.

When you hang out with thieves, you shouldn’t be surprised when you get robbed.

Moreover, the Bishops silence for years in the face of pro-abortion Catholic politicians has given aid and comfort to those who seek the death of children.  The Bishop’s unwillingness, with some obvious exceptions, to effectively address or discipline pro-abort Catholic politicians allowed for the Democrats to portray the Church as divided on the issue.  They have also allowed a culture of dissent to flourish for decades that culminated in the shameful last minute endorsement by a group of radical nuns that seriously hurt the cause of life.

The bishops’ decades long collective silence on these issues allowed for this culture to develop and has resulted in the USCCB being understandably criticized as an extension of the Democrat party (the Democrat party at prayer they say).  This is the horrible result of that ungodly alliance.

Blame may be cathartic for some but that is not the reason I bring this sorry history up now.  Like the Republicans, the Bishops too must learn from their mistakes.  If they continue to ally themselves with the Democrat party and continue their cowardly and ineffective “pastoral” approach to pro-death Catholic politicians things will only get worse, and yes they can get worse.

So it is time for all of us to admit our mistakes and learn from them.  Lives depend on it.  We failed them before, let’s not do it again. 

Source: National Catholic Register