Father Dwight Longenecker on the Sex Abuse Crisis




"However, eventually one has to cut through all that and face some truths:

Pope Francis is not going to resign. You may not like Pope Francis. You may think he is the anti-Christ or the last pope before the return of the Lord. You might think he is the best pope ever–the great reformer and all that. It really doesn’t matter. He’s the pope. He is not accountable to anyone. He likes being pope and he’s not going anywhere. You can bet on that.

The Cardinals are not going to resign. With very few exceptions, one doesn’t get to be a cardinal in the Catholic Church for lowly humility. Many of these men exhibit all the traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and believe me, those folks never admit they are wrong and they never resign.

The bishops aren’t going to resign. See number two above.

In Pope will remain silent about Vigano’s testimony. It will be put in the bottom drawer along with the dubia from the four cardinals. It will be dismissed with an eye roll and an indulgent smile therefore treating the whole matter in the same way you treat the ravings of your crazy uncle who gets all wild eyed about conspiracy theories…Bush Sr killed JFK, 9/11 was an inside job and did they fake the moon landings…

Everybody can thunder and protest all they want about Vigano’s big revelation, but they’ll be stonewalled. It will be the silent treatment.

In the Fall the American bishops will come up with a new “charter” which will be short on personal responsibility of the bishops (no one will take the blame) but it will be full of crocodile tears, lots of concern for the victims and pledges about how this will never happen again.

The charter will ignore the problem of homosexuality in the priesthood.

Various Attorney Generals will probably launch their own investigations and there will be a long, slow, humiliating display of other crimes and misdemeanors by Catholic priests over the last seven decades.

The mainstream media will give the news little attention because it will seem to implicate gay men in crimes, and that’s not allowed and also because, quite frankly, people will get bored with it all. They’ll be more interested in some celebrity’s face lift.

The real problem of sex abuse by priests will continue to go away because the new rules really will be working, and the bishops (most of whom are doing the best they can) will enforce the new policies and seminary rectors will be more careful in who they approve.

Homosexuality in the priesthood will continue, but the driving force for “gay rights” in the church will dwindle. Despite their best PR attempts to separate the abuse from homosexuality, everybody with a lick of common sense knows that over 80% of the abuse is homosexual in nature. Yes. everyone knows that doesn’t mean all people with same sex attraction are abusers, but we do know that breaking the celibacy vow creates an atmosphere of sexual permissiveness which makes abuse more likely to occur."


First link is much more positive than the quote above. It would have been nice if he included what he thinks we could do for the people in our midst who are victims of sexual abuse or what we should do if we see a church member behaving inappropriately toward children. I find it strange when people talk around the sexual abuse crisis as if the victims no longer exist in our community. I would suggest we should support them in any way they can and allow their voices to be heard.


He has the most realistic assessment and take that I’ve seen so far and gives some pretty sound advice.

There’s a lot of hand wringing and drama in the American church right now, but everywhere else, the world is still turning on its axis. Not a lot is being said over here in the UK about it, save for an occasional news article and some eye rolls about “religion”. At this point I’m not expecting some earth shattering reforms and changes and a lot of the hierarchy in today’s Church will stay complacent and corrupt, but he gives some solid advice and eventually good will win out in the end.


My uncle said that the III wasn’t about IIPJ. He asks, why would such an event be apparent in ‘60?


His quote is the most reasonable take on this I’ve read in a while.

I agree that this is primarily a US issue, and a lot of other countries don’t care, or have even come out publicly in support of the Pope.

Also that people’s attention span for news stories is super short. Most people who aren’t devout Catholics are just going to say, “yeah, priests are all sex maniacs and child abusers, it’s disgusting” and then flip over to the Chris Watts murder story or whatever the Kardashians are doing this week. The Pope knows this and knows his silence will kill the story even faster by not feeding the fire.

