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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Posted on: Tuesday, June 18, 2019
This article was first posted at NCRegister.com June 11, 2019.
By Edward Pentin
ROME — In comments sent via email to The Washington Post, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has accused Pope Francis of “deliberately concealing” evidence on Theodore McCarrick, “blatantly lying” to cover up his own actions and doing “absolutely nothing” to expose cover-up and wrongdoing because it would be “disastrous for the current papacy.”
But in his first lengthy interview since his testimony last year, the former nuncio to the United States told the newspaper June 10 that nothing would make him “happier” than for Francis to “acknowledge and end the coverups” over McCarrick and other abuse cases and to “reconcile himself with God.”
“I am grateful to the Lord because He has protected me from having any sentiments of anger or resentment against Pope Francis, or any desire for revenge,” he said. “I pray for his conversion every day.”
The retired Holy See diplomat also said he is “not fighting against Pope Francis, nor have I offended him” but “simply spoken the truth.” The Holy Father, he said, “needs to reconcile himself with God.”
Elsewhere in the interview, the former nuncio called for McCarrick to be excommunicated to help bring him to repentance, said he believes McCarrick’s laicization was timed “to manipulate public opinion,” and reiterated his belief that a largely homosexual “mafia” is primarily responsible for this “truly dark moment for the universal Church.”
Archbishop Viganò also admitted his own mistakes, saying “in retrospect” that “certain points” of his own testimony, such as his call on the Pope to resign, “could have been better stated” and made dependent on the Pope not admitting his errors and asking for forgiveness.
The Washington Post interview began with an assessment of the four-day Vatican summit in February on protection of minors in the Church. Archbishop Viganò said he was “praying intensely” for its success but that it turned out to be “pure ostentation” as he did not see any “genuine willingness” to deal with the “real causes of the present crisis.”
He criticized the choice of Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago as the event leader, especially in light of the U.S. cardinal’s earlier comments that the Pope had a “bigger agenda” to address. Archbishop Viganò also said the summit press conferences were “discouraging” and that an “especially serious problem” was that the summit focused on exclusively on abuse of minors and did not include abuse of young adults and seminarians. Nor did it “properly” address the problem of homosexuality in the priesthood, he said.
Archbishop Viganò spoke of “truly ominous” signs, saying he believes the Pope is doing “close to nothing” to punish abuses and “absolutely nothing” to expose and bring abusers to justice. He pointed out that Francis praised Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., for his “nobility” when he resigned last fall, even though Cardinal Wuerl had, according to Archbishop Viganò, “covered up the abuses” of McCarrick for “decades.”.
McCarrick’s laicization in February, shortly before the Vatican summit began, was “as far as it goes, a just punishment,” Archbishop Viganò told The Post, but he said the procedures and timing were “designed to manipulate public opinion” and give the appearance the Pope was “determined to fight” against clerical sex abuse.
Also, by the Pope making the laicization “definitive,” the Holy Father was able to rule out any “further investigation” that could have exposed the guilt of others, the archbishop said. “The bottom line is this,” he said. “Pope Francis is deliberately concealing the McCarrick evidence.”
He added that from the “far more important spiritual dimension,” laicization is “completely inadequate” as it fails to consider the “salvation of McCarrick’s soul.” He said he thought he was not alone in thinking that excommunication would be appropriate as it would “induce him to take responsibility for his sins,” repent and be reconciled with God.
Asked about the Vatican’s intervention at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting last November, stopping bishops from voting on measures to hold bishops more responsible on overseeing abuse cases, Archbishop Viganò said such a measure was “wholly unjustified.” Without that intervention, he believes unquestionably episcopal corruption, abuse and other misconduct would have been examined that would “intolerably implicate and embarrass the Holy See.”
Pleading the Fifth?
Turning to his own earlier testimony from August 2018, Archbishop Viganò told the Post that “no one has plausibly denied the facts,” some of which “have been independently confirmed.” He also said the prelates he named in his testimony as being involved in, or having knowledge about the McCarrick mishandling are lying low, and he wondered why journalists are “letting them get away with this.”
On the Pope’s response to remain silent, he said: “Is it not what you Americans call ‘taking the fifth’? By responding as he did, the Pope is essentially admitting that he is unwilling to be transparent.”
Francis knew of McCarrick’s crimes, “yet rehabilitated him” and made him a trusted adviser, he added, but by not discussing this the Pope was showing “contempt” for both victims and those wanting an end to cover-ups, he said. Archbishop Viganò said later in the Post interview that he believes the Vatican’s archival investigation into McCarrick, announced last October, was an “empty promise.”
Referring to the Pope’s most recent interview, in which Francis said he’d replied “many times” about the McCarrick affair, knew nothing about McCarrick’s abuses, and couldn’t recall a 2013 conversation with Archbishop Viganò about McCarrick, the former nuncio asked: “How may these claims be affirmed and sustained together at the same time? All these three are blatant lies.”
In particular, he repeated his allegation that Francis asked him specifically about McCarrick during that conversation, and that he told the newly elected Pope about the existence of a “huge dossier” on McCarrick’s abuses. “How could anybody, especially a pope, forget this?”
“We are in a truly dark moment for the universal Church,” the archbishop added. “The Supreme Pontiff is now blatantly lying to the whole world to cover up his wicked deeds! But the truth will eventually come out, about McCarrick and all the other coverups, as it already has in the case of Cardinal Wuerl.”
Archbishop Viganò, who said he has been receiving an “incredible outpouring of support,” rejected the accusation, made in an open letter from Cardinal Marc Ouellet last October, that he was motivated by bitterness from thwarted ambition. In any case, he said, “motivation is not the point,” but “whether my testimony is true.” He said those who “impugn my motives” have been unwilling to “conduct open and thorough investigations.”
He went on to say he was “saddened” that news media are not insisting that the Holy Father and other prelates “answer my charges” and believes it is because they favor Francis’ “more liberal agenda.” He asked why no media have searched the archives themselves, interviewing victims, following money trails, and investigating corrupt networks.
As one of “so many cases to go after,” he referred to a new book by Martha Alegria Reichmann about the “misdeeds” of Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga (Alegria discussed the contents of her book with Register in April). “Have you thought of interviewing her? Of investigating her claims?” he asked the Post.
Turning to homosexuality, and drawing on a recent studies including by Father Paul Sullins of the Ruth Institute, he said it is “mind-boggling” how the Vatican has avoided bringing it up at the February summit and recent synods, when the evidence of its preponderance in sexual abuse is “overwhelming.”
