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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: Wednesday, February 20, 2019
On February 15, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, sent a letter to Cardinal Roger Mahony, asking him to withdraw as a speaker at the upcoming Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (March 21-24).
In her letter, Morse notes her work as an advocate for survivors of the sexual revolution, many of whom have suffered from childhood sexual abuse. “Rightly or wrongly, they see you as a symbol of the mishandling of the sexual abuse of children by the clergy,” Morse told Mahony.
Cardinal Mahony was archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 to 2011. In 2013, he was barred from any public ministry in Los Angeles by his successor, Archbishop Jose Gomez.
At the time, an article in the National Catholic Reporter said the move reflected, “Mahony’s alleged failures to protect young people from sexually abusive priests – documented in court filings in recent years.”
In light of this, Morse said it was difficult to comprehend why Mahony was invited to address the Congress in the first place and that his appearance at an event geared in part to youth is “deeply hurtful” to victims of clerical abuse.
Morse told the Cardinal that withdrawing from speaking at the Congress “would show respect for the feelings of people who have already suffered too much.”
The Ruth Institute is the sponsor of an online petition calling for Cardinal Mahony’s withdrawal.
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization that defends the family at home and in the public square, while equipping others to do the same.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, write to email@example.com.
Posted on: Monday, February 11, 2019
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published January 7, 2019, at NCRegister.com.
Hermann Stilke, St. Joan of Arc in Battle1843
I have a New Year’s resolution for you to consider. My suggested resolution is doable. It will make a difference in the quality of your life. It will allow you to make a difference in the world around you, including the clergy sex-abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, and in the politics of your community.
Give up defeatism.
You know the sort of thing I mean. “Western Civilization is collapsing. The Church is collapsing. Everyone is corrupt. I can’t trust anyone.” Even worse, the defeatist thought pattern leads to the defeatist behavior pattern: “Nothing can be done. So I will do nothing.”
Sorry. No-go. None of us has the right to excuse ourselves from constructive action.
Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying everything is hunky-dory. Far from it. We are in the midst of a civilizational shift. The old structures and rules are not working as they once did. We are living in a time of deliberately created confusion, pathological selfishness and the calculated creation of divisions. The world is shaking itself apart. When the shaking stops, we will be in a different world.
For reasons that are not entirely clear to us, God has assigned us to live in this time and this place.
This very moment of crisis is actually an opportunity. In fact, the word “crisis” dates from the late Middle English and is based on a Greek word meaning “decision.” In medical usage, the term “crisis” means the turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.
In other words, we are in the process of deciding what kind of world we are going to become. “We” includes you and me, dear reader. What we do matters.
To be fair, not many people actually embrace full-on defeatism. “The end of the world is at hand. Nothing can be done about it. Head for the hills. Hunker down. Protect your own family. Poke your head up periodically to post comments on my internet site.”
But if the material you are reading makes you want to head for the hills and hunker down, you’ve got a problem.
The question isn’t whether or not things are bad. They are. The question is, “What is my responsibility in this situation? What is God asking of me, right here, right now?”
Here are some suggestions for implementing the “No-Defeatism Resolution.”
Besides, you will feel better if you are doing something constructive. The world sometimes tries to tell us that we need to feel better before we change our behavior. This counsel is especially destructive for parents of small children. “Make your children comfortable and happy. Then they will behave.” The opposite is closer to the truth. Kids feel better when they behave better. Focus on the behavior. The feelings will follow.
That same principle applies to us as adults. We can’t change the whole world, but we can change our little corner of it. And we’ll feel better when we know we’ve done something constructive.
We are living through some terrible times. Decades of theological dissent have taken their toll. Besides the inept catechesis and poorly formed consciences, we now know that dissent has provided cover for a lot of truly immoral behavior.
The revelations of corruption and abuse are a good thing. The corruption and abuse have been there for a long time. Now that we know, we can do something about it.
The sexual revolution, inside and outside the Church, is imploding. It is collapsing on its own insubstantial core. The sexual revolutionary ideology promised “fun” and “freedom.” Those things do not look so appealing anymore.
We have the opportunity to reclaim lost territory for Jesus Christ and his Church, but only if we don’t lose our heads. We have to keep our wits about us. We must stay on the playing field.
That is why I am resolved: No defeatism in 2019.
Posted on: Monday, February 04, 2019
by Dorothy Cummings McLean
LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana, February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-family organization has launched a petition asking Cardinal Roger Mahony, infamous for covering up child sexual abuse by his clergy, to withdraw as a speaker at the upcoming Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.
