Ruth Speaks Out

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.


New Report Reveals Increase in Abuse by Catholic Priests

Ruth Institute Research Associate, Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., responded to the newly released 2019 Annual Report from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the independent lay National Review Board (NRB) about on-going clerical sex abuse.

“The report showed a significant increase in both allegations and findings of sexual abuse by priests. The Ruth Institute, along with the National Review Board, believes this is due to a lack of sufficient oversight. Clergy sex abuse is out of the news. We think it should be news.”

Fr. Sullins has dealt extensively with this issue, having done reports on clerical sex abuse in 2018 and 2019. His analysis of the findings and recommendations from this latest report can be found here.


In summary, Fr. Sullins noted:

1. Cases of current, ongoing abuse: 37 -- almost three times as many allegations as have been reported in any previous year of the audit.

2. New reports of past abuse: 4,434 previously unreported incidents of abuse, in some cases going back decades, which were only made known in 2019.

3. Priests removed permanently from priestly ministry: 142 -- about one-tenth of all new priests ordained in the past decade.

4. The percentage of male and female victims is now roughly equal. In years past, the victims were predominately male.

The Ruth Institute endorses the recommendations of the National Review Board, which provides the USCCB these reports on an annual basis:

1. Every diocese should mandate parish-level audits. Currently, only 60% of dioceses require these audits.

2. Every diocese should require ongoing training and renewal of background checks. Currently, 25% and 15% respectively do not meet these requirements.

3. Clergy and laity must remain fully engaged about the safety of children and faithfulness of clergy.

Ruth Institute President, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D., concluded: “Given the tragic history of the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church, which scarred the lives of so many, we must not become complacent. We must be vigilant to ensure no repetition of the scandals of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ’90s.”

Fr. Sullins will address the Ruth Institute’s 2020 Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution (July 17-18 in Lake Charles, LA) on social science evidence about the Sexual Revolution, including the latest information on clergy sex abuse, as well as post-abortion trauma.
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization, leading an international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.
 
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse or Fr. Sullins, contact media@ruthinstitute.org.

 


Supreme Court Strikes Down Mildest of Abortion Restrictions

The Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to be within 30 miles of a hospital in case of a botched abortion. “How can the pro-abortion movement, which claims to care about women, oppose something that is for the health and protection of the mother?” asked Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.

“The Supreme Court’s liberal majority will do all it can to facilitate the Sexual Revolution, of which abortion is the crown jewel,” Morse said. “We’re told sex should be child-free, guilt-free and problem-free. If something inconvenient like conception occurs, abortion is the fail-safe.”


Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute, said, “No one who welcomes the Supreme Court's latest decision can ever again claim to be against substandard ‘back-alley’ abortions. The Court's myopic decisions in Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton created this problem in the first place by preventing the adoption of federal standards for surgical abortions.

“Ample experience of women's brutal treatment at the hands of uncaring, self-serving abortion providers has shown that the abortion industry cannot regulate itself. Now the reasonable attempt by the people of Louisiana to ensure that the horrors of death mills such as Dr. Gosnell's in Pennsylvania can have no place in their state, have been thwarted by the self-appointed experts in medical care of the Supreme Court.”

Fr. Sullins will speak on post-abortion trauma at the Ruth Institute’s Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution July 17-18 in Lake Charles, LA.  



Sex-Wounded Fighting Back

by Paul Murano • ChurchMilitant.com • June 25, 2020

The sexual revolution, a revolt waged by modern man against God and His Sixth Commandment, will be taking the proverbial prosecutor's stand in Louisiana this July.

Image
Pictured: Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

The Ruth Institute has scheduled its "Survivors' Summit 2020," a conference whose focus is "Surviving the Sexual Revolution." It will cover the gamut of sexual deviancy unleashed in the sexual revolution, from fornication to transgenderism. The Ruth Institute is a research and educational institute dedicated to supporting "individuals and families harmed by divorce, the hook-up culture and other forms of family breakdown."

"Our speakers are not celebrities," Ruth Institute founder Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse told Church Militant. "They're people just like you" and experts in their field. "If you come you will be inspired ... and our experts will demonstrate that the Church's teaching has always been correct."

Morse also said that there is no hope to expect to win the war for souls through legal or judicial means. The courts, she claims, are now essentially lawless. Her grassroots aim is to equip people with information and moral truth in order to overcome the dark, spiritual deluge.


Since the invention and popularization of the birth control pill, a Pandora's box of sexual deviancy has become normalized throughout the Western world. The resultant confusion and pain has caused a new normal of walking wounded, for whom the conference will provide a safe space in which to tell the truth — restoring "sexual sanity to our culture, communities and churches." This Summit will cover the what, how, why, when, where and who of the sexual revolution — a revolution that continues to this day — and engage participants from diverse backgrounds in the #FightforFamily.

According to the Center for Family Justice, one in four women have been sexually abused in their lifetime, as well as one in six men. Those are the numbers for assaults that were not consensual. But those who survive the sexual revolution also include those who have consented to its great magnetic pull, who have been lured in by the strong winds of the culture, and this includes virtually everyone who has come of age in the 1960s through today.