He said a “gay mafia” is bound together not by “shared sexual intimacy” but through protection and advancement, the “homosexual cliques” Benedict XVI mentioned in his “notes” compiled for the Vatican abuse summit. The archbishop then reproduced relevant passages on homosexuality from the Catechism.
Archbishop Viganò told the Post he regretted not publicly speaking up earlier about McCarrick, but thought the Church “could reform itself from within.” He said when it became clear the Pope was one of those covering up the crimes, “I had no doubt the Lord was calling me to speak up, as I have done and will continue to do.”
He said he believes a formal schism is unlikely, but that a “de facto schism based on acceptance or rejection of the sexual revolution” already exists.
He also admitted his testimony could have been handled better. “I am far from perfect,” he said, and would have reworded his initial statement to urge the Holy Father to “face up to his commitments,” pointed out St. Peter’s denials of Christ and subsequent repentance, and call on the Pope to resign only if he failed to imitate St. Peter by refusing to repent.
Asked how he feels in his conscience, Archbishop Viganò said he did what he believed needed to be done, knowing he would soon meet the “Good Judge.” He also did not want falsehoods to go unchallenged and “harm my soul and the souls of others.” His conscience “has always been clear,” he said, and that the “truth makes us free.”
Referring to how he was pushed out of his curial position in 2011 because he was uncovering corruption, Archbishop Viganò said, “Little did they know that the Lord was using them to put me in a position to speak out about the McCarrick scandal.”
He hinted that he is holding relevant documentation but said “the time has not yet come for me to release anything,” and suggested journalists ask the Pope and the prelates he mentioned in his testimony to “release the relevant documentation, some of which is quite incriminating, assuming they have not yet destroyed it.”
He concluded by observing that this crisis “is causing an institutional paralysis that is immensely demoralizing for the faithful,” but “we should be neither entirely surprised nor overly disturbed by this desperate state of affairs, given the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s promise to come again and establish his definitive kingdom.”
Archbishop Viganò, who began the interview by saying the Church is “going through one of the most turbulent moments in her history,” ended it by quoting paragraph 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The paragraph states the Church must pass through a “final trial that will shake the faith of many believers” and that the persecution that “accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.”
Posted on: Tuesday, June 18, 2019
This article was first published on The Washington Post June 10, 2019. In the article, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò quotes the Ruth Institute's special report by Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D. The report is called "Receding Waves: Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests since 2000" and can be found here.
The part of the article where Fr. Sullins' report is quoted is here: (The WP reporter's question is in bold.)
Let’s keep two arenas distinct: (1) crimes of sexual abuse and (2) criminal coverup of crimes of sexual abuse. In most cases in the Church today, both have a homosexual component — usually downplayed — that is key to the crisis.
As to the first, heterosexual men obviously do not choose boys and young men as sexual partners of preference, and approximately 80 percent of the victims are males, the vast majority of which are post-pubescent males. Statistics from many different countries regarding sexual abuses committed by clergy leave no doubt. Horrific as the cases of abuse by true pedophiles are, the percentage is far smaller. It is not pedophiles but gay priests preying on post-pubertal boys who have bankrupted the U.S. dioceses. One of the most recent and reliable studies, “Is Catholic clergy sex abuse related to homosexual priests,” was conducted by Father Paul Sullins, PhD, of the Ruth Institute. In its executive summary, the Sullins study reports, among other things, the following:
● “The share of homosexual men in the priesthood rose from twice that of the general population in the 1950s to eight times the general population in the 1980s. This trend was strongly correlated with increasing child sex abuse.”
● “Estimates from these findings predict that, had the proportion of homosexual priests remained at the 1950s level, at least 12,000 fewer children, mostly boys, would have suffered abuse.”
The preponderance of these cases of abuse is overwhelming. I do not think anyone can dispute this. That homosexuality is a major cause of the sexual abuse crisis has also been stated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in his recent essay, “The Church and the scandal of sexual abuse.” From his long experience as president of the CDF, he recalls how “in various seminaries homosexual cliques were established, which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in the seminaries.”
Posted on: Thursday, June 13, 2019
Jennifer Roback Morse to Appear on EWTN This Evening, June 13, 2019
In a June 10 interview with The Washington Post, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, (Apostolic Nuncio to the United States from 2011 to 2016) cited the Ruth Institute study, “Is Catholic clergy sex abuse related to homosexual priests”.
Archbishop Vigano called the Institute’s report, conducted by Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., “One of the most recent and reliable studies.”
The Archbishop said that in the report’s executive summary, Fr. Sullins noted: “The share of homosexual men in the priesthood rose from twice that of the general population in the 1950s to eight times the general population in the 1980s. This trend was strongly correlated with increasing child sex abuse.”
Such recognition in one of the most prominent liberal newspapers in America, but one influential in the nation’s capital, was most welcome.
An interview with Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D. will be broadcast on “The World Over” with Raymond Arroyo on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) this evening at 8 pm ET. The interview will focus on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in Baltimore, where clergy sexual abuse is expected to be discussed.
Click here for the Washington Post interview.
Posted on: Monday, June 10, 2019
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published April 26, 2019, at Crisis Magazine.
[Chuck Colson with Pope John Paul II]
The death of a father is an earth-shattering event. When my father died in 1993, I felt disoriented. I had never been in a world that did not include him. I could feel myself move up the generational ladder. No one is above me any longer. No one who matters stands above me. When I tried to describe this to older people, they immediately understood. Old men spoke to me of the deaths of their own fathers, in the hushed tones normally reserved for the sacred.
I thought of this when I learned that Father James V. Schall, S.J., had died. He was a father to me as to many. We have all just taken a step up the generational ladder. He won’t be there anymore. Younger people will look to us now at times when we would have looked to him.
I first met Fr. Schall at an Acton Institute event in the 1990s. I was still teaching economics at George Mason and had two small children at home. I was delighted to find that Fr. Schall taught at Georgetown, more or less in my back yard.
When I went to see him, he received me in the visitors’ lounge at the Jesuit Residence. After our conversation, he walked me out to my car. When I opened the back door of my car, he noticed the condition of the interior. I was ready to be embarrassed about the evidence of small children on the floor. But then he smiled and said, “A family car.” The love on his face was palpable. I can honestly say I had never felt so supported by any other academic colleague.
I was, after all, surrounded by economists, believers in the pursuit of a self-interest that would somehow work out in the end to the benefit of all. Most of my colleagues were at best bewildered by the time I was taking to care for my children. Some were downright hostile.