The retired archbishop is invited to speak at the Catholic conference that is taking place March 22-24. The topic of his March 23rd address will be "Connecting Junior High and High School Students with the Volatile Immigration Issues."
The Ruth Institute, an inter-faith pro-family organization combating the Sexual Revolution and clerical sex abuse, launched the petition at CitizenGo. The petition currently has over 800 signatures.
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, the president of the Ruth Institute, told LifeSiteNews that Mahony represents what's wrong with the church's handling of the abuse crisis and should not be addressing Catholic conferences, no matter how pious his topic might be.
"I don't care if he's teaching children the Hail Mary. The subject of his talk is not the issue. He's a symbol of all the wrong things and he shouldn't be there," she said.
Morse said the petition was inspired by a combination of issues.
“The clergy sex abuse issue has been gnawing at me all summer, and then there’s Mahony’s history, and the L.A. Religious Education Congress – all coming together,” she said.
Cardinal Mahony and the L.A. Archdiocese have been embroiled in a scandal for years surrounding the cover-up of clerical sexual abuse and transfer of abusers to other locations. The archdiocese has been forced to pay out $600 million in settlements.
Morse is concerned for the effect Cardinal Mahony’s appearance at the Conference will have on survivors of clerical sexual abuse.
“People who have suffered childhood sexual abuse are triggered,” she said. “They are triggered by a person like Mahony.”
“It is so utterly clueless to give such a guy a platform,” she continued. “It’s not like this Congress has to have him. What are they even thinking?”
Morse said that the immediate inspiration, however, was Catholic writer Joseph Sciambra’s article, which was republished by LifeSiteNews, about Mahony’s appearance at the 2019 conference.
“You know, this has got to stop,” said Morse.
The scandal arising from revelations of Mahony’s bad management when he oversaw the archdiocese led Archbishop Jose Gomez to relieve the Cardinal of all administrative and public duties in 2013. Nevertheless, the Cardinal has accepted invitations to speak – and then rescinded after vociferous protest from outraged Catholics.
“We all thought Archbishop Gomez asked him not to appear publicly,” Morse said. “This has happened on two other occasions, and he didn’t appear.”
Whether Cardinal Mahony withdraws of his own volition or is disinvited is not the point.
“If he wants to save face by saying he doesn’t want to come, that’s fine with me,” Morse stated. “He should have the common sense and decency to see that his presence there is an affront to survivors of sexual abuse.”
Withdrawing, she said, “is a classy thing that he should do.”
In a press release, Dr. Morse concluded: “Your Eminence, with all due respect to your office, show some class. Stay home from the Religious Education Congress. Your presence will be hurtful to people who have already suffered enough.”
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization dedicated to fighting the Sexual Revolution and helping survivors to heal. It defends the family at home and in the public square and equips others to do the same.
The petition asking Cardinal Mahony to withdraw from the L.A. Congress can be found here.
Posted on: Monday, January 07, 2019
By Kevin Jones
After years in decline, Catholic clergy sex abuse could be on the rise again, warns a professor-priest’s analysis of relevant data.
The professor’s report sees a rising trend in abuse, and argues that the evidence strongly suggests links between sexual abuse of minors and two factors:
a disproportionate number of homosexual clergy, and the manifestation of a “homosexual subculture” in seminaries.
“The thing we’ve been told about the sex abuse is that it is somehow very rare and declined to almost nothing today is really not true,” Father D. Paul Sullins, a Catholic priest and retired Catholic University of America sociology professor, told a Nov. 2 press conference.
“I found that clergy sex abuse did drop to almost nothing after 2002, but then it started to creep up,” he continued. “It’s been increasing. And there are signs that the bishops or the dioceses have gotten complacent about that.”
“It’s not at the great heights that it was in the mid-1970s, but it’s rising. And it’s headed in that direction,” he added.
Clergy sex abuse incidence is today about one third as common as in the late 1980s. While sex abuse by clergy is “much lower” than 30 years ago, it has not declined “as much as is commonly thought.” Most of the decline since the 1990s is consistent with “a similar general decline in child sex abuse in America since that time,” Sullins’ report said.
The decline is not necessarily related to measures taken by the U.S. bishops. Sullins told the press conference he saw no link between a decline in abuse and the implementation of the U.S. bishops’ 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young Adults.
“Recent experience calls into question whether the current understanding of the nature of the abuse and how to reduce it is accurate or sufficient,” said Sullins in his report.