Conference topics include surviving childhood sexual abuse, pornography addiction, the LGBT subculture and transgenderism. Other topics will focus on the global sexual revolution; Christian anthropology, history and social systems; medical tragedies of the sexual revolution; social science evidence about the sexual revolution; human rights catastrophes of the sexual revolution; population control; and the decline of the human family — explained in the film Demographic Winter.

Featured speakers include distinguished scholars and survivors, as well as journalist Doug Mainwaring and Pulse nightclub shooting survivor Luis Ruiz, both of whom left the LGBT subculture.

Also scheduled to speak is Ruth Institute sociologist Fr. Paul Sullins, author of the groundbreaking report, "Is Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse Related to Homosexual Priests?" which revealed a striking correlation between the rise in the number of homosexual priests and the explosion of clerical sex abuse. Sullins will address gender theory, the characteristics of homosexual relationships and parenting, and the implication of homosexual priests in the wave of child sex abuse that peaked in the 1980s.

"My goal," Sullins told Church Militant, "is to present the facts and evidence that will help persons struggling with the widespread misinformation and deception that gay parents or homosexual priests are benevolent, innocuous influences on the children in their care. The empirical evidence strongly indicates otherwise."

The conference will also include activists' panels, question and answer sessions and general discussions.

The Keynote speaker is Sue Ellen Browder, journalist and author of Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women's Movement. Browder worked for Cosmopolitan magazine for years, writing what she calls "fake news" for potential victims of the sexual revolution. As an eyewitness to the birth of the revolution, Browder will talk about how two movements going in different directions — the women's movement and the sexual revolution — merged to become one movement leading to a Culture of Death.

The Institute's Aim

The Ruth Institute calls itself "a global interfaith coalition equipping Christians to defend the family and build a civilization of love." Its Resource Center provides decades of research and educational tools to support individuals and families harmed by divorce, the hook-up culture and other forms of family breakdown.

The group's website states that "Every person has the right to know his or her cultural heritage and genetic identity," and "Every child has a right to a relationship with their natural mother and father except for an unavoidable tragedy." It supports natural law on morality related to sexuality and human life, and "rejects the idea that a child is a problem to solve if you don't want one and an object to purchase if you do want one."

In the wake of the Supreme Court's June 15 Bostock v. Clayton County decision, Morse explains that the summit will analyze the many ways the sexual revolution needs the power of the State to do its destructive work.

"The Bostock ruling redefines 'female' and 'male' for purposes of law. ... This terrible ruling shows that the conservative legal establishment has no idea how to address sexual and social issues. The sexual revolution attacks both the individual and the family," she adds. "At our Summit, we'll take a hard look at some of the most destructive pathologies the global ruling class has inflicted on ordinary people."

The Survivor's Summit will take place in Lake Charles, Louisiana on July 17–18.


Survivors Summit Covers Abuse, Addictions and Attitudes that Threaten our Civilization

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s disastrous Bostock decision, the Ruth Institute’s Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution takes on extreme urgency. The Summit, to be held July 17-18, in Lake Charles, LA, will analyze the many ways the Sexual Revolution needs the power of the State to do its destructive work.

Ruth Institute President, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., stated, “The Bostock ruling redefines “female” and “male” for purposes of law. The Obergefell decision redefined marriage. The Federalist Society vetted Gorsuch, appointed by Pres. Trump, who wrote the majority opinion. This terrible ruling shows that the conservative legal establishment has no idea how to address sexual and social issues. The Sexual Revolution attacks both the individual and the family. At our Summit, we’ll take a hard look at some of the most destructive pathologies the Global Ruling Class has inflicted on ordinary people.”

Expert presentations will include:


  • Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse – The future of health and the family depends on ending it. No one will do this but people of faith! Presented by Dr. Morse and Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D.
  • Surviving Pornography, as a nation, as a family, as an individual: Pornography as a Public Health Crisis, Melea Stephens (of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation) and Protecting Young Eyes: Tools for Parents and Other Educators, presented by Chris McKenna (of Covenant Eyes).
  • Surviving the LGBT Sub-Culture: Medical Issues – presented by Dr. Michelle Cretella, MD, of the American College of Pediatricians.
  • Reporting from the front lines of the Transgender Movement – stories from parents of gender-confused children, “desisters” (individuals who lived as the opposite sex and stopped), resistance within the medical profession and surprising new allies, presented by journalist Brandon Showalter.

The program will also include testimony from Survivors of the Sexual Revolution, as well as activists’ panels, question and answer sessions and general discussions.

Among the participants on the Surviving the LGBT subculture panel are journalist Doug Mainwaring and Pulse Nightclub shooting survivor, Luis Ruiz. Both left the LGBT subculture.

Morse observed: “After the Bostock ruling, social conservatives of all faiths have realized beyond any shadow of a doubt: we are on our own. Participants at our Summit will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of redefining the direction of the social conservative movement. The encounter with experts and their analysis, the first-hand testimony of Survivors, and the experience of effective activists, will inspire participants. They will come away with new friends as well as practical tips on how to get involved and make a difference.”