Little did I realize how much Fr. Schall, the care of my children, and economics would intersect.
A few years later, we were together at a conference on the family. He asked the question, “What is owed to the child?” I felt myself recoil from the question. I saw that same recoil from the other professors. We all wanted the answer to be, “Nothing.” Or at least, we wanted to believe that the child was owed “nothing that would impinge on my choice of sex life and living arrangements.” I was beginning to see that this answer could not be correct. I had a dim awareness that the legitimate entitlements of children impose, in turn, legitimate demands on adults. These demands were the cause of our recoil.
Children are entitled to love and care from their own parents. They are entitled to know the identity of their parents, which is, in a profound way, connected to their own identity. And children desperately need for their parents to love one another. Fr. Schall, of course, already knew all that. That is why he posed the question as he did.
Eventually, I could no longer ignore the implications of what I was coming to know. I left my tenured position at George Mason to follow my husband to Silicon Valley. He got on the dot-com roller coaster. I stayed home with the kids and got a part-time research position at the Hoover Institution. Some of my academic friends thought I had lost my mind. Others lost interest in me. I became an academic nonperson.
Fr. Schall, on the other hand, both understood and approved. For a long time, I felt he was my lifeline to the life of the mind.
I no longer recoil from the obligations children place upon adult society. But would I have figured it out without Fr. Schall’s penetrating questions and loving support? Possibly. But not likely.
We may well react to Fr. Schall’s death by saying, “We shall not see his like again.” In one sense, this is certainly true. He was a giant among the Jesuits, from a time when they were men of vast learning and deep sanctity. His death marks the end of that era.
But in another sense, I refuse to say we shall not see his like again. We ourselves have a responsibility to live up to the legacy he left us. I recall the death of another great man, Chuck Colson, in 2012. Like Fr. Schall, Chuck left an outsized footprint: Prison Fellowship, BreakPoint, the Wilberforce Forum, and Evangelicals and Catholics Together.
He also mentored and inspired numerous young people. Many of us gathered for his funeral at the National Cathedral. I remember shuddering: he’s gone; Who can replace him?
At the reception afterwards, we young protégés of his realized that we had all asked that question. We came to the same answer. No one would replace him exactly. And yet, each of us would have to replace him in our own sphere. We owed it to him to live out our vocations as thoroughly and competently as he had lived his. I sensed this commitment in that room, among us all in our various callings to ministry, academia, media, and politics.
This is the answer, the only answer really, to Fr. Schall’s death. No one is coming. God is not sending us a man on a white horse to save us. God sent us. We are the adults now. The young people are looking up to us. There is no longer anyone above us. It is on us now.
In that deeper sense, each of us will indeed be exactly like Fr. Schall, and Chuck Colson, and our own fathers, in exactly the way that matters most.
Author’s note: I would like to express my gratitude for Fr. Schall’s generous reviews of my The Sexual State and Love and Economics, as well as his inclusion of Love and Economics on his famous reading lists.
(Photo credit: L’Osservatore Romano)
Posted on: Friday, June 07, 2019
We must not cling to certainty beyond what the facts allow. Infiltration, under-researched and over-stated, fails to meet this standard.
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published May 31, 2019, at The Catholic World Report.
In Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within, Dr. Taylor Marshall purports to show that the Catholic Church has been infiltrated by Freemasons and Communists. Already ahead of its release, the hardcover was ranked #1 in several Amazon.com categories. The interest in this book testifies to the hunger for an explanation for the current chaos in the Catholic Church.
Unfortunately, Dr. Marshall’s book comes nowhere near providing the enlightenment it promises.
Have Freemasons placed their agents within high positions in the Church? Marshal cites a 19th-century document showing that the Freemasons wanted to subvert the Church. But showing they wanted to infiltrate the Church does not prove that they actually succeeded. He cites a list of purported Freemasons that circulated around the short pontificate of John Paul I in 1978. The fact that someone circulates a list doesn’t prove the list was accurate. These facts are the beginning of a serious investigation, not the conclusion.
He shows that the town of Sankt Galen has a historical connection with Freemason and Satanic groups. He places a young Theodore McCarrick in the town of Sankt Galen in 1949. Unfortunately, simply placing these people and institutions in the same location does not tell us what they did or indeed whether they did anything at all. Indeed, Marshall himself says, “One cannot help but wonder if Sankt Galen served as an infiltration center for recruiting young men to infiltrate the priesthood. Perhaps the arrival of the fatherless Theodore McCarrick to Sankt Gallen…” (emphasis added).
In other words, Marshall is speculating, not proving. Once again, the beginning, not the end, of a serious investigation.
Likewise, to “prove” the claim that the Communists infiltrated the priesthood, Marshall cites Bella Dodd’s testimony to the House Un-American Activities Committee. She claimed that the Communists had placed more than 1,000 agents in the priesthood, including four men who were cardinals. However, she does not name a single name. Rather than seek corroborating evidence, Marshall takes Dodd’s statements at face value. He tries to work out who the four cardinals might have been. Of the cardinals he considers most likely, he presents no evidence that any of them spent a single day in or near Moscow or a Communist training group, or that any had a single encounter with a confirmed Soviet agent.
Even JFK conspiracy theorists (“Lee Harvey Oswald was a Soviet agent”) can point to Oswald’s time in the Soviet Union.
I am not setting an impossibly high standard: serious research into Soviet covert operations can now be done. For instance, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, formerly of the Romanian Army, and University of Mississippi Law Professor Ronald Rychlak have shown that the Soviets created an elaborate disinformation campaign to smear Pope Pius XII as “Hitler’s Pope,” starting with the play The Deputy. Rychlak wrote an entire book assembling the evidence and documenting his case; Pacepa was the highest-ranking intelligence official ever to defect from the Soviet Bloc. The combination of Rychlak’s research and Pacepa’s testimony leaves no doubt that the Soviets wanted to discredit the Catholic Church. But did the Soviets successfully place agents in the priesthood who are still operating to undermine the Church? Perhaps. Infiltration’s brief chapter adds nothing to the evidence provided by serious scholars such as Rychlak and Paul Kengor, author of numerous books on the Soviet era.
The most startling instance of under-researched but over-stated conclusion occurs in the chapter entitled, “Infiltration in John Paul II’s Pontificate.” Marshall says: “Fr. Marcial Maciel was also able to walk between the raindrops through bribes given to Monsignor Stanislaw Dziwisz, beloved friend and counselor or John Paul II.” The context of this remarkable statement is that Marshall is describing the changes to canon law during John Paul’s reign. Marshall asks rhetorically, “Why did the Code of Canon Law under John Paul II remove the language of ‘adultery,’ ‘bestiality,’ and ‘sodomy’ from clerical punishment?” He provides no research to answer this question.