Efforts to address clergy abuse must acknowledge both “the recent increase of abuse amid growing complacency” and the “very strong probability” that the
surge in abuse in past and present is “a product, at least in part, of the past surge and present concentration of homosexual men in the Catholic priesthood.”
The report was released Nov. 2 by the Louisiana-based Ruth Institute, where Sullins is a senior research associate. It has been reviewed by several scholars, including four social scientists, and is planned to be included in an upcoming book.
His study aimed to address a common question: is the sex abuse related in any way to homosexual men in the priesthood?
“I hear on the one hand denial of that, almost without even thinking about it, and I also hear advocacy of that, almost without even thinking about it,” Sullins said Nov. 2. “The question comes up logically because the vast majority of victims were boys. Usually in sex abuse of minors, two-thirds of victims are girls.”
Sullins’ report is titled “Is Catholic clergy sex abuse related to homosexual priests?” and he does not avoid the sometimes controversial question. The report compares “previously unexamined measures of the share of homosexual Catholic priests” and the incidence and victim gender of minor sex abuse victims by Catholic priests from 1950 to 2001.
Sullins’ sources included a 2002 survey of 1,854 priests by the Los Angeles Times that included questions about respondents’ sexual orientation, age, year of ordination, and whether they thought there was a homosexual subculture in their seminary. He measured abuse using data provided by the authors of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice reports, which themselves used reports of abuse provided by Catholic dioceses.
“Although over 8 in 10 of victims have been boys, the idea that the abuse is related to homosexual men in the priesthood has not been widely accepted by Church leaders,” said Sullins.
“(T)he data show that more homosexual men in the priesthood was correlated with more overall abuse and more boys abused compared to girls,” he added.
The increase or decrease in the percent of male victims correlated “almost perfectly” with the increase or decrease of homosexual men in the priesthood, he said, citing a 0.98 correlation. While the correlation was lower among victims under age 8, it was “lower but still strong,” 0.77. The statistical association between homosexual priests and abuse incidence was “extremely strong,” given that this scale ranges from -1.0, an inverse correlation, to 1.0, an absolute positive correlation.
Such results were “as close as you can get to a perfect correlation as I have ever seen,” Sullins said Nov. 2, adding that researchers usually consider correlation association above 0.3 or 0.4 to be a strong effect.
He took care to say it is the disproportionate presence of homosexual men in the priesthood, not the simple presence of any homosexual men, that appears to be the major factor.
“What I say in the paper is that when homosexual men were represented in the priesthood at about the same rate as they were in the population, there was no measurable problem of child sex abuse,” Sullins said. “It was only when you had a preponderance of homosexual men.”
The percentage of homosexual men in the general population is estimated at two percent. In the 1950s, homosexual men in the priesthood were about twice their percentage in the general population, making up four percent. in the 1980s they were eight times the percentage in the general population, 16 percent, according to Sullins.
“When you get up to 16 percent of priests that are homosexual, and you’ve got eight times the proportion of homosexuals as you do in the general population, it’s as if the priesthood becomes a particularly welcoming and enabling and encouraging population for homosexual activity and behavior,” he said Nov. 2.
Sullins was clear he wanted to avoid recommending any particular action based on his research.
“I would certainly not recommend that we remove all homosexuals from the priesthood,” he said. “The reason for that is: the abuse is not necessarily related to someone’s sexual orientation.” He cited his knowledge of men with same-sex attraction who are “strong, faithful persons,” adding “I would hate to have some sort of litmus test for that.”
If the Catholic Church in the U.S. were like most institutions, where two-thirds of abuse victims were female, people would reject the suggestion to eliminate all heterosexual men from the priesthood. That suggestion would be an “ideological reaction,” he said.
He suggested the priesthood should reflect the general population, as a sign priests are selected for “holiness and commitment to Christ and the things that we would hope would make for a good priest.”
“When you start to get a larger proportion of homosexuals It looks like you are actually selecting for same-sex orientation,” he said.
Seminary candidates have reported about the problems this disproportion creates, he continued. According to Sullins, Donald Cozzens' 2000 book “The Changing Face of the Priesthood” discusses accounts of homosexual students being so prevalent at some seminaries that heterosexual men felt destabilized and disoriented and left.
“That’s not a positive outcome. I do not think we would want to have that proportion of a homosexual culture in the priesthood,” said Sullins.
There appear to be verifiable trends in increases and decreases in the ordinations of homosexual priests.
