Herein lays the problem. In a roundabout way, the priest mentions the sex abuse in his sermon tonight by saying there are people in the Church who make mistakes, and sometimes come to God with their “feet dirty”, and how we should remember to be merciful. Once again, the focus and concern is on the priests and Bishops. Well those dirty footed priests have ruined lives. I just spoke to a woman whose brother committed suicide after he was abused by a priest. Frankly, I think the sexual abuse of children is way more serious than getting “dirty feet”. This is THE problem in the Church. They clergy protect each other. I would love to hear a priest actually condemn this activity from the pulpit during a sermon. They won’t because they have friends involved with this. I’m sickened. Christ certainly had something to say about those who hurt children, and it wasn’t some cute line about dirty feet, nor did he mention mercy when talking about it.
We had a very good sermon from a new priest.
He said that his heart was breaking, that our hearts were breaking, and that Mary’s heart was breaking.
This is a difficult issue especially for priests. At least, I imagine it must be.
Still, all of us are called to love, and be merciful. Not that I think that a priest who’s known to have abused children should ever be put in charge of them again. But, with proper guidelines, we all should be able to come up with policies we can live with.
I don’t see why more married men aren’t accepted into seminaries and orders. There is no prohibition…just a time-honored tradition. And, the trend, flawed as it is, is actually getting better. Now, we can at least talk about it, while, in the past, priests were simply transferred…and victims told not to tell.
Is it possible the priest was trying to be roundabout because young children in the pews?
(BTW, I do agree what you’re getting at re the gravity of this sin)
I’m sorry if I didn’t make myself clear…of course, it’s hardest on the abused children themselves! I was answering in the context of what the priest could speak about. No, children should have their feelings validated…it’s OK to be hurt, disappointed, even angry at a priest who betrayed a child’s trust. And, safe from having to deal with the offender, again, at least not in the near future!
The OP was speaking of what a priest said publically, and I meant that it must be hard to decide what to say about a fellow priest.
And, If I’m not ready to jump on the therapy/counseling bandwagon, it’s because I was sexually abused as a child…by a therapist!
Come here, and hear it
Our priests are far too lenient on other priests in this matter. The situation is an abject disgrace, and it’s alienating Catholics who believe in Christ’s mission, but who think the Church administrative is deeply flawed and dangerous to the actual faith. I count myself among them.
The Church has been very wily about how it’s proceeding to civilly disclose sex crimes. The Papacy has only required that reporting be done in jurisdictions that legally compel it; in others, no such disclosure is required. And, as is obvious from the Pennsylvania and Australia cases, that doesn’t seem to even be respected consistently. How can we trust that these priests have the correct moral and ecclesiastical interpretation in these critical matters?
I certainly don’t trust them.
These are the priests who provide pastoral care, inform on interpretation of scripture and tradition, practice as canon lawyers, sit on rotas and seminary selection committees, etc. Even Pope Francis’ initial castigation of the Chilean victims and Johnny-come-lately action engenders mistrust- why did it require his receiving public censure before he did the right thing?
It completely undermines public trust in the institutional church to see such wanton and callous disregard for the rights of children.
To correct the problem requires a wholesale cultural shift, one which would require the administrative church to step away from self-protection and insular face-saving. And that requires putting a stop to a culture of defence to priests. We must stop reifying priests as recognize their equality to the laity.
More importantly, achieving gender balance in the priesthood, openly acknowledging the existence of gay priests and not condemning them, and allowing priests to marry would attract a different class of priests and shed light in a culture that currently flourishes on secrecy and power imbalances.
In my case, I have had the privilege of knowing several excellent priests who speak out strongly against abuses and actively militate against the structures that support systematic abuses. These are the priests I trust, and whose opinions and spiritual views I follow in earnest. Those priests who don’t have a strong reaction against sexual abuses are, in my mind, tacitly condoning it, and I will discount their perspectives.
Christ wouldn’t, I believe, have idly sat by in knowledge of child rape and condoned it with mealy mouthed language such as “dirty feet”. He would have spoken forcefully, as he did with the money changers, acting swiftly on behalf of those wronged, and in staunch opposition to the injustice committed against God arising from the abuses.
I agree with almost everything you posted except for the “married priests.”
I have to admit that I agree with your wish to end the prohibition of married priests. I’ve studied the reasons for requiring celibacy, and as an ex-Evangelical Protestant, I’ve seen how damaged some pastoral families are because “daddy is always gone.”