Instead, Marshall’s statement leaves us to draw conclusions from a chain of inferences. 1) John Paul II personally revised the Code of Canon Law to reduce the penalties for clerical sexual misconduct; 2) he did this for no good reason whatsoever; 3) he did it because Marcial Maciel, who was guilty of sexual misconduct, bribed Dziwisz.
Surely this is a serious charge. It deserves more substantiation than Marshall’s drive-by character assassination. In my opinion, this is an appalling lapse of scholarship and judgement, not to mention charity.
We humans crave certainty. We are comforted by being sure that we are correct. Critics of religion sometimes claim that this desire is the sign of an immature, gullible mind. I do not agree. The desire for knowledge is part of the longing for truth. I believe God placed these desires in every human heart, so we will seek him.
The current crisis of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up creates a cloud of suspicion over just about everyone. We do not know if a beloved priest accused of sexual abuse is the innocent victim of a frame-up or the guilty perpetrator of fraud, along with his other crimes. We do not know if a person making an accusation is telling the truth, exaggerating, or inventing out of whole cloth. Under these circumstances, the impulse to latch on to a global explanation for all our problems is completely understandable. The urge to blame Those Bad Guys Over There is almost irresistible.
But however understandable, we should resist the urge to embrace more assurance than the facts allow. I issue this challenge to anyone who has Infiltration in their possession. Read Chapter 9, “Communist Infiltration of the Priesthood,” with this question in mind. “If someone I care about were being investigated for a serious crime, would I be satisfied by the amount and type of evidence presented in this chapter?” If the answer is “no,” set this book aside and give serious thought to whether you want to commit to its thesis.
Even if the Freemasons and Communists did infiltrate the Church (which is by no means certain), that does not change our basic responsibility. What the Church needs now is saints, lots and lots of saints, saints who are teachers and priests and doctors and nurses and attorneys and mothers and fathers and yes, book authors and editors.
All of us must do our part to be as truthful and loving as we can be. Reach out to victims. Inform ourselves to the best of our ability. And resist the urge to run after superficial explanations and artificial certainty.
Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within
by Dr. Taylor Reed Marshall
Sophia Institute Press, 2019
Hardcover, 224 pages
Posted on: Tuesday, June 04, 2019
by Rev. Ben Johnson
This article was first published February 8, 2019, at Acton.org.
The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why The Church Was Right All Along
Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.
TAN Books, 2018. 406 pages.
Reviewed by Rev. Ben Johnson
Keen-eyed analysts have probed every ideological trend threatening liberty – from socialism and fascism to the Alt-Right – with one glaring exception: the revolt against personal responsibility. Jennifer Roback Morse, the founder of the Ruth Institute, capably fills this void in The Sexual State. Building on her previous book Love and Economics, Morse summarizes the sexual revolution in just a few propositions: It separates children from sexual activity and marriage, and eradicates all differences between men and women. This apparent personal freedom expands government by creating new avenues for regulation, increasing the need for means-tested welfare programs, and breaking down the “little society of the family.”
No public program can care for children as fully, selflessly, or naturally as two parents in a lifelong, committed union. From a social standpoint, Morse writes, the genius of marriage as a social institution is that its “extremely minimal legal structure” creates “a largely self-regulating, voluntary system of long-term cooperation between parents.”
Thus, we should not be surprised to learn that totalitarians of all stripes have sought to control the family. Inside the family, people develop loyalties to real people, not the Dear Leader. They develop habits that may not further the interests of the totalitarian State, with its all-embracing designs on every person. Inside the family, people may commit to ideas other than the state-sanctioned ideology.
The new ideology co-opted Marxism’s dialectic of inevitability, now known as standing on “the right side of history.” However, this ideology finds advocates across the political spectrum.
Certain factions of the liberty movement embrace the Liberationist Narrative – something she calls “the Walmart theory of sex” – which celebrates changes to family life for giving us greater choice and agency. “Under a no-fault legal regime, we are freer on the front end” of a divorce or paternity settlement, Morse writes. “But we are less free on the back end, as the State steps in to manage the consequences.” Divorce courts dictate the time and money parents spend on their children, the language spoken in the home, even such mundane decisions as a child’s prom dress. This degree of intrusion into an intact family would be “unthinkable.”
Family breakdown, whether through divorce or illegitimacy, strongly harms children and beckons the government to fill the void left by absent parents. “Increases in the likelihood of poverty, physical illness, mental illness, poor school performance, and crime have all been associated with being separated from a parent,” Morse writes. This elevated risk persists even in nations as committed to egalitarianism and progressive social values as Sweden. Such pathologies usher children into the welfare system where, once inside, a matrix of laws holds them in place. Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, and WIC eligibility guidelines disfavor marriage. The cost of family breakdown to the U.S. government alone totals an estimated $100 to $112 billion, Morse notes, adding that studies show the same phenomenon increases welfare spending in New Zealand, the UK, and Canada. “The ordinary tax-paying citizen faces a greater tax burden than otherwise would be the case as a direct result of what, by the Liberationist Narrative, is an increase in sexual freedom,” Morse writes.
Similarly, gender ideology “creates a separation between children and their parents and inserts the State between them,” as the “State sets itself up as the public enforcer of their new identities.” In Minnesota, a school district facilitated a minor’s gender transition without parental notification. Laws now police the permissible use of pronouns.
“Civil libertarians, fiscal conservatives, and open-minded liberals should all be troubled by the actual results as opposed to the supposed benefits of this ‘freedom,’” Morse writes.
References to “class warfare” and “class analysis” may lead some reviewers to caricature the book as a rejection of a free society. Nothing could be further from the truth. Morse, who highlights her “affiliations with all three of the major schools of free market economics,” ascribes changed cultural mores to excusing the libidinous excesses of “the managerial elite”: the nexus of academics, lobbyists, government bureaucrats, thought leaders, and mass media sharing the same narrative. Yet she defines the term by noting:
The managerial class goes beyond the purely class designation in this respect: it’s built upon the idea that society is something that needs to be managed. … Seldom have the privileged classes taken it upon themselves to “nudge” their neighbors and fellow citizens about their eating habits, sex lives, spending habits, personal safety, and even their thoughts. …
Legal historian Joseph Dellapenna observes that the rise of the managerial class was not unique to the United States in the twentieth century. “The managerial class rose to dominance in the U.S. with the New Deal in the 1930s, and has continued to dominate ever since. … Evidence of the transition to social domination by a managerial class can be traced back to the nineteenth century, particularly in England. Nor was this transition limited to western or capitalist nations. In a real sense, the rise of Communism and Socialism was nothing more or (less) than a rise of the managerial class.”