Learn about our Ambassadors Training here. Get the full run-down on The Summit here.


Aborting the Wanted Child

by Paul Sullins

This article was first posted January 22, 2020, at The Public Discourse.

The unstated mythology of therapeutic “abortion care” is that pregnancies come in only two types: wanted pregnancies, all of which children are delivered, and unwanted pregnancies, all of which children are aborted. But that’s not true. At least one in seven abortions in the U.S. are of children that the mother reports were wanted. I recently found that the risk of depression, suicidality or anxiety disorders from such abortions was almost four times higher than for women who had aborted a child in an unwanted pregnancy. Mine is the first empirical study ever to examine these more distressing, invisible abortions.

Are abortions psychologically harmful for women? Today’s foremost medical and scientific agencies, including the American Psychological Association (APA), American Medical Association (AMA), National Academy of Sciences (NAS), and Britain’s Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AMRC), assure us that they are not, in a series of similarly-worded position statements advising that (in the words of the NAS) “women who have an abortion [do not] experience more mental health problems than women who deliver an unwanted pregnancy.”
But posing the question as one of abortion versus birth for an unwanted pregnancy overlooks a well-documented but seldom acknowledged fact: many abortions—at least one in seven in the U.S.—are of children in pregnancies that the mother reports were wanted, not unwanted. If these abortions are more troubling for women than those in unwanted pregnancies, then by ignoring them our public health agencies are subtly understating the true level of possible post-abortion psychological harm for women.

I recently examined data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) to see if wanting a pregnancy affected women’s level of psychological distress following an abortion. My results were published late last year in a study in the European medical journal Medicina. Add Health, widely acknowledged to be among the best representative data we have on the U.S. population, has been used in thousands of empirical scholarly studies. In addition to extensive measures of psychological health drawn from the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), Add Health asked almost 4,000 women at three points in time—ages 15, 22, and 28—whether they had ever been pregnant, how the pregnancy ended, and whether they wanted to have a child when they became pregnant.

Putting these together, I found that by age 28 the risk of affective psychological disorder—meaning depression, anxiety disorder, or serious thoughts of suicide—was almost four times higher (69 percent versus 18 percent) for women who had aborted a child in a wanted rather than an unwanted pregnancy, compared to those who had delivered children in such pregnancies. Clearly, the abortions of children in wanted pregnancies are much more disturbing for women, and their births much happier, than is the case with unwanted pregnancies.

Wanted-pregnancy abortions most often occur because the mother may want the child, while others involved do not. In the Add Health data I examined in the study, one in five women who had ever had an abortion said that they had aborted a pregnancy by which they had wanted to have a child. In patient surveys by abortion providers, over a third of women reported that they were acceding to the wishes of their partner or parents in having the abortion. A research review by the pro-life Elliott Institute estimates that “30 to 60 percent of women having abortions feel pressured to do so by other persons.”

There can be other pressures as well. In follow-up surveys that asked about their experience at a clinic, most women reported feeling uncertain or rushed to have an abortion, and two thirds reported little or no counseling. Last year’s movie Unplanned, based on the first-person account of former abortion-clinic director Abby Johnson, chillingly dramatized a typical clinic intake process, that more closely resembled sales pressure to have an abortion than it did a careful screening for certainty or potential mental-health concerns. Many women may understandably come to have a sense of buyer’s remorse or regret about their decision to have an abortion.

Remarkably, mine is the first empirical study ever to examine abortions of children in wanted pregnancies. For most researchers in this area, such abortions are invisible because they do not conform to the unstated binary mythology of “abortion care,” in which pregnancies come in only two types: wanted pregnancies, all of which children are delivered, and unwanted pregnancies, all of which children are aborted.

Reviewers and editors repeatedly reported that they “lacked a sense of” or were “perplexed” by the idea that women could look back and say that they actually had wanted to deliver a child they had aborted; although they acknowledged that women routinely deliver children in unwanted pregnancies, and that “very many women express some degree of ambivalence” at the clinic. More than one told me that women who had obtained an abortion must not have wanted their pregnancy by definition, and thus, in the Add Health interviews, they could not have responded the way they clearly did respond. The position-statement review by the AMRC codified this bias, explicitly presuming that all aborted pregnancies were unwanted, and thus defining the most distressing abortions out of existence.

Whitewashing away the most troubling abortions is not the only blind spot of our medical experts. Even if it were true that women did not “experience more mental health problems” with abortion compared to delivery, such statements crucially miss the point. The mental-health premise for widespread legal abortion was not merely that it would not do more psychological harm to women, but that it would benefit them, compared to having to deliver the child.

Although researchers have long disputed whether mental-health problems for women after abortion are disconcertingly large or insignificantly small, so far, after forty-five years of research, not a single study (to my knowledge) has ever found a statistically significant psychological benefit for women having abortions rather than childbirth. The declarations of “no harm” fail even to consider the fact that the idea of a “therapeutic abortion” to improve a woman’s mental health—which is the premise of the Roe/Doe decisions in the U.S., and the justification for legal abortion in most Western countries—has no basis in evidence.