“From 1965 to 1995 an average of at least one in five priests ordained annually were homosexual, a concentration which drove the overall proportion of homosexual men in the priesthood up to 16 percent, or one in six priests, by the late 1990s,” said Sullins’ report.
“This trend was strongly correlated with increasing child sex abuse,” he said.
Drawing on his findings, Sullins predicted that if the proportion of homosexual priests remained at the 1950s level “at least 12,000 fewer children, mostly boys, would have suffered abuse,” he said. As a percentage, this means abuse would have been about 85 percent lower.
The presence of homosexual subcultures in seminaries, as reported by priests considering their own seminary life, accounts for about half the incidence of abuse, but apparently not among heterosexual men.
“Homosexual subcultures encouraged greater abuse, but not by heterosexual men, just by homosexual men,” Sullins said Nov. 2. He suggested these subcultures encourage those who may have been attracted to male victims to act out more than would have been the case otherwise.
Sullins, a former Episcopal priest, has been married for 30 years and has three children. He was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 2002 by then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington.
“I was surprised and shocked, like most of us earlier this year, to hear about Cardinal McCarrick,” Sullins said. “I was particularly impressed by that because I was ordained by Cardinal McCarrick in 2002, and probably knew him better than most people would have.”
His report follows the June revelations that former Archbishop McCarrick was credibly accused of sex assault on a minor, revelations which prompted men to come forward saying he had sexually abused them as seminarians—and prompted Pope Francis to accept the archbishop’s almost unprecedented resignation from the cardinalate. McCarrick was deeply influential and had been a leading personality in the U.S. bishops’ response to the 2002 scandals.
In August, a Pennsylvania grand jury released its report on Catholic clergy sex abuse in six dioceses. It tallied over 1,000 credible accusations against hundreds of priests over decades, though many of these accusations had been reported in 2004.
“What was new in 2018 was not primarily the revelation of abuse by priests, but of a possible pattern of resistance, minimization, enablement and secrecy—a ‘cover-up’—on the part of bishops,” said Sullins, who used some of the grand jury report data for his study.
As part of the U.S. bishops’ response to the first sex abuse scandal in 2002, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice issued two bishop-commissioned reports: a 2004 report on the nature and scope of clergy sex abuse and a 2011 report on the causes and context of sex abuse.
Sullins criticized the 2011 report’s claim that sex abuse perpetrators are mainly “situational or opportunistic” and the sex of the victim is less relevant to them. In his view, multiple offenders “abused a higher proportion of male victims than did single offenders, and the proportion increased with higher numbers of victims.” If multiple offenders were better at acquiring victims, “they appear to have used their skills to obtain access to more boys, not fewer.”
Abuse of girls dropped off at the same rate in the 1980s and 1990s, and the data suggest that as girls became more prevalent in priestly life, such as in the introduction of altar girls, abusers of boys “responded to the presence of fewer younger boys primarily by turning to older boys, not to female victims.”
For clergy offenders who were “classic or fixated pedophiles,” targeting only victims under age eight, they still strongly preferred male victims, “conditional on higher proportions of homosexual men in the priesthood.”
Sex abuse by Catholic clergy is “substantially less” than in similar institutions or communities, but it is notable that underage victims of sex assault by Catholic priests in U.S. Catholic parishes and schools have been “overwhelmingly male,” said Sullins. Comparable reports in Germany indicate that up to 90 percent of abuse victims of Catholic clergy have been male, compared to about half of victims in Protestant or non-religious settings in that country.
Some Catholic commentators have blamed clericalism for the abuse. Pope Francis’ August 20 letter on sex abuse, which did not mention homosexuality, said communities where sexual abuse and “the abuse of power and conscience” have taken place are characterized by efforts to reduce the Catholic faithful to “small elites” or otherwise replace, silence or ignore them.
“To say ‘no’ to abuse is to say an emphatic ‘no’ to all forms of clericalism,” the Pope said.
In a May 21, 2018 audience with Italian bishops, the Pope said it is better not to let seminary candidates enter if they have “even the slightest doubt” about the fitness of individuals with homosexual “deep-seated tendencies” or who practice “homosexual acts,” but want to enter the seminary.
These acts or deep-seated tendencies can lead to scandals and can compromise the life of the seminary, as well as the man himself and his future priesthood, he said, according to Vatican Insider.
A 2016 document from the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy, “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation,” cites a 2005 Vatican document which says: “the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’.”
