An open letter from young Catholics


#1

#2

There was no mention in this letter of homosexuality.

There was a comment about “sexually-active priests”–is this “code” for “homosexual” priests? Or is it meant to include both homosexual priests and heterosexual priests who are sexually active?

Is this omission of the word “homosexual” deliberate? I know that Holy Mother Church teaches that homosexuality is a “disorder.” I thought (and I may be wrong) that seminaries are attempting to reject homosexual candidates to the priesthood–is that why the letter writers didn’t mention homosexuality, because they are assuming that in their future, there will be no homosexual priests?

Several years back I read “Pedophiles and Priests” by Philip Jenkins–an excellent book that seems to conclude that the bulk of the abuse has been committed by homosexual priests, not pedophiles. So I question the omission of the word “homosexual” in this letter (unless I missed it, which is certainly possible at this time of the morning!).


#3

Sexually-active priests, whatever their inclinations, break their vows and cause harm and scandal to the Church and the priesthood. They are absolutely correct to place blame on all unfaithful priests.


#4

Have there been a lot of cases in which the priests pursued/abused/attacked girls/women?

The book I referred to presented statistics that the overwhelming number of cases involved a priest and older boys. There were cases of abuse of little boys under age 12, but most were teenagers (younger and older).

What I’m saying is that homosexuality does seem to be an issue. If it isn’t an issue, then why would the seminaries weed out seminary candidates with homosexual inclinations? .


#5

Yep. One case here in Melbourne where a priest had a 14 year sexual relationship with a woman who was vulnerable . The Church initially stood him down, and then reinstated him. He has been since defrocked.

It made huge waves.

There are many more cases like these, however the shame with sexual abuse is still sadly huge.

From https://www.rainn.org/statistics/scope-problem :

  • 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed, 2.8% attempted).
  • About 3% of American men—or 1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
  • From 2009-2013, Child Protective Services agencies substantiated, or found strong evidence to indicate that, 63,000 children a year were victims of sexual abuse.

#6

I didn’t say homosexual predators aren’t an issue. I said **all ** sexually active priests harm the Church.


#7

Are we playing ‘Blame the gays’ again? The sexual orientation of abusers may have little relevance when it comes to selecting victims; this is particularly seen in institutions such as prisons where male inmates may be raped by those who would identify as heterosexual. Access to young and teenage boys may have been easier for certain clerics (e.g. those teaching in single sex schools). Making a fuss over the omission of the word ‘homosexual’ just looks as if there’s another attempt to shift the blame.


#8

Do “young Catholics” view this differently than other Catholics? :thinking:


#9

I hope not. I like the letter a lot


#10

Yes. Did you not watch “The Keepers”?

Plenty of priests also get in trouble with sexually harassing women in their parishes, or having relations with some woman in their parish. Do you not read the bishop-accountability.org site? Or the newspapers that tend to cover the harassment suits?


#11

No. And while I do not disagree with anything in the letter, and I further understand that each bishop out there needs to write a letter to communicate with his own flock (and in the old pre-Internet days the letter would have just been read to his flock, not posted for all the other flocks out there to read), it seems unnecessary to have 1,245,231 letters out there saying the same thing. Nobody thinks the behavior of McCarrick or other sexual abusers is okay. I wish we could just have one letter and everybody sign it rather than every day 5 new letters saying the same thing.


#12

No, I haven’t read any of those. I’ve never even heard of those. The book that I cited in my post is well-thought of by local Catholic priests and teachers. Has this author and/or his book fallen from favor and/or been disproved after the passage of years?

It’s not an issue that I follow closely.


#13

I would strongly suggest you do more research into the issue than looking at just one book.

If you just look on bishop-accountabilty, or google on the Web, or read some other sources, you will find many cases of priests who abused women, or female children, as well as male children. Abuse has in the past tended to skew towards young boys because the priests had more access to young boys, who worked as altar servers and spent time around the priest. Research on pedophiles suggests that many of them will abuse whatever gender of child or pubescent person is most accessible to them.

The priest in “The Keepers” began by abusing at least one altar boy. His superiors transferred him to an all-girls Catholic school, where he proceeded to abuse a number of the girls.

Abuse is about power. It’s not about sexual preferences.


#14

I agree. the only problem I have is with the term “drug fueled orgies in Vatican apartments.” Yes there was an incident where, I believe, it was found that such an occurrence took place in a Vatican apartment rented to two laymen who then engaged in such behavior, homosexual in nature. No clergy was involved in this incident. Using this to paint priests as engaging in such behavior is unconscionable. It calls into question the objectivity and quest to find the truth behind such allegations. Stick to the provable facts, unfortunately there are enough of them that there is no need to infer clerical scandalous behavior where it doesn’t exist.


#15

Fair enough. And I don’t want to disparage any clergy, but the"objectivity and quest to find the truth behind the allegations" is way beyond being called into question. At this point, I assume it does not exist. Sorry, it pains me to say it.


#16

tafan; it pains all of us faithful Catholics to hear these accusations over and over. The thing to remember is that most of this happened 20 to 40 years ago, and the church has sought to clean up the problem. Unfortunately that seems to be tantamount to nailing jello to the wall. It is important however to bear in mind what the facts are and not let the truth be tainted by speculation without inquiry.


#17

There are plenty of ways one can manifest an inappropriate use of power. So there is an error in thinking that those who want to exercise power will do this only by sexually abusing others, and that the sexual preference does not matter. (not that I think you are saying this)

Some clergy may abuse power by embezzling funds, micromanaging people to the point of being a ruthless dictator, using their positions to influence certain political issues, etc. Homosexuality certainly plays a role in many of these cases. Some circles try to water this observation down by overstating the notion that it’s only about power. Obviously there is a problem of even consensual homosexual relations within seminaries, which causes more scandal that the errant priest or seminarian who has relations with a woman, since the former is unnatural and disordered.


#18

This is a problem, to me, right there. Not because I think gay sex in seminaries is OK, but because a priest fooling around with some woman, to me, is equally a violation of his vows as if he’d fooled around with a man. Celibacy means celibacy. Period.


#19

This current crisis is really difficult to deal with. I think this journalist is spot on:


#20

The incident in question occurred in Msgr. Luigi Capozzi’s apartment (Pope Benedict XVI’s former residence), and Msgr. Capozzi himself was taken into custody by Italian police before he could be appointed as a bishop, so I’m afraid it wasn’t just laymen who were involved.


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