But I think your proposal that allowing married priests would “shed light in a culture that currently flourishes on secrecy and power imbalances” makes a lot of sense and I’m willing to give “married priests” more thought. It’s definitely something that should be studied, at least in the United States. Don’t know about other countries.
HOWEVER–I think it’s important to realize that married men can and DO commit sexual sins, including abuse of women and children, and also homosexual acts with other men and with older boys. And of course, married men have affairs with other women.
Marriage does NOT stop a person who has whatever sickness or chemical imbalance or whatever causes someone to desire illicit and/or deviant sex. A wife can live with a man for decades and not realize that he is living a secret life.
I think we need to demand more stringent and honest research into what causes a sexually-mature adult to desire sex with children, and I think we need to be much more honest in our assessment of the types of abuse that are taking place among the priests of the Catholic Church. The impression that we’re getting from the secular news reports is that most of the victims are little children. Is that true? If that is true, then the priests are deviants, because most men are not aroused by little children. So why are there so many deviants in the priesthood, and HOW did they get through seminary without being discovered? This needs to stop!
But what is the percentage of teenage boys who are victimized? Is a homosexual man truly a “pervert” for getting aroused by a teenage boy? Think about it–how many heterosexual men get aroused by a teenage girl? Are these men also perverts? Of course not!
But why do the priests act on their arousal and groom or attack the teenage boy? Probably for the same reason that heterosexual men act on THEIR arousal and groom/attack a teenage girl.
BUT…if a study demonstrates that the largest percentage of priest abuse occurs between priests and teenage boys–then perhaps some stringent research needs to be done to determine why.
Until we are willing to demand honesty in research of sexual desire and behaviors, and honesty about the types of abuse that occurred in the Catholic churches, we will not know what we are fighting against and we’ll continue to fail to protect the innocent ones.
A priest once contributed to a conversation about priest sexual abuse by telliing us the age of consent in our state. Holy macaroni… Talk about tone deaf. I think the good priests just don’t know what to say.
Ours condemned it this morning at Mass.
I truly believe this. A person who sexually abuses another person is SICK. No matter if they are married not married, heterosexual or homosexual, celibate or not celibate. It is a sickness of their mind and their soul.
This is what every study, every professional says.
The vast majority of abuse of those below legal age is done by married people who are well known, often even in the family, of the under age person.
We don’t leave Jesus because of Judas.
We recently had a priest in our diocese who was arrested for sexual misconduct. I’m not going to get more specific than that about the behavior and I’m not minimizing the issue of abuse. Our bishop was very quick to send a letter out to be read by our priests at Mass regarding the matter. In the letter the bishop condemned the priest’s behavior, explained the steps the diocese had taken to remove the priest from any ministry (at that time he was still in jail) and assured us the diocese would not assist financially with any legal bills. The priest would be removed from his church owned housing and would have to make his own living arrangements if released from jail. The bishop went on to say we as Christians should pray for the soul of the priest so that God may have mercy on him.
There wasn’t a hint of trying to minimize or hide details of the priests offense, or any effort to excuse it. It was dealt with quickly and properly.
Not in the Church sexual abuse cases. They are gay priests grooming and abusing teen boys. There are some pedophiles, not as many as gay priests abusing boys.
By majority, I mean majority. The cases involving Catholic priests are a minority of the universality of abuse cases.
I’d suggest the John Jay Report to delve into the statistics.
I think you should continue to study the issue to make a valid claim. Being “gay” doesn’t make one a pedophile or hebephile (one who prefers adolescents). The vast majority of sexual offenders who prefer boys identify as heterosexual.
The goal of including married priests isn’t because married people are less likely to abuse, but because a full view of married and family life is required to effectively and meaningfully understand amd advise on pastoral morality. It’s a question of creating a culture that reflects the church body, one which is more transparent and respectful of the laity, and less single minded lay focused on the priesthood.
That’s the right response, assuming that was the first awareness that supervising bishop had of the abuse.
The numbers are the reported abuses made publI’ve, not actual ones. Teens have the least power asymmetry with abuser priests and the greatest capacity to disclose abuse and be believed.
The Australian commission into institutional sexual abuse of children included some horrifying cases of abuse of very young girls and boys, occasionally with parental complicity. I would be very unsurprised if what we know is just the tip of the iceberg, given the low general reporting rate of abuse in the general population.