What does benefit pregnant women’s mental health, research repeatedly finds, is childbirth. In my study, the risk of affective distress was 29 percent lower up to 13 years after the birth of one or more children in wanted pregnancies, and 12 percent lower even after delivering a child from an unwanted pregnancy. The full psychological toll of an abortion, therefore, must be measured not just by the absolute pain a woman may (or may not) feel, but also by the opportunity cost of missing the psychological benefit—the joy, growth, and even struggle—of the child she did not have.

 


The Seminarians Aren’t OK. Here’s What You Can Do About It.

By Jennifer Roback Morse

Published on October 31, 2019, at The Stream.

seSeminary in Florence, Italy. Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

A recent Notre Dame study about sexual harassment in Catholic seminaries proclaimed, “only 6% of seminarians report sexual harassment.” But don’t break out the champagne just yet. The seminaries are not all cleaned up.

You see, this Notre Dame study is a good news, bad news situation. The good news is that only 6% of seminarians surveyed reported sexual harassment. The bad news is that less than half the seminaries in the U.S. participated in the survey. The problem is: we don’t know which half is which.


My organization, the Ruth Institute has a special interest in this study. These results are completely consistent with the results of Fr. Paul Sullins’ second report, Receding Waves: Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests since 2000. Fr. Sullins is no slouch. He holds a doctorate in sociology and taught at Catholic University of America. He finds that recently ordained clergy are less likely to be abusers, and less likely to have male victims. Priests ordained within the last 10 years of his data collection are more likely to be orthodox, faithful and chaste. So, the Notre Dame findings are fully consistent with Fr. Sullins’ findings from a very different set of data. The young guys are good guys. Good news, for sure.

But don’t break out the bubbly. We still got problems.

Not Even the Courtesy of a Reply

You see, the Notre Dame researchers are serious people, doing serious work. They made good faith attempts to include all the seminaries and houses of religious formation. When some didn’t respond, the McGrath Institute at Notre Dame went the extra mile. Their Executive Director, Dr. John Cavadini, wrote letters to U.S. bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and superiors of religious orders. He told them about the study. He asked that they grant permission to participate in the study to their seminarians.

In spite of this diligence, only about 50% of the seminaries participated in the survey. Nearly 40% (37% to be exact) of seminaries and houses of formation never gave him the courtesy of a reply. Another 15% of seminaries or houses of formation either flat out declined to participate, or they said they were interested but then never responded to multiple attempts to follow up.

It is hard to believe all these schools didn’t know about the request.

It is also hard to believe that the schools that participated and the schools that didn’t are similar in every relevant respect. Some seminary authorities decided to not respond to repeated inquires. Some seminary rectors decided to not allow their men to be informed about the opportunity to participate in the survey. I wonder why?

Do you think the institutions that tolerate sexual activity, voluntary or otherwise, would be eager to encourage their men to participate in a survey about sexual activity and harassment? A school with a corrupt rector, or a diocese with a history of tolerating sexual acting out in the clergy, do you think those are the places rushing to tell Notre Dame, “yes, oh yes, you can ask our students anything?”

Maybe it’s just me. But I’m thinking, “no,” and “no.”

Wouldn’t you like to know, which schools had the students that said, “sexual harassment isn’t a problem here?” Wouldn’t you like to know which seminaries had students who said that seminaries should “automatically expel all men who do not live chastely?” Wouldn’t you like to know which schools couldn’t be bothered to forward the invitation to participate emails to their students?

I’d love to know. I’m thinking you would too.

Which Seminaries Participated?

Now, I’ve done social science research. Promising confidentiality to participants is standard protocol. The professionals at Notre Dame are not going to reveal which schools participated.

But we, dear reader, have every right to ask our bishops and seminary rectors: did our seminary participate in this survey? We, the faithful, have every right to say, “If your school participated, we congratulate you with our sustained financial support! If our school didn’t participate, why not? If you had a good reason to decline to participate, we would like to hear it.”

If they don’t answer a simple “yes or no” question, we have every right to draw our own conclusions.

At the same time, those seminaries that did participate can claim “bragging rights.” They could say, “We released a list of our students for the Notre Dame research team to contact and invite to participate. We encouraged our men to cooperate.” This would be no violation of any confidentiality agreement or of anyone’s privacy. This would be perfectly ethical.

The students who participated in this survey sound like fine young men. When asked to volunteer suggestions for improving seminary life, they wanted their schools to provide stronger formation in chastity. But what about the other half of our seminaries? We have no way of knowing what is going on. Are they all corrupt? Just how bad are the bad schools?

Church authorities who have responsibility for seminaries, I call on you to address this question. If your men participated, we applaud you. Your men are an encouragement to us all. We thank you for them. We wish to help support you, and them.

If you don’t answer these questions, our imaginations are left free to roam. You will have only yourselves to blame if our suspicions increase.



New Sex-Abuse Report: Homosexual Priests Decrease, Sex Abuse of Girls Increases

According to Ruth Institute sociologist Father Paul Sullins, a generation of younger clergy formed for lives of chaste celibacy is a major reason why clergy abuse rates are much lower than before 2000.