“Ponder that last sentence for a while,” Morse writes.
Somehow, an a historical breed of Christian – especially Roman Catholic – intellectual believes he will capture, sanctify, and redirect the vast apparatus of the State toward theologically approved ends. Assuming an entrenched bureaucracy will simply acknowledge defeat and implement an opposing viewpoint seems naïve, albeit less so than the notion that the State’s coercive power will forever remain in holy hands. Revolutionaries yearn to control the levers of power more than those who believe in natural law, if only because the State need not compel actions that occur naturally.
Morse roots her hope for the future in nature and culture. An entire chapter defends the notion that differences between men and women are real, biologically based, and ineradicable. Each section ends by presenting the relevant Catholic teaching, which she describes as “the common heritage of all Christians.” And she remembers the victims of the sexual revolution in each chapter, showing the very real toll that comes from shunning self-restraint and refusing to deny instant and perpetual gratification. True liberty rests on the foundation of personal responsibility or sinks into the quicksand of the paternal state.
Morse concludes with a 15-point “Manifesto for the Family,” two-thirds of which consists of asking the government to “stop doing things it never had any business doing in the first place.” Virtually unique in political literature, her last three proposals can be adopted only by individuals. Building a “civilization of love” literally begins in each human heart. That private sanctuary, the link between the individual conscience and the fiery flame of divine love, kept the spark of civilization alive after the barbarian sack of Rome, times of plague and pestilence, and through the dark night of atheistic Communism. That flame can outshine the strange fires of fallen passions and realign society according to its light again.
Posted on: Friday, May 31, 2019
Press Conference on Latest Report from Fr. Paul Sullins: “Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests Since 2000”
May 31, 2019 For Immediate Release
For More Information, Contact: Rachel Golden firstname.lastname@example.org
On June 6, The Ruth Institute will hold an exclusive online press conference to release a new report by Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D. The new report, Receding Waves: Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests since 2000 , finds that male victimization and homosexual priests rose together through the 1980s. They have also fallen together more recently. The report also shows that the proportion of female victims has risen.
However, overall, Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., warns: “There has been a disturbing rise of the sexual abuse of children by priests after reaching an all-time low just after 2002.”
Morse continued, “The good news is that since 2000, only a small fraction of overall cases of abuse (11%), has been perpetrated by newly ordained priests (those who have been priests less than 10 years), while 52% has been perpetrated by priests ordained 30 years ago or longer.”
Among its recommendations, the report urged, “Catholics must remain vigilant in protecting all minors against clerical sexual abuse.” Further, “The Church or interested lay organizations should increase educational programs on authentic Church teachings on human sexuality.” An Executive Summary of the Report can be found here.
The press conference will take place on June 6, at noon EST. More information, including log-in instructions can be found here.
Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., is a retired Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of America and is currently a Senior Research Associate at the Ruth Institute.
For more information on Fr. Sullins’ earlier report on clergy sex abuse, please visit: http://www.ruthinstitute.org/
Ruth Institute President, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, is the author of “The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why the Church Was Right All Along,” and has spent decades working with survivors of the Sexual Revolution
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family in the public arena. On April 26-27, the Institute held a Summit for Survivors of Sexual Revolution in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The Summit included discussions of the long-term impact of childhood sexual abuse.
Find more information on the Ruth Institute here.
Posted on: Tuesday, May 28, 2019
It's one way to have happy kids, a new book points out.
by Mary Cooney and Betsy Kerekes
This article was first published May 7, 2019, at Mercatornet.com.
There is no doubt that parents today face tremendous challenges. Sometimes these challenges are overwhelming and stressful. Parents of young children and teens will appreciate Betsy Kerekes’ wisdom and comic relief in her newly released book, Be a Happier Parent or Laugh Trying. In this interview, she shares with Mary Cooney some advice on how to be a happier parent.
* * * * *
Early in your book you write, “Parenting is hard, but it doesn’t have to be a burden.” What is your advice for dealing with the burdens of parenting? How can we be happier despite the stresses and challenges of parenting?
I find myself taking deep breaths. A lot. It does help, like when all your children are talking to you at once or when, instead of napping, you find your toddler stripped to the skin, diaper on floor, and suspicious looking wet spots on the carpet.
That’s when I shake my head and sigh while looking forward to telling my husband about it when he gets home. Stuff like that happens all the time. Parents need to expect it so it’s not so devastating when it occurs. We learn quickly that the rules of civilized society go out the window once you introduce an infant into your home. I’ve found that the most important thing to learn is letting go. Relax your expectations for a clean home, perfect nutrition for your children at every meal, and all bodily fluids remaining on the inside or at least, going where they are meant to go.
It’s also about perspective. The crazy stories will be remembered fondly, and the child in question will love hearing them when he or she is older. (Mine do, anyway.) There are both difficulties and delights at every age. Focusing on the delights and finding humor in the difficulties is how to make it through virtually unscathed.
Furthermore, look for the silver lining. When your kids splash water all over the floor while bathing, wipe it up with a towel, and voila! You’ve just cleaned your bathroom floor. The day I cleaned the bathroom mirror, it was splattered with water marks from top to bottom two hours later. The girls had cleaned their little brother’s hands and feet in the sink and merriment naturally ensued. My first thought was the clean mirror was nice while it lasted, but then I realized the watermarks were a reminder that my children washed their brother themselves and while doing so, he had a blast. I left the spots and the bathroom with a smile. The water marks served as a reminder that my daughters are helpful and love their brother. That makes me happy.
This would be an article all itself. I devote a chapter each to discipline and dealing with temper tantrums. I’ll share with you a couple of bonus tricks that aren’t in the book because they happened too recently. The first is to become a magician, whose success lies in misdirection. Here’s what happened: My darling nearly-two-year old Joe wanted to eat peanut butter while sitting in my chair. This meant peanut butter smears on my chair, the table, and the wall were a distinct possibility. Joe didn’t want to get in his high chair. I put him in anyway, despite his loud protests. Here’s where the misdirection comes in: I gave him the back-up bib when his favorite bib is in the wash. Suddenly his attention and tears were focused on this odious flap of fabric intent on strangling him if he didn’t immediately yank it off. I removed the offensive shirt-protector and replaced it with his beloved bib. Suddenly, he was no longer crying. Having forgotten the indignity of being forced into his high chair, he was happy to have “won” the Great Bib Debacle of 2019. All was right in his world, and his high chair tray was much easier to clean.
