“Our situation should be much better”

… says Steubenville Bishop Robert Conlon. He’s right.

John Allen’s link on the sex abuse crisis here.

The Lavender Mafia theory gets torpedoed. As does the so-called sexual revolution.

The bishops seem aware they’ve alienated many of their priests. Archbishop Curtiss blames “civil requirements,” but there’s nothing that prevents bishops from reaching out as a brother to those accused of wrongdoing.

We can’t discount the sense that clergy might believe their bishops have coddled abusers in their midst. Because of that, the standing of priests in the eyes of the laity has been tarnished. In some cases, bishops may have been criminally negligent (Santa Rosa comes to mind) yet the only forced resignation in the US episcopacy has turned into a golden Roman parachute.

The scientists have been asked to study and report on sex abuse. What the bishops might need even more is a study on what they did and how they can repair the damage they’ve done to the Church.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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8 Responses to “Our situation should be much better”

  1. caecilia says:

    “The Lavender Mafia theory gets torpedoed”

    Where exactly, in the Allen piece toi which you linked?
    I don’t see any such reference.
    Watching the proceeding, I thought Dr. Terry said they were investifating a link to sexual orientation.

    “As does the so-called sexual revolution.”
    And agian, I may have misheard, but
    I thought she said they WERE looking into societal links, which would include the “sexual revolution, ” sexual liberation, homosexual empowerment, etc.

    I’m not saying there are any causative links, (how I would have interpreted the meaning of your “theory gets torpedoed”,) merely that nothing was particularly confirmed in the presentation made by Dr Terry and Miss Smith.

  2. caecilia says:

    I should add, the idea I inferred from you post, that the more serious long term damage was done by the bishops, I heartly endorse.

  3. Tony says:

    The Lavender Mafia theory gets torpedoed.

    Then do you have a reason why over 80% of the reported cases of abuse were against post-pubescent boys?

  4. Todd says:

    Tony, depending on where one places pubescence, the over-13 boys figure is 73% I believe. I think the overall percentage of reported male victims is 83%.

    The main reason is accessibility. Priests today have never had more access to girls–and their historical access has been limited.

  5. Liam says:

    And there were priests – John Geoghan comes immediately to mind – who insisted they were straight but they believed their actions with boys (as opposed to girls) would not violate their vows. Don’t laugh – remember, we are in a culture that redefines the boundaries of what “sex” is quite self-servingly (eg, not counting anything other than genital-genital sex).

  6. Tony says:

    Liam, good point.

    Todd, I think you’re trying to explain away the elephant in the room. I know that parish priests in my day had plenty of access to girls. Even before “altar girls” were common.

    So this seems to be a “choice” issue. But I’m looking at this from a straight guy perspective. I don’t find boys even remotely attractive. And I don’t think I would do so even after years of self chosen celibacy.

  7. Todd says:

    Tony, in my day, it was not unusual for a priest to show “special” interest in a boy–and many parents, teachers, etc. passed it off as fostering vocations. Much of that activity was entirely normal, but some was just a cover. I went to a co-ed high school, but women’s and men’s orders each had charge of same-gender kids.

    You’re also assuming that adult-child sex is always about attraction. It’s not. Often, if not usually it’s about domination, control, and humiliation. And that can be done sexually while avoiding direct genital contact.

  8. Liam says:

    To further Todd’s point, it’s often about the emotional need to project domination/control/humiliation onto a younger, idealized person. That person is a mere object of this energy. That’s the emotional violence it has in common with lust (as opposed to mere desire or attraction, which are not lust of themselves), even if it’s not sexual attraction. The attraction here is primarily (even almost exclusively in some cases) emotional. Teachers and clergy are particularly prone to this, it seems, because the idealization of them and their charges is fertile ground for this emotional objectification. It’s just that public schools have sovereign immunity and typically have more busybodies who get in the way of the privileged access that was formerly more common in church settings.

    Btw, one unspoken battle that is fought as an undercurrent has very much to do with that culture of idealization; many people are still quite vested in it and fear those who are trashing it for the opposite reason. Some might say that’s the “work of the devil” but I would say that diagnosis as a general description was mightily overblown (though it obviously might be true in individual cases).

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