The bishops’ 2002 child protection charter drew criticism from Sullins. Its failure to acknowledge that bishops can commit abuse or cover up abuse “seemed to confirm the suggestion of a cover-up: indeed, to the extent bishops may have covered up priestly misbehavior, the charter itself may have covered up episcopal misbehavior.”
He faulted the 2011 John Jay report on the causes and context of clergy sex abuse, which said that a reported increase in homosexual men in seminaries in the 1980s did not correspond to the number of boys abused. Sullins noted that the authors acknowledged they did not collect or examine direct data on priests’ sexual identity and any changes in it over the years. They relied on “subjective clinical estimates and second-hand narrative reports of apparent homosexual activity in seminaries,” Sullins said.
The Ruth Institute, which published Sullins’ report, was founded in 2008 by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, an economics-trained author and writer on marriage, family and human sexuality. She served as spokesperson for Proposition 8, the California ballot measure which defined marriage as a union of one man and one woman. The institute was backed by the National Organization for Marriage Education Fund until 2013.
Groups including the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and the Southern Poverty Law Center have criticized the Ruth Institute’s stance against same-sex marriage and other LGBT causes.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which originally monitored foes of the civil rights movement, in the 1980s began tracking neo-Nazi groups and Ku Klux Klan affiliates. In recent years it has listed mainstream groups like the Ruth Institute, the Family Research Council and Alliance Defending Freedom as “hate groups” for their “anti-LGBT” stance.
In an Aug. 23, 2017 response to the listing, the Ruth Institute said it “categorically condemns white supremacy, racism, Nazism, and all violent totalitarian political movements.”
“People who cannot defend their positions using reason and evidence resort to name-calling to change the subject away from their anemic arguments,” the institute said. “The ‘hate group’ label is a club such people invented to bludgeon their political opponents.”
Posted on: Thursday, November 15, 2018
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first posted October 11, 2018, at Washington Examiner.
The “summer from hell” for the Catholic Church has prompted many people to ask Catholics, “Why are you staying in that awful church?” Both the New York Timesand the Washington Posthave run stories with this theme. Many Catholics are privately asking themselves that very question.
Posted on: Wednesday, November 14, 2018
by Jennifer Roback Morse at Legatus.org on Nov. 1, 2018.
Our beloved Catholic Church is facing the worst crisis in 500 years. Clergy sexual abuse, rampant sexual immorality, and cover-up by Church authorities: it adds up to a Church deeply in need of reform. We are waiting anxiously to see what the hierarchy decides to do. But we have no control over their actions, and indeed, they are divided among themselves. So what can we as laity do to help our mother in her hour of need?
I have been on the forefront of defending the Church’s teaching on marriage, family, and human sexuality for the past decade. In my opinion, the laity can and must do two things.
First, we must make it our business to work for justice for the victims of clergy sexual abuse. No excuse-making. “But the Protestants and public schools have as much abuse as we do.” Perhaps true, but not relevant. The only relevant fact is our commitment to getting our own house in order. That includes: justice for the victims, and punishment for the perpetrators, including those who covered up. Justice also includes protection and support for innocent clergy.
Second, we must make it our business to proclaim the Church’s teaching on marriage, family, and human sexuality in our own sphere of influence. This is directly relevant to the current crisis. If the clergy had lived up to Church teaching, including the 6th Commandment and their vows of celibacy, none of the abuse would ever have happened.
I will go further and say: the world desperately needs to hear the Church’s timeless message. We need not apologize for our beliefs. Sexual self-command, lifelong married love, and the need of children for their parents: These teachings are good, decent, and life-giving.
We now know why we have heard so little from the clergy: too many of them are morally compromised. Others are under the thumb of corrupt superiors.
The only way we can be sure the world hears the Church’s teaching is for us, the laity, to deliver that message ourselves.
Please note: these are guiding principles, not a detailed program. Each person will implement these principles in his own unique way, depending on vocation, location, and the season of life. The mother of school children will have a very different role than an attorney at the peak of his career. Both are different from a college student or a young professional beginning her first job. But every one of these people may be needed to address a situation in a local school or church. Every one of them can spread the message of lifelong, life-giving love.
If we make excuses for ourselves or the Church, we are going to look bad, and make the Church look bad. If we act like “business as usual,” we are going to die in an empty church. More importantly, the Lord will ask each one of us for an accounting of how we handle ourselves in this great crisis.