Another trick is what I call “Ending a hissy fit with a kissy fit.” My youngest daughter was moping about having to do her math worksheet. I sat beside her to lend a hand. Knowing intrinsically, it seems, of my less than stellar math skills, this gesture didn’t bolster her confidence. Mid-whine, I smothered her with kisses. At first, she tried to block me, but was soon laughing so hard I had to give her breathing breaks. Then, when she thought the onslaught was over, I started the tirade of affection all over again. Finally, we began: “Okay, question one says…” and I was all over her again, just for good measure. Her mood was improved, and my limited abilities somehow sustained us through third grade mathematics.
When all else fails, be a ridiculous goof ball. Another one of my daughters was sighing heavily over her schoolwork. I called from the other room, “I hear a child in distress! Supermom to the rescue!” and “flew” to her, arms out like Superman. Then I repeated my entrance holding my hair back like it was flapping in the wind, and again with the back of my shirt flapping. She said, “Moooo-oom,” in mock-disapproval, wearing a broad smile. I didn’t even need to help her after that. She got to work without further complaint.
You also write, “To be a good parent, we must set the right example by our attitude and demeanor.” What is the attitude we should take? And how do we keep a calm demeanor when our kids are acting up?
Again, deep breaths. And when necessary, send the child out of hearing range for your sanity and everyone else’s. My friend turns on loud music to drown out a whining child, and to steal his thunder. It’s not much fun to throw a fit and be ignored, so do your best to ignore him/her. Don’t torture yourself by getting brought down by a crabby kid.
One reason we need to set the right example and remain calm as much as possible is that we may inadvertently teach our children to lie when we lose our temper. Here’s an example from the book:
Imagine you’re potty training your child. (Did you just shudder? My apologies.) Now imagine you take your child to the potty, but she doesn’t want to go. You try again later and still nothing. You ask her if she needs to go. She insists she doesn’t. Next thing you know, her pants are wet. You, frustrated by the whole experience, kind of lose it. “Look what you did! Now I have to wash you up and find clean clothes and…” Unbeknownst to you, this reaction is teaching your child to lie in order to avoid seeing you angry or be yelled at. You can express disappointment, sure, but remain calm and patient. You want your child to feel safe coming to you with the truth when she ran a purple marker across the back of the white couch or when he threw a ball indoors and knocked over a lamp.
Why are fun and humor so important in raising children?
Recently my sister said to me, “How do parents without a sense of humor survive?” I didn’t know how to answer her. It would be so difficult not knowing how to crack up at calamities. Facebook is helpful for parents in that we can share with one another the chaos that occurs in our homes. The thumbs up or “haha” face, plus the commiseration, are like virtual therapy.
I’ve frequently thought, after witnessing something insane, “There’s something for the blog, at least.” This is why I started parentingisfunny.wordpress.com—not only for my own outlet, but for other parents to read each other’s hilarious stories or unfortunate incidents and get a good laugh. They say if you fake smile enough, you’ll end up smiling for real.
There was a study done that found happy parents have happy kids. That seems logical. Miserable, unhappy parents are likely to make their kids miserable and unhappy. My kids being unhappy would make me even more unhappy; thus, the cycle would continue. This is why there’s an entire chapter on having fun with kids, even your own!
What advice would you give to parents of teenagers?
Hang in there. It’s almost over. I’ve been having success with my teen by leaving her alone more. For instance, she does not appreciate when I ask her if she needs to take a last-minute trip to the bathroom before we leave the house like I do with her little sisters. It’s tough to find that transition from treating your teenagers like kids to something closer to adults.
The chapter on teens somehow wound up being longer than all the rest. I pulled heavily from my memory of my own teen years. This included phrases my parents would often use on me, like, “It wasn’t meant to be,” in the case of disappointments, or “Who’s going to remember this in a week, two weeks, a month, a year?” for instances of embarrassment. There was also, “No matter how bad you think you have it, there’s always some one who has it worse,” for those days when I thought my life was so miserably horrible, no one could have things as bad as me—probably because I wore the same shirt as some other girl, or something.
But, for all the bad rap teens get, since they’re nearing full maturity, they can be quite helpful around the house. Plus, you can play more grown-up games like Hearts and Clue rather than endless rounds of Candyland and Chutes and Ladders.
What was the inspiration for the book?
The writing of this book stems from having co-authored (with Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute) 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person and 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage. A book on parenting seemed like the logical next step. I had a lot of ideas and “tricks” I had learned from reading, observing, remembering, and against all odds, figuring out on my own that I thought worthy of sharing. There’s good advice in the book, but also laughter because we can all use more laughter in our lives.
With the plethora of parenting books available on the market, what sets your book apart from others?
Many parenting books focus on babies and all say the same thing: Sleep when the baby sleeps. Fold laundry when the baby folds laundry. My book focuses on a range of ages, as do others, but they generally don’t include tips on helping your children keep their faith or on how to wrangle a toddler in church. There are other humorous parenting books, but a quick view of “funny parenting books” on Amazon comes up with a slew of titles containing cuss words. No swearing was involved in the writing of my book.
Why is this book important today?
Making parenting easier and more fun for parents, who will then be happier, ought to help strengthen their relationship with one another, too. Happy parents stay together, which is pretty much the number one crucial factor for raising happy, healthy kids. Stay married, folks. (See also 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage.)
Betsy Kerekes is the author of Be a Happier Parent or Laugh Trying and coauthor with Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person and 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage. She serves as editor and director of publications at the Ruth Institute, where she also writes weekly newsletters and manages the blog. She homeschools her children and writes about her experiences in motherhood at parentingisfunny.wordpress.com. She can also be found on twitter @BetsyK1.
Posted on: Friday, May 17, 2019
by Doug Mainwaring
This article was first posted April 30, 2019, at Life Site News.
LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana, April 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A sociologist said that when it comes to children’s welfare, homosexual “marriage” accomplishes the exact opposite of conjugal marriage, placing children at four times the risk of emotional distress.
Fr. Paul Sullins, a Catholic priest and former sociology professor at the Catholic University of America, made his comments in a presentation on “the impact of same-sex parenting on children” at a “Survivors Summit,” hosted by the Ruth Institute, where Sullins now serves as senior researcher.