This article was first published June 10, 2019, at NCRegister.com.

by Peter Jesserer Smith

LAKE CHARLES, La. — Some promising news on the clergy sex-abuse crisis is joined by some warning signs, in a new report by religious sociologist Father Paul Sullins and the Ruth Institute.


According to the report, the overall number of homosexual priests has declined sharply since a peak in the 1980s — and so have the number of victims, who previously have been predominantly male. And it indicates that more recently ordained priests collectively have a far greater commitment to orthodoxy than the preceding generation of the priesthood, including faithfully living out the Church’s teachings with respect to chastity.

However, it states that the reports of sex abuse have also risen somewhat after hitting a low in 2002 and that the majority of victims of current reports within the last decade are likely to be female teenagers.

“Our long-standing interest at the Ruth Institute has been concern for the victims of the sexual revolution, of whom the victims of clergy sex abuse certainly are a prime interest,” Ruth Institute President Jennifer Roback Morse told reporters on a media call Thursday presenting the report, titled “Receding Waves: Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests Since 2000.”

The Ruth Institute made four recommendations: continuing vigilance in protecting all minors against clerical sexual abuse; paying particular attention to the persistent sexual abuse of girls; researching further into clergy self-description of their patterns of sexual attraction and behavior; and increasing educational programs on authentic Church teaching on human sexuality, including St. John Paul II’s theology of the body, at “all levels of education such as seminaries, universities, high schools, elementary schools, and parish catechism classes.”

Sociologist and Catholic priest Father Paul Sullins, who authored the report, found that since the 1960s priests engaged in child sex abuse have been relatively concentrated in two age groups: one ordained in the late 1960s and the other ordained in the early 1980s. The report stated the pattern of 20th-century clergy abuse of minors “closely tracks the estimates of numbers of self-identified homosexual clergy” and the decline of homosexual clergy “roughly equals fewer cases of clergy sexual abuse” in the U.S.

His report admitted there is no concrete data on the number of ordained homosexual priests after 2000, but stated that “statistical projections estimate that recent ordination classes have contained very few homosexual men.”

Father Sullins noted in the media call that the drop in ordinations of homosexual men is concurrent with the rise of a newer generation of young, orthodox candidates for the priesthood coming through seminary.

According to the data Father Sullins analyzed on clerical sexual abuse alleged to have taken place since 2000, priests ordained within the past 10 years accounted for 11% of those recent abuse allegations. More than half (52%) of the recent alleged abuse was perpetrated by priests ordained 30 years ago or more.

Changing Picture of Sex Abuse

Father Sullins said the proportion of male and female victims is changing in recent abuse reports: Seventy-four percent of reported victims were male in 2000 compared to only 34% by 2016.

The report highlights a “disturbing rise of the sexual abuse of children by priests after reaching an all-time low just after 2002.” While reports of current abuse averaged 7.0 per year from 2005 to 2009, he said, they rose to 8.2 per year from 2010 to 2014, a 17% increase.

“We have more abuse today than a decade ago,” he said.

Morse said Catholics should not fool themselves that the sex-abuse crisis is limited to homosexual clergy. The Ruth Institute has a place for survivors to tell their stories, and she said girls were by far the largest group telling their stories.

Still, Father Sullins said the overall abuse rate is well below the 1980s, when there were an average of 26.2 reports of current abuse per year.

Father Sullins clarified on the media call that the numbers from current reports only reflect trends, not the total numbers of abuse victims. The scope of the abuse crisis in real numbers is difficult to quantify. He said abuse victims on average take 28 years to process and report. Even then, he told reporters, only three or four victims out of 10 will come forward.

Father Sullins noted also that the national review board is warning about this very thing, pointing to rising complacency, failure to implement proper screening procedures, and failures to update trainings of adults and children at the diocesan and parish level on possible harms.

At the same time, Father Sullins stated that the rate of abuse in Catholic settings is “much lower” than comparable secular settings. He cautioned against the idea that “clergy sex abuse is a thing of the past.”

Critical Reception

However, the Ruth Institute report has drawn criticism. Mark Gray, director of CARA Catholic Polls and a senior research associate at Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, told the Register he is concerned that a substantial part of Father Sullins’ data cannot be independently examined.

The data Father Sullins cited from the site VictimsSpeakDB is no longer available online. Gray said it seemed “deeply suspicious” to him the researcher who compiled it would cite “limited interest in statistical data about clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church” as his reason for taking the data offline.

Gray said most sociologists and criminologists would disagree with Father Sullins’ conclusions indicating a connection between the rise and fall of homosexual men in the priesthood and the rise and fall of sexual abuse cases.

“The consensus among researchers who study abuse is that sexual orientation is not a causal factor,” he said.

While there are no doubt specific factors for why the cohort of priests who committed acts of abuse, concentrated between the 1960s and 1980s, were abusers, Gray said there is no single cause, such as active homosexuality, that would be sufficient to explain the phenomenon.

Further Studies Needed

Both Father Sullins and Gray stated the Church does not have any studies that could give meaningful data on clerical sexual activity, or even whether that sexual activity varies depending on settings involving different levels of supervision and mutual accountability: such as whether the priest lives alone, with other priests in a rectory, or in a monastic setting.

