There was a tendency in the past for some bishops to dump their trash (so to speak) on other dioceses - especially in poorer countries knowing that those countries needed all the help they could get and weren’t likely to ask too many questions. These days bishops tend to be wise to that one! There were also cases of priests simply showing up in a diocese “on sabbatical” and being given faculties and a stipend without any questions being asked. In one case I know of, when it all turned pear-shaped and his home diocese was contacted, his bishop said something like “so that’s where he’s gone to”! Again, things are very different now!
Finally though, there’s the problem of priests on loan from another diocese. When trouble arises, these priests can return home with very few limitations able to be placed on them if they leaving the country. The bishop whose diocese their leaving should of course inform the bishop of the diocese they’re going to but it’s up to that bishop to enforce any sanctions and, in some cases, that’s easier said than done.
So this means that those Bishops that stopped
“moving them around the diocese”,
in some cases
switched and began
moving the abusers around the world!!??
(Again in some cases.)
No country was a more common destination than Mexico . . .
If true this is terrible.
So much for all their “concern” for our Mexican friends (if this is true).
The question is, Why?
Was it a misguided belief in a perverted form of tolerance, or was it because they themselves were compromised in their private lives in ways that the criminals knew about?
It is a striking fact that though in the outside world homosexuals are no more likely to be abusers than heterosexuals, among clergy the abusers are 80 percent homosexual. This raises the possibility that abusive homosexual clergy may have had sexual relationships with other clergy, some of whom may have become bishops.
Cock up is always more likely than conspiracy! Certainly, the tolerance argument has a lot going for it. I’m always reminded of the bishop who, when asked what they did at Vatican II, replied “we abolished canon law”! In fairness, it also seemed that the prevalent “expert” opinion at the time was that such problems could be cured - a belief that persisted (on the part of bishops for some time). While I obviously couldn’t rule it out entirely, I would seriously doubt that the “I’ve got dirt on you” reason would have come up in any more than a handful of cases, at that. If anything, a bishop in that situation would be more likely to keep the priest rather than transfer him.
I think we need to be cautious about drawing links between sexual orientation and sexual abuse since the latter is, first and foremost, about power rather than attraction. Other than that, statistics alone make such a situation highly unlikely given the comparatively small number of priests who fall into that first category and the small number of priests who become bishops. When you take into account other factors like age, diocese of origin and the size of some dioceses it becomes even more unlikely.
At the end of the day, moving troublesome priests simply comes down to one simple factor: expediency - the easiest and quickest way to solve the problem?
… except when there is a conspiracy. After McCarrick it is not possible to exclude conspiracy as a theory.
You are not understanding the argument.
- 80 percent of abuse in the church was homosexual, which is so far off the wall compared to the outside world that it must mean something.
- This abuse carried on for for so long and in so many places that it would have been impossible to go undetected and for the complaints to be ignored without the abusers being protected.
- For such protection to take place on such a scale, many bishops must necessarily have been involved in the protection.
- The protection offered must have had a motive. It cannot all be put down to cock-up.
- A possible motive for a bishop to protect an abuser would be if he were were himself compromised in some way. In the case of McCarrick we know he was himself an abuser. However, in most cases there is a more probable explanation than that the bishop was actually an abuser. As most of the priest abusers were also homosexual, they certainly had relationships with other men that were not criminally abusive. As priests and former seminarians, such relationships would be more likely to be with other clerics. Some of these clerics would go on to be bishops, and be blackmailable.
- The above hypothesis is corroborated by the following:
a. The refusal to allow laypeople to be involved in any future investigative system
b. The refusal to investigate any cases unless they are violating criminal law. Canon law is ignored because that would mean laicising any priest or bishop found to have been in a consensual relationship with an abuser; and arguably any cleric found to have a physical relationship with anyone at all.