“There is a war on marriage today,” began Sullins, quoting Pope Francis. “It’s not a physical war of weapons, but a war of ideas. An ideological colonization that is trying to destroy the family by efforts to redefine the very institution of marriage.”
“This attack on the family is based on a demonic gender ideology that denies the order of creation, expressed in the complementarity of men and women,” he added.
Sullins spoke of the Catholic notion of marriage, which is in harmony with nature.
Marriage is between one man and one woman, who “engage in a natural, conjugal sexual relationship, ordered by a covenant designed to insure their own mutual good and the procreation and education of their offspring.”
“They give themselves to one another wholly, exclusively, and permanently,” he said.
On the other side of this demonic ideological war is this new idea of marriage as a “committed relationship.”
Evan Wolfson, one of the early central figures in the homosexual “marriage” movement, published what was considered to be a groundbreaking book in 2003, Why Marriage Matters, in which he defined marriage not as the Catholic Church does, or as nature has revealed it, but as “a relationship of emotional and financial interdependence between two people legitimized by a public commitment.”
Sullins noted that this is the exact language used in the 2008 California ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage” in that state, and later in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision legalizing homosexual “marriage” nationwide.
There are major differences between these two definitions, especially from the perspective of children.
“Conjugal marriage asks the desires of adults to take second place to the needs of children,” said Sullins, while “committed relationship (CR) marriage asks the needs of children to take second place to the desires of adults.”
“The possibility of children is built into a conjugal relationship,” said Sullins, “but in a CR relationship, children are external. They are an add-on if you want them.”
“Same-sex couples never conceive children and only a fraction of them have children in the home, said Sullins. He further noted that only about one quarter
of lesbian couples and no more than 13% of gay male couples ever have children present in their households.
“The absence of sexual difference in same-sex couples creates an environment that is not conducive to the full human development of children,” said Sullins.
“In God’s plan, each child should have the care of the very two persons of whose conjugal love that child is the expression,” noted Sullins, who quoted Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia: “Both the child’s mother and father are necessary for his or her integral and harmonious development.”
Using the best research available, Sullins used a graph to depict the vast difference in the presence of child emotional difficulties for kids raised by man+woman parents versus those raised by gay or lesbian parents. The differences in outcomes are striking.
Stepping down from natural design
Sullins explained that as society moves away from households with both biological mother and father present and “We move to separated, recombined, unstable or single heterosexual parents,” all of of these are “less consistent with the natural or Godly design.”
“Same-sex parents are the least natural of all the family forms on offer,” he added. It is a move from the most natural to the most unnatural.
A child’s well-being is reduced the farther away a child is removed from his own married biological parents. It drops to the lowest point with same-sex couple households — lower than any of the other possible family forms.
The reason same-sex parents don’t have better outcomes for their children is simply that none of them can ever be in the “both bio parents” category. About three fourths are in the “one bio parent” category and a fourth in the “no bio parents” category.
So for children, homosexual “marriage” accomplishes the exact opposite of conjugal marriage. Conjugal marriage assures for a child, as much as possible, the secure care of both his or her biological parents. Homosexual “marriage” assures that a child will never have the care of both biological parents.
The “Survivors Summit,” held April 26–27, is the brainchild of Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., founder and president of the Ruth Institute.
“Divorce and the LGBT subculture have changed the face of America in ways that cry out for thoughtful examination,” said Morse. The Summit’s aim is to help and inspire the many victims of the Sexual Revolution to become survivors and ultimately advocates for positive change.
Dr. Paul Sullins is a leader in the field of research on same-sex parenting and its implications for child development. He has written four books and over 100 journal articles, research reports, and essays on issues of family, faith, and culture. Formerly Episcopalian, Dr. Sullins is a married Catholic priest. He earned a Ph.D. at Catholic University in 1997 and taught there from 1998 until his retirement. He and his wife, Patricia, have an inter-racial family of three children, two adopted.
Posted on: Friday, May 17, 2019
by Fr. Paul Sullins
This article first appeared on May 12, 2019, at The Public Discourse.
Social scientists who conduct research on the politically charged question of the wellbeing of children in the care of same-sex parents have emphatically asserted unqualified and universal support for the finding of “no differences.” In his meticulously researched new book, Professor Walter Schumm turns this scenario on its head. Through a detailed review of virtually all extant research, Schumm demonstrates decisively that contrary evidence not only exists, it is abundant and methodologically strong.
In our day, the alleged personal liberation of the sexual revolution is becoming progressively socialized in institutions and norms. As a result, we have moved beyond the cultural condition in which scientific research into the related social behaviors (hormonal contraceptive use, premarital sex, abortion, homosexual relations, gender transformation) is deployed for political ends, into a state in which the process of deciding scientific truth has itself become irretrievably politicized. In this new situation, the end does not merely justify the means, it becomes the means. What advances the desired political agenda becomes the new criterion of truth.
Thus, social scientists who present evidence that the behaviors of sexual liberation are not harmful—in same-sex parenting research, this is couched as “no differences” from heterosexual parents in child well-being—do not merely claim that their conclusions are strong while contrary findings are weak. Instead, they claim that their conclusions are the only permissible ones, while contrary findings are necessarily unscientific. In their minds, contrary evidence either does not exist, or it must reflect pseudo-scientific bias.
In his meticulously researched new book, Same-Sex Parenting Research: A Critical Assessment, Walter Schumm, Professor of Family Studies at Kansas State University, turns this scenario on its head. In research on the politically charged question of the well-being of children in the care of same-sex parents, social scientists and their associations have emphatically asserted unqualified and universal support for the finding of “no differences.” Research that does not find this conclusion, they assert, simply cannot be credible or methodologically sound. Some deny the contrary research even exists. “It has not been unusual,” Schumm writes, “for at least some scholars in this area to make statements such as, ‘Not a single study has ever found any results that indicated children of same-sex parents to be any different from children of heterosexual parents in any way.’” These “absolute claims were made in an attempt to impress courts with the utter harmlessness (no ‘difference’ = no harm) of gay and lesbian parenting in order to promote the legalization of same-sex marriage.”
And yet, as Schumm proceeds to show, by the traditional canons of scientific reason and inference, such claims are manifestly false.
Science vs. Dogma
The bulk of the book consists of chapters examining the specific areas in which “no difference” is claimed. These include family stability, sexual abuse and other negative behaviors among parent couples, and child outcomes relating to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender roles, and mental health. Through a detailed review of virtually all extant research in each area, Schumm demonstrates decisively that contrary evidence not only exists, it is abundant and methodologically strong.