Understanding the sexual activity of celibate clergy is key to understanding the phenomenon of clerics who sexually abuse minors and even adults. Stephen De Weger, an Australian researcher of adult sexual abuse, told the Register that elastic definitions of celibacy among the clergy are a component to the crisis.

He noted the most concentrated eras of documented sexual abuse correlate with a certain zeitgeist in seminary that was reacting against a previous culture of repressed sexuality. Books in vogue between the 1960s and 1980s stressed that clergy were “sexual beings,” which, De Weger said, may have given a vast number of psycho-sexually immature men (and women) in religious and clerical life a kind of permission to engage in sexual activity, and to justify it as normal, or an expression of love. Many others, he said, such as serial-offender types, “simply consciously take advantage of their positional power and use such terms as ‘God approves because this is love and God is love.’”

De Weger, who had briefly been in religious life during this time, indicated that some of these works seemed “a short step from the sexual celibate to the sexually active celibate.”

One popular book, he noted, outlined several different “expressions of celibacy” that basically gave justifications for different kinds of sexual contact under the guise of maintaining one’s promises or vows. However, for the faithful who expect that celibates are living chastity, “this makes no sense at all” and also exposes the faithful to potential harm.

De Weger said his research strongly found that because Catholic faithful expect the clergy they turn to for spiritual help and guidance will not sexualize their spiritual relationships, they are vulnerable to that abuse of power and breach of trust.

Father Sullins said he’s encountered those elastic rationalizations in the older generations of priests and religious. One factor behind why incidents of sexual abuse are lower in younger priests, he said, may be due to how celibacy is taught now in seminary by priests who are now fully molded in St. John Paul II’s theology.

He said celibacy in the theology of the younger clergy is not simply about not having physical sex or being unmarried, but rather is a “conscious relinquishment of marriage and the prerogatives of marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of God.”

Moving Forward

Mary Hasson, president of the Catholic Women’s Forum, told the Register that the Ruth Institute’s report helps the Church to “better understand what went wrong” and the critical importance of “sound human formation” for the priesthood.

While it is “good news” that the number of abuse cases has dropped, it is a vital reminder that Catholics cannot be any less vigilant or urgent about dealing with the abuse crisis, and there are both adults and children who have been victimized by clergy.

Hasson said she’d like to see the U.S. bishops at their assembly next week in Baltimore give a “demonstration of their resolve” to face the crisis and recommended they implement lay-involved “accountability and transparency” mechanisms, such with the lay review board, so the Church can move forward.

“There’s a wide range of victims,” she said. “We can’t rest until there are none.”


Ruth Inst. Senior Research Associate Writes on Study Which Refutes Born-That-Way Theory of Homos*xuality

Writing in Public Discourse, the Journal of the Witherspoon Institute, Fr. Paul Sullins, a Senior Research Associate with the Ruth Institute, analyzed a new study which conclusively refutes the notion that some people are born homosexual. (“Born That Way” No More: The New Science of Sexual Orientation, September 30, 2019.)

Ruth Institute Founder and President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. commented: “In this article, Fr. Sullins continues his important work debunking the myths of the Sexual Revolution. Previous highlights include the myth of ‘no difference” between children of same sex parents and mother-father couples and the myth that clergy sex abuse in the Catholic church has nothing to do with homosexuality in the Catholic priesthood. Now Fr. Sullins is among the few who are willing to draw out the conclusions from this latest study: homosexuality cannot be genetically innate. There is no gay gene.”


The study was released last month by a team of scientists at MIT and Harvard. Fr. Sullins writes that they found “that the effect of the genes we inherit from our parents (known as ‘heritability’) on same-sex orientation was very weak.” But “a person’s developmental environment which includes diet, family, friends, neighborhood, religion and a host of other life conditions – is twice as influential on the probability of developing same-sex behavior or orientation as a person’s genes are.”

As Fr. Sullins reports, the study notes, “'There is certainly no single genetic determinant (sometimes referred to as the gay gene in the media)' that causes same-sex sexual behavior.”

Morse adds: “The study, whose conclusions Fr. Sullins describes incisively and with clarity, will have a huge impact in a number of areas, including anti-discrimination cases, and bans on behavior modification therapy.”

More on “Born That Way” No More: The New Science of Sexual Orientation:
thepublicdiscourse.com/2019/09/57342/ and papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3464342

Fr. Sullins, who was an Episcopalian priest, is now a married Catholic priest; he earned a Ph.D. from Catholic University in 1997.

Besides his work for the Ruth Institute, the Rev. D. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., is a Research Professor of Sociology and Director of the Leo Initiative for Catholic Social Research at the Catholic University of America. He has written four books and over 150 journal articles, book chapters and research reports on issues of faith and culture, including “Is Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse related to Homosexual Priests,” in the National Catholic Bioethics quarterly, Winter 2019.


The gay gene myth has been exploded

If the gay gene does not exist, how can LGBT supporters maintain that tolerance of homosexual behaviour requires intolerance of heterosexual behaviour?
 