Lastly I would like to make a separate point which has been generally missed: There is no such thing as consensual sex between priests. When a man becomes a seminarian he renounces not only marriage but sex. At ordination he says “No” in advance to all people for all time. Therefore anybody, male or female, who makes a “pass” at a seminarian or at a priest is guilty of harassment. If he is himself a seminarian, that’s harassment in the workplace, a sackable offence.
More examples of Catholic priests and bishops not being rigidly Catholic.
According to the John Jay study the average victim was an adolescent male but it is impossible to know if this was because of the abuser’s orientation of because that’s who they had access to.
True - to an extent. Part of the problem was denial - victims not being believed and an over-sanctified view of priesthood. Sure there was protection, in the sense of priests being moved, but this wasn’t about the priest as the priesthood and diocese/bishop.
By cock-up, I mean stupidity which, imho, includes moving your trash to somewhere else, or ignoring the obvious red-flags.
The power imbalance always favours the bishop. A compromised bishop wouldn’t shift the priest but leave him alone or assign him to a plum position. Also, back when most of the abuse was happening the bishop’s word was law and disobedient priests exiled to “Siberia”
The lay-clerical separation lingers large in most dioceses; there’s the administrative (money, pastoral affairs, education, etc) and clerical (anything to do with priests). The idea of allowing lay-people to be involved in the latter would be utterly abhorrent to some priests - clericalism isn’t anything but dead!
I had a law professor once who said “everyone hates lawyers and the legal section in any organisation is death” - that’s as true of the Church as anywhere! Canon law is seen by those unfamiliar with it a dark art best left well-enough alone if possible. There was also a move away from “legalism” post-Vatican II whereby bishops preferred a “pastoral” approach. So, when they didn’t know what to do easiest solutions prevailed - shift it elsewhere and hope it goes away!
This is true
The sad reality is that much of the problem was caused simply by incompetence.
Yes. And it cannot all be put down to stupidity. Otherwise we must have the most stupid bishops in church history, which I don’t believe.
This has happened too.
The sad reality is that predatory homosexuals in positions of authority and influence like to surround themselves with other homosexuals and have actively recruited homosexuals to the priesthood. When it turned out that some of these were also abusers the problem was deliberately not addressed because those in authority were compromised.
All, no. Most yes. Incidentally, this happened a lot outside of sexual abuse cases.
Looking at it statistically might help. Roughly 5% of priests were abusers; over those approximately 80% abused persons of the same sex. So to start with we’re dealing with a very small number of priests and an even smaller (even if not that much smaller) number of homoseual abusers.
I don’t know the percentage of priests who become bishops but it would obviously be extremely small, as in less than 1%. As a rough and ready guide, there are something like 37,000 priests in the US. There are 15 Cardinals (American-born, were ordained, or have served in the United States) and 427 bishops (including retirees).
So if we put those two lots of statistics together, the likelihood of an abusive priest becoming a bishop would be incredibly small. Even the number of homosexual bishops would have to be tiny. Beyond that, the chances of such a bishop having had a relationship with abusive priest who then successfully blackmailed him would be incredibly small.
Finally, the compromised bishop theory doesn’t account for every diocese where abusers were shifted rather than being removed. Not all bishops could have been compromised yet the pattern of behaviour tended to be typical throughout the world.
You haven’t understood the point. Homosexual priest abusers are a subset which is part of a much larger set of homosexual priests, most of whom are not abusers according to civil law. But of course, as practising homosexuals they are committing delicts under canon law and are therefore still blackmailable.
Therefore the problem is not paedophile bishops but homosexual bishops who have had liaisons with priests who are abusers and whose judgement is therefore compromised.
Successive popes in recent decades have urged directors of seminaries to stop passing homosexuals for ordination for precisely this reason: it creates a network of sinful priests who have a vested interest in enabling each other to sin. And those who are child abusers can fall back on this network for protection.
If this seems improbable just ask why it is that so many seminaries continue to recruit homosexuals despite repeated papal instructions not to.
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