Almost none of the studies claiming to find “no differences” actually does so.
Moreover, he shows, almost none of the studies claiming to find “no differences” actually does so. Most violate or ignore basic requirements of scientific evidence, such as using a random sample, not letting participants know the political implications of the study, and accounting for mothers’ desire to make their children look good (“social desirability bias,” in sociology-speak). Many of the politically correct studies that report “no differences” actually do find differences. These are often buried deep in their data tables or technical analysis, but they do not escape Schumm’s gimlet-eyed scrutiny.
Schumm’s strategy for exposing the weaknesses of the “no differences” research is old-fashioned scholarship: he has simply read more studies, and digested their contents better, than most of the authors whose work he examines. The typical “no differences” review in this field includes about eighty studies. In this book, Schumm includes over 330 studies. The bibliography alone is over thirty pages. Not content to accept results reported by the authors, he reanalyzes the data distributions from the tables of reported statistics found in most studies, to verify—or undermine—the claimed findings of a study. The results are compelling.
For example, in response to an influential, politically correct review of the literature that concluded there were no differences for same-sex-parented children in gender-role behavior (the tendency for boys to do masculine things, or for girls to do feminine things), Schumm notes that the author cited only thirteen papers; he then proceeds to cite nine more on the topic, including three by the author of the review, that contradict the review’s conclusion. On the question of child sexual orientation (whether same-sex-parented children are more likely to develop homosexual attractions or adopt a homosexual identity than children in the general population), Schumm cites thirteen papers that contradict the review’s claim that there are no differences on this front, including two by the author of the review, which were not among the twelve papers the review did cite. He writes:
This type of situation should serve as a warning to the public, to the courts, to scholars, and to students everywhere that just because a famous author publishes a literature review in a major, comprehensive handbook does not imply that it should be automatically accepted as accurate or comprehensive.
Point by point, as Schumm patiently critiques the several hundred studies reviewed in the book, the conviction gradually becomes inescapable that the entire research thesis of “no differences,” trumpeted as an unassailable consensus by some of our society’s most respected arbiters of scientific credibility, is nothing more than a tissue of fabrications and contradictions under color of science. Schumm’s conclusion does not mince words: “The research presented in this book has shredded any pretense that the dogma of ‘no differences’ is factually correct.” He concludes that the “no differences” thesis is not a scientific theory at all, but a dogma. “If dozens of scholarly results won’t convince you otherwise,” he asks, “will anything?”
A Non-Partisan Critique
Consistent with the book’s subtitle (“A Critical Assessment”), Schumm does not compile his devastating critiques of the particular claims that support homosexual marriage into any sort of general case against that idea. For him, the problem with the “no differences” claim is not that it led to gay marriage but that it jettisoned the standards of science. “I am not necessarily saying that courts have made bad decisions,” he writes, “but that they were certainly fed ‘bad’ science, no matter how correct their decisions might have been in the end.”
Indeed, Schumm’s skeptical critique of the research is decidedly non-partisan. He does not hesitate to point out the flaws and limitations in studies, such as those by Mark Regnerus and me, that have reported substantial negative differences for children with same-sex parents. One of his most prominent critical exchanges, outside of this book, has been with Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute, regarding the latter’s research that is critical of same-sex parents. A reasonable assessment would be that his conclusion in favor of such contrary research, despite his lack of sympathy with its legal and social implications, would lend credibility to his conclusion as one of rare integrity.
For Schumm, it is all part of being an honest scientist. “[A]n honest scientist,” he tell us, “has to be willing to see at least some of his or her most cherished scientific (even religious) theories or beliefs (or other assumptions) be falsified through careful research.” The book concludes with a fervent appeal for more such honesty:
My fondest hope [for the book’s effect] is not that same-sex marriage be declared illegal or same-sex adoption be banned . . . but that perhaps a few persons here and there will have been challenged to think more carefully about scientific research in areas of political controversy and be a little less eager to jump to conclusions that may not in fact be warranted after a careful, detailed, systematic review of the research literature.
In this hope, Schumm has not, I think, fully considered the implications of his findings. If the newly legal social arrangements regarding homosexual relations are not warranted by the research, why would an honest scientist support their continuance?
Political and Scientific Implications
Given the book’s publication by a British traditional marriage advocacy group, I suspect that Schumm may be less troubled than he suggests (perhaps to forestall accusations of bias) by the prospect of repealing gay marriage or adoption laws. Schumm’s progressive critics appear to think so, too. In appendices, he relates the extensive attempts to discredit him, including shunning at professional conferences, difficulty publishing in mainstream journals, and calls for him to be fired because of his views. “Some very Christian scholars,” he reports in the prologue, “have gone out of their way to avoid any association with this book because of the stigma or discrimination they fear.” These cautionary accounts contrast sharply with Schumm’s hope for more fair-minded consideration of the evidence, and ironically confirm his conclusion about the dogmatic nature of the belief in “no differences.”
More importantly, Schumm’s reluctance to follow the political implications of the science in his own research threatens not only the policies involved but also the science. If, as I argue, political expediency is becoming the new criterion of scientific truth for issues of sexual liberation, Schumm’s brilliant analyses are not likely to be accepted by those he critiques, precisely because his appeal to evidence is so strong and fair-minded. This is particularly true when the political ideology being critiqued is that of sexual liberation. While both supporters and deniers of natural law can be blind to contrary evidence or distort science for political ends, those who advocate a sexual ethic unconstrained by the limitations of the body are particularly unlikely to be deterred by a commitment to truth constrained by the limitations of the senses. Those who reject religious or philosophical dissent from the dogma of gay marriage as irrational bigotry are not likely to accept scientific dissent as reasonable and fair-minded.
To concede same-sex marriage in the face of contrary scientific evidence is to concede science itself.
Today, those with religious or conscientious reservations about gay marriage must assert them or risk losing their freedom to make any religious assertion at all. In the same way, those with scientific or evidential reservations must assert them in order to preserve the ability to practice honest science at all. To concede same-sex marriage in the face of contrary scientific evidence is to concede science itself.
For those who are unwilling to make that concession, and are convinced on grounds of science, faith, or principle that the defense of natural marriage is worth making, this book offers an immensely valuable array of evidence and arguments.
The Rev. D. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., is Research Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of America and Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute. Formerly Episcopalian, Fr. Sullins is a married Catholic priest with an inter-racial family of three children, two adopted.