If on the other hand, we faithful Catholics conduct ourselves with dignity and integrity and charity, we will pull our Church through this crisis. We will expose and correct evils that should have been addressed long ago. We will create room for a genuine flourishing of the Gospel. Our neighbors will be drawn to us.
In other words, this is our chance to become saints. We can be crusaders for the truth like
St. Athanasius and authentic reformers like St. Teresa of Avila. Let’s not drop the ball.
Posted on: Monday, November 12, 2018
by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was published November 12, 2018 at National Catholic Register.
COMMENTARY: Church leadership won’t solve this current crisis unless it confronts homosexual practice among the clergy and especially the networks of homosexually oriented clergy operating to protect each other.
I hesitate to wade into areas in which I have no direct information. But I feel compelled to point out the illogic of continuing to claim that the current clergy sex abuse and cover-up scandal is unrelated to homosexual activity among Catholic priests.
At this late date, too much circumstantial evidence has emerged to ignore: This crisis would not exist, but for homosexual practice among the clergy and especially the networks of homosexually oriented clergy operating to protect each other.
The most recent denial of the obvious comes to us from longtime Vaticanista and editor of La Stampa, Andrea Tornielli. In an under-reported article from Sept. 14, he asks: “Is the root, the origin of the problem of abuse really to be found in the homosexuality of priests?” He replies:
Even for McCarrick’s case, in fact, the problem is clericalism, the abuse of power and conscience, which comes before sexual abuse and is committed by people — priests or bishops — who can never be considered equal to their victims, on whom they exert an influence and often a subtle or obvious form of blackmail. … No, McCarrick did not have homosexual relations. He harassed and abused seminarians in the name of his episcopal power, making them understand that going to the beach house with him and submitting to his attention was an obligatory step to be better known to him and to land a priestly ordination.
This statement is remarkable on multiple levels. First, he claims that Archbishop Theodore McCarrick did not have homosexual relations. I do not know how Tornielli knows this. Second, Tornielli argues against a position that no serious person holds. No one denies that Archbishop McCarrick and others abused their power and authority. I oppose this corruption, as does everyone I know or associate with.
The important unanswered question, hiding in plain sight like Edgar Allen Poe’s purloined letter, is this: To what purpose did McCarrick abuse his power?
His goal was evidently, at least in part, the pursuit of illicit sexual stimulation. Perhaps he enjoyed having people under his thumb and within his power: That is often part of the profile of an abuser. But we have no basis at all for claiming that sexual activity itself was of no interest to him or had no casual role in his decadeslong pattern of behavior.
Tornielli asks, “Are those who today are whizzing around minimizing child abuse — as if it were a secondary problem — right to focus it all on homosexuality?”
Data from the John Jay Reports in 2004 and 2011, from the Pennsylvania grand jury report, and from the recent report on German clergy sex abuse all conclude that at least 80% of the cases involved teenaged boys, not girls, not prepubescent children. Let me turn Tornielli’s question around: How long are we going to avoid confronting that 80% figure?
We now have two additional pieces of evidence to show the significance of homosexual behavior in the priesthood. The first is the new study conducted by Father Paul Sullins, Ph.D., and published by my organization, the Ruth Institute. In that study, summarized in this two-page backgrounder, Father Sullins finds that the incidence of clergy sexual abuse is strongly correlated with both the number of priests claiming a homosexual orientation and the percentage of priests claiming that a “homosexual subculture” existed in their seminaries.
Even more troubling, the study indicates that the incidence of clergy sexual abuse has increased since 2002 and is now comparable to levels in the 1970s.
The second piece of important evidence comes from testimony of Father Boniface Ramsey in Commonweal. Father Ramsey reports that during his tenure as a faculty member at Immaculate Conception Seminary in New Jersey, he persuaded the faculty to expel a seminarian. He reports:
When I returned to the seminary to begin the next academic year, the rector told me that McCarrick knew that I was largely responsible for the expulsion of the seminarian in question, and that in consequence he had removed me from the voting faculty. I have come to realize, in retrospect, that McCarrick must have learned this from another member of the voting faculty who was present, and that this was a breach of confidence. …
When he described this situation to another cleric, he received a surprising response:
I recall what he said — that “we all know” that McCarrick had “picked up” someone at an airport. From what I understand, McCarrick had met a good-looking flight attendant and invited him to become a seminarian then and there. (I’ve been told this was not the only such spontaneous invitation.) Whether this person shared McCarrick’s bed at the beach house or anywhere else, I don’t know, but he was clearly significant enough in McCarrick’s eyes for McCarrick to fire me when I led the charge to have him expelled.