By Fr. Paul Sullins on September 3, 2019, at Mercatornet.com.

The findings of a study of the genetic basis of homosexuality published last week in the journal Science explode the false narrative that being gay is an innate condition that is controlled or largely compelled by one's genetic makeup.

Rebutting decades of search by LGBT scientists for a "gay gene", the study's first author flatly concludes "it will be basically impossible to predict one’s sexual activity or orientation just from genetics”.


This is putting it gently.

The study found that a person's developmental environment--the influence of diet, family, friends, neighbourhood, religion, and a host of other life conditions--was twice as influential as genetics on the probability of adopting same-sex behaviour or orientation. The genetic influence did not come from one or two strong sources but from dozens of genetic variants that each added a small increased propensity for same-sex behaviour.

A genetic arrangement based on a large number of markers across the genome means that virtually all human beings have this arrangement, or large portions of it. In other words, not only did the study fail to find some controlling gene for gay identity, it also established that gay persons are not genetically distinct from all other human beings in any meaningful sense.

Gay persons, we might say, have a perfectly normal human genome.

Proponents of LGBT normalization, which includes the publishing journal and mainstream media reporters, have tried to put the best face on this result. As if the issue were tolerance of gay people's lifestyle choices, the New York Times quotes one of the authors saying, “I hope that the science can be used to educate people a little bit more about how natural and normal same-sex behaviour is”. LGBT activists declared that the study "provides even more evidence that being gay or lesbian is a natural part of human life".

Indeed, the study found that genetic propensity for same-sex behaviour is not very different from that of 28 other complex traits or behaviours and is related to a propensity for other risk-taking behaviour such as smoking, drug use, number of sex partners or a general openness to new experience.

But the longstanding and emphatic claim of gay activists in law and public policy has not been that same-sex activity reflects upbringing or lifestyle factors, but is an inborn difference that is discovered, not developed; a distinct and fixed element of a person's nature that is unchangeable.

Emotionally and sexually, same-sex orientation is not a matter of who persons choose to become, they have claimed, but who they already are.

A linchpin of the evidential basis for the US Supreme Court decision sanctioning same-sex marriage, for example, was that same-sex orientation reflected an "immutable nature [which] dictate[d] that same-sex marriage is their only real path to this profound commitment." (Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, p. 4).

And the point of conflict for tolerance today is not so much for people who want to identify themselves as gay or lesbian, but for people who want, for themselves personally, to avoid or resist such an identification.

On the grounds that they would be denying their immutable nature, numerous legislative and judicial efforts are currently underway to outlaw voluntary therapy for or deny the legitimacy of adults who experience some level of same-sex attraction but do not want to engage in same-sex relations or identify themselves as gay or lesbian.

In the very jurisdictions where persons with same-sex orientation are now free to identify as gay and to engage in same-sex marriage, LGBT ideologues are working to deny the same persons the freedom to decline to identify as gay and to engage in opposite-sex marriage, on the premise that they would thereby be doing violence to who they really are.

This study pulls the rug out from under such thinking.

If gay and lesbian persons are genetically normal, what basis is there for considering them a distinct, protected class subject to preferential treatment under the law or for prohibiting other genetically normal persons from refusing to engage in same-sex behaviour?

The study finds that most persons with the identical genotype as gay or lesbian persons (by an approximate ratio of 2 to 1) end up, for various reasons of social environment or development or personal principle, not engaging in same-sex relations. Shouldn't such persons have equal freedom and legitimacy to do so?

In a free society that values personal autonomy, it is not an appropriate function of law to penalize personal lifestyle choices, no matter how vehemently some may disagree with them or politically incorrect they may be. If it ever did make sense on the premise that gay persons were born that way, in the absence of such a compelling genetic difference, it is impossible to reasonably maintain that tolerance of homosexual behaviour requires intolerance of heterosexual behaviour.

In light of these implications, some of the scientists involved in the study, who are themselves gay, have publicly opposed its publication. Strikingly unaware of their own bias, they expressed concern that the study findings would be "misconstrued" to "advance agendas of hate".

In less heated language, they are concerned that it might be interpreted in ways with which they disagree. For them, the benefits of increased understanding of human behaviour in this area did not outweigh the perceived negative political implications of the findings for the expression of gay identity.

The lead authors of the study, some of whom are also gay, are to be commended for resisting the impulse to suppress scientific evidence for the sake of political expediency. Although sadly often violated today, the conviction that the dissemination of evidence and ideas should not be censored by political considerations is fundamental to modern science.

While we can dispute, hopefully with mutual respect, who may be being hateful to whom in their interpretation of the results, in the end we will all find our best modus vivendi on the basis of policy and law that reflects solid objective evidence, honestly presented, as this study exemplifies.

Or as a wise man once said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free".

Rev. D. Paul Sullins recently retired as Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of America, Washington DC. He is a Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute. Dr. 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.



Catholic Culture Has Changed Forever: And That’s a Good Thing


by Jennifer Roback Morse May 8, 2019, at National Catholic Register.
 