I’m not even sure other state AG’s will bother doing investigations like Pennsylvania. Spending a huge amount of taxpayer money on investigations that are unlikely to result in prosecutions, because the offenders are generally either dead or outside the statute of limitations, can backfire on you.


What does this mean?


I agree with assessment and wonder what we could do for the victims.


I think not. Pope Francis will answer these allegations and scandals this time around. I am not Catholic either but I do care. It has affected my faith in priests also.
I believe Pope Francis is not the LGBTQ friend many make him to look like. He is tricksy. Is a bishop allowed to be trickesy? Why not? Jesus said be innocent as lambs and wise as the snakes.
Already Pope Francis said that parents who have children who describe themselves as gay should take them to psychiatrists. Many may say he just says so. Perhaps. But him just saying so makes him not the favorite of LGBTQ organizations who dislike any critique on being gay.


His assessment might be reasonable, but it is also very cynical. I don’t consider cynicism a good thing in clergy. So, what do people DO? Where do people find COMFORT, MEANING, or UNDERSTANDING?

Edit: the first link is a bit better I suppose… :unamused:


Given all the people around him who seem to be playing politics and conniving to get ahead in their careers, he would have to be tricky just to survive in that environment.


Has anyone on here seen footage of Pope Francis when he was speaking to the reporter on the plane leaving Ireland? If so, could someone post a link to the video? I have only seen what he said in print and videos without audio. Thank you


I wouldn’t be so sure about the Pope not resigning very soon.
First, he is 80!
Second, he may have enjoyed the job while he had strong support from liberals, and from many conservatives, simply because of his office. Today the moderate conservatives in the Church are pressing hard for resignation, without usually using that word. Liberals are strangely silent, ambiguous, or even demanding he explain his actions.

In the area of clergy sex abuse, the current office holder gets the blame for unpunished predecessors. His former li eral allies, in and out of the Church, are victim-driven and are distancing from him.


We had one Pope resign in 600 years. Somehow I’m not seeing this being a regular occurrence.


I agree and I hope it does not become a regular occurrence. The Pope does not hold elective office. He doesn’t answer to the whims of the populous. He will reign as Pope so long as almighty God allows him.


At the foot of the Cross. Which was there before the clergy crisis and will be there long after the world has forgotten. Which was there during other, just as bad, scandals and was there when it wasn’t a scandal but was occurring just the same.

I get that people want answers…something NEW to do. But it’s the SAME problem (evil) with the same answer (be involved in your parish, report what you see and even what you hear, pray, fast, take the sacraments). Remember that Christ lived in world of insane evil, also and he didn’t take it out. He comforted, ministered to bodies and souls, encouraged people to pray, to do the right thing, respect their leaders and toss out their example. He occasionally get mad. He kept going. He prayed. He turned tragedy into triumph. Follow His model.

Truly. As said prior, nobody becomes Bishop from a lack of being willing to play the game. That includes the Pope. He’s skilled, quite skilled actually, at dealing with slippery questions, innuendos, blatant trap setting and forced “confessions”. Love it or hate it, but the Vicar of Christ is always going to be, in part, a political creature. He can work it for good or for evil…that is his challenge.

Agree with @Tis_Bearself, one resigned pope in 600 years, doesn’t mean it’s become a popularity contest where the Vicar of Christ has to keep the laity and (social) media happy or he’ll be demoted.


I’m not very excited about the sickening news about the clergy. There are very corrupt people who are lying to us. This is not a time to be happy. There’s quite a tsunami of backlash coming at the church, such as threats to revoke tax-exempt status of the church.

Please don’t tell me again (hint: Fr Mitch Pacwa) that there have been worse times in the Church This is OUR crisis and it’s not supposed to be about the integrity of the Church. We have other life crises and challenges. I like the metaphor that the Church is a field hospital for those who are spiritually wounded. What we actually see are a lot of brick and mortar aging monuments to fidelity, but lacking the spark of discipleship.


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