Let us concede that Archbishop McCarrick abused his power and authority, on multiple levels, in this situation. But to what end? Let’s review:
You can believe what you want to believe. I’ll believe what I want to believe. I believe then-Archbishop McCarrick’s patterns of sexual preference and behavior were relevant. I also believe he had a “network” of people who were morally compromised in one way or another, who helped him accomplish his abuses of power.
No one is minimizing the harm to little girls and boys or to teenaged girls. We want to get to the bottom of this crisis. We want to root out the abusers and the structures that allowed their abuse to continue. We can’t accomplish this unless we confront the 80% figure squarely in the face.
Posted on: Tuesday, November 06, 2018
Catholic World News
November 02, 2018, at Catholic Culture.
A new study from the Ruth Institute has demonstrated a high correlation between the proportion of homosexuals in the Catholic priesthood and the incidence of sexual abuse by the clergy.
The study conducted by Father Paul Sullins, a Catholic University sociologist, found that the percentage of homosexual men in the priesthood has risen sharply. The study also found a disturbing increase in the number of sexual-misconduct reports lodged against priests since 2010, “amidst signs of complacency by Church leaders.” The incidence of new charges (as opposed to charges involving alleged misconduct in past years) is now nearly as high as in the 1970s.
An earlier study by the John Jay College, commissioned by the US bishops’ conference, had denied a connection between homosexuality and clerical abuse. But the John Jay study had not examined the change in the number of homosexuals entering the priesthood. Father Sullins, using data from the same report, shows a very strong statistical correlation between a rise in the proportion of homosexuals in the priesthood and the number of abuse charges.
The rise in the proportion of homosexual priests has been striking, the Ruth Institute study found. In the 1950s, the homosexual presence within the American Catholic priesthood was estimated to be roughly twice that of the overall population; by the 1980s, it was eight times the level of the overall population. To buttress this estimate, the study notes that the number of young priests who reported encountering a homosexual subculture in the seminary doubled between the 1960s and 1980s.
Father Sullins estimates that if the proportion of homosexual priests had remained that the level of the 1950s, the surge in abuse might not have occurred and “at least 12,000 fewer children, mostly boys, would have suffered abuse.” In an interview with the National Catholic Register, the priest-sociologist acknowledged that his report will be criticized as hostile to homosexuals. But he said: “I would say that if it’s a choice between being called homophobic and allowing more young boys to be abused, I would choose to be at risk for being called homophobic.”
Posted on: Monday, November 05, 2018
Our Ruth Institute report, published at an Italian website,
November 4, 2018.
Un nuovo studio del Ruth Institute tende a dimostrare un'elevato tasso di correlazione tra la percentuale di omosessuali nel sacerdozio cattolico e l'incidenza degli abusi sessuali da parte del clero. La percentuale di uomini omosessuali nel sacerdozio è aumentata drasticamente accanto a segnalazioni di cattiva condotta presentate contro i preti dal 2010.
Un nuovo studio del Ruth Institute tende a dimostrare un'elevato tasso di correlazione tra la percentuale di omosessuali nel sacerdozio cattolico e l'incidenza degli abusi sessuali da parte del clero. Lo studio condotto da padre Paul Sullins, un sociologo dell'Università Cattolica, ha rilevato che la percentuale di uomini omosessuali nel sacerdozio è aumentata drasticamente. Lo studio ha anche riscontrato un preoccupante aumento del numero di segnalazioni di cattiva condotta presentate contro i preti dal 2010, "Tra i segni di compiacimento dei dirigenti della Chiesa". L'incidenza di nuove accuse (al contrario di accuse di presunta cattiva condotta negli anni passati) è ora quasi all'altezza degli anni '70.
Un precedente studio del John Jay College, commissionato dalla conferenza episcopale degli Stati Uniti, aveva negato una connessione tra omosessualità e abuso del clero; anche se le cifre in realtà dimostravano che nell’80 per cento dei casi i colpevoli erano omosessuali. La discrepanza fra l’affermazione della ricercatrice e le cifre avevano fatto pensare a un timore di andare contro il “politically correct” del momento. Inoltre lo studio del John Jay College non aveva preso in esame il cambiamento nel numero di omosessuali che entravano nel sacerdozio. Padre Sullins, utilizzando i dati dello stesso rapporto, mostra una correlazione statistica molto forte tra un aumento della percentuale di omosessuali nel sacerdozio e il numero di accuse di abuso.