COMMENTARY: The sex-abuse scandal has given ordinary laypeople the ability to facilitate real change. Case in point: the Diocese of Buffalo, New York.

The clergy sex-abuse scandal has irrevocably changed Catholic culture. Ordinary Catholics are comfortable today doing and saying things that would have been unthinkable to them just a few short years ago. And this is a good thing.


More than changes to Church governance, the policies and procedures, changes in what ordinary Catholics expect of themselves have the potential to improve the health of the Church. We have the potential to help the victims find healing and justice. And our new sense of what is acceptable behavior has the potential to pressure the clergy themselves into better behavior.

The ongoing drama in the Diocese of Buffalo, New York, illustrates these points. Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone has come under fire for covering up clergy sexual abuse. The diocese released a list of 42 credibly accused priests. However, the local TV station found more than 100 names. The FBI is investigating the diocese. A federal grand jury has subpoenaed two retired judges who are overseeing a diocesan program to compensate abuse victims. The usual mess.

In a slightly new and different twist, the diocese recently placed several priests on administrative leave for issues not directly related to sexual abuse of minors.

A local news source reports:

“According to the diocese, ‘unsuitable, inappropriate and insensitive conversations’ took place during a social gathering of seminarians and priests on April 11 that some seminarians found to be offensive.”

Five priests and 14 seminarians were present at this pizza party at a local rectory. Three priests were placed on administrative leave. The other two priests were reprimanded for not doing enough to stop the inappropriate conversation.

Of the 14 seminarians present, five have been interviewed as of this writing. They tell a mutually consistent story of (very) crude conversation that most Catholics would regard as (really) inappropriate for clergy.

To say that the diocese has “trust issues” would be an understatement. Many local Catholics don’t trust anything that comes out of the chancery or Christ the King Seminary. This cloud of suspicion is a basic fact of our current Catholic culture, and it affects how people respond.

When the pizza-party story broke, I saw people defending one of the priests on Facebook. They were sure Bishop Malone was trying to get rid of this priest, whom they regarded as good and orthodox. Eventually, more evidence came out confirming the seminarians’ story that the priest in fact made the inappropriate comments. But the original reaction shows how little trust people have in the Catholic establishment in Buffalo.

I also saw people connecting the dots between priests’ sexually explicit talk in the presence of seminarians, a priest having a “romantic interest” in a seminarian and clergy sexual abuse of minors. In the public mind, tolerance of one issue leads to tolerance of the other issues and to an environment of clergy covering for each other.

Do we, as members of the general public, have all the facts? No, of course not.

In the nature of things, we cannot have all the facts about a private gathering. This is obviously not the healthiest environment for getting to the truth of important matters. But the diocese has only itself to blame. Its pattern of nontransparency induces people to project the worst possible interpretation onto uncertain situations.

This a noteworthy change in Catholic culture. Once upon a time in post-World War II America, Catholics revered their priests. Bing Crosby’s Father Charles O’Malley would never harm anyone or tell a lie. Catholics and non-Catholics alike trusted Bishop Fulton Sheen. Even in the post-Vatican II theological free-for-all, dissenting and faithful Catholics alike would have been uneasy with the assumption that a bishop was lying to them.

Those days are long gone. Questioning clergy and their motives is no longer a marker for disrespect, dissent or anti-Catholicism. We are light-years away even from the scandals of 2002. Back then, some of the best investigative reporting was done by news outlets that also pushed for heterodox changes in Church teaching. Back then, people who loved the Church’s magisterium tried to minimize the scandals. But now, in the post-McCarrick era, Catholic laity across the theological board believe it is socially acceptable, and even praiseworthy, to blow the whistle.

Bishop Malone’s personal secretary, Siobhan O’Connor, was fond of him. Yet she was the person who released incriminating documents. Why? She listened to the victims. She was never the same afterward. She concluded that standing with the victims was serving Christ and his bride, the Church.

A local news reporter, Charlie Specht, has conducted extensive, relentless investigations of the diocese. (Type his name into the search bar of WKBW News along with “clergy sex abuse” and you’ll see what I mean.) Unlike the crew of lapsed Catholics and atheists at The Boston Globe who revealed Cardinal Bernard Law’s malfeasance, Specht is a devout practicing Catholic. He loves and respects the Church. He wants her to be what she ought to be.

One more, unambiguously good sign: The seminarians did not cower. They spoke out. They may get kicked around by their formators. We don’t really know what is going on internally. But these men knew that they would have support from the Catholic community and the general public.

I don’t know if the Pope or the U.S. bishops are going to come up with changes to canon law or new policies and procedures. Personally, I think the old policy was good. Obey the Ten Commandments, especially Nos. 6 (Do not commit adultery) and 8 (Do not bear false witness.) As Buffalo whistleblower O’Connor said, “There’s nothing wrong with the code of conduct. It needs to be enforced.”

Catholic culture is changing. Clergy, priests and bishops, you’re on notice: We are watching. We aren’t leaving the Church. Neither are we staying and going back to “business as usual.” Deal with it, gentlemen. This is the new reality of Catholic culture.

And ordinary practicing Catholics, take heart. Your vigilance is making a difference.

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