Dice padre Sullins: “Negli anni '50, circa il 3% dei preti aveva un orientamento omosessuale, secondo le relazioni. Negli anni '80 era salito a oltre il 16%. Quindi abbiamo una sorta di aumento di cinque volte della percentuale di preti omosessuali, in una linea piuttosto lineare dagli anni '50 agli anni '80. E abbiamo un aumento molto simile di episodi di abuso nello stesso periodo, e non conosciamo l'orientamento sessuale di alcun particolare aggressore. Quindi stiamo deducendo dall'associazione di queste due correlazioni che c'è una certa influenza di una sull'altra. Quindi la mia conclusione deve essere l'opposto di quella del rapporto John Jay”.
L'aumento della proporzione di preti omosessuali è stata sorprendente secondo lo studio del Ruth Institute. Negli anni '50, la presenza omosessuale all'interno del sacerdozio cattolico americano era stimata all'incirca il doppio di quella della popolazione complessiva; negli anni '80, la percentuale era otto volte il livello di omosessuali riscontrato nella popolazione complessiva. Fra gli elementi usati per confermare la validità di questa stima, lo studio si basa su un elemento, e cioè che il numero di giovani sacerdoti che hanno riferito di incontrare una sottocultura omosessuale nel seminario è raddoppiato tra gli anni '60 e '80.
Padre Sullins stima che se la proporzione di preti omosessuali fosse rimasta eguale a quella riscontrata negli anni '50, la drammatica crescita negli abusi sessuali da parte di esponenti del clero avrebbe potuto essere evitata e “almeno dodicimila minori in meno, per lo più maschi, avrebbero subito abusi". In un'intervista al National Catholic Register, il sacerdote-sociologo ha riconosciuto che il suo rapporto sarà criticato e attaccato come ostile agli omosessuali. Ma ha detto: "Direi che se è una scelta tra l'essere chiamato omofobico e permettere ad altri ragazzi di essere abusati, sceglierei di essere a rischio di essere chiamato omofobico".
Padre Sullins ha affermato che “vi è una diffusa negazione di ogni possibile effetto negativo dell'attività omosessuale o di qualsiasi scoperta che potrebbe non essere benigna per le persone omosessuali nel regno degli studiosi. E penso che, in una certa misura, questo sia vero per il lavoro accademico che è stato fatto sugli abusi sessuali del clero cattolico. Non c'è stata la volontà di confrontare le prove su questo argomento”. Secondo il sacerdote-sociologo
“Abbiamo dei chierici che semplicemente non vogliono vedere o non vogliono sapere che potremmo aver incorporato attività omosessuali tra preti che stanno creando enormi danni alla Chiesa in qualche modo? Potrebbe essere il caso. Negli ultimi sei mesi abbiamo scoperto che esiste la possibilità che i vescovi non abbiano approfondito la conoscenza di questo argomento”.
Se sia stata una copertura, o meno, il sacerdote ha detto: “Alcuni l'hanno definito cover-up. Ci sono prove che ci sia una mancanza di energia o interesse a scoprire la relazione dell'omosessualità con questo tipo di attività. Non so se lo definirei un insabbiamento. Potrei aver usato la parola "cover-up" solo per uniformarmi al termine comune”; ma potrebbe essere una forma di copertura, o di non collaborazione anche per quanto riguarda i dati sugli abusi. Per esempio gli elementi forniti al John Jay College non indicavano in quali diocesi fossero stati commessi gli abusi. “Potrebbe essere che i vescovi, alcuni vescovi, non volevano sapere, non volevano far sapere alla gente quali diocesi erano migliori e quali diocesi erano peggiori? Non lo so”.
Naturalmente padre Sullins verrà accusato di omofobia. Risponde così al National Catholic Register: “Non penso che questi risultati in alcun modo implichino che le persone omosessuali siano di natura o interiormente portate a commettere abusi a un tasso maggiore delle persone eterosessuali….Ma guardo all'influenza di queste sottoculture omosessuali nei seminari, che incoraggiano e promuoveno gli abusi. E trovo che ciò spieghi circa la metà dell'alta correlazione dell'abuso con la percentuale di preti omosessuali. Quindi qualcosa andava al di là del semplice orientamento sessuale per incoraggiare questa orribile attività immorale che ha causato un tale danno a così tante vittime. La mia esperienza nello studio degli omosessuali è stata questa: per le persone che odiano la verità, la verità sembra l'odio”.
Come molti cattolici anche per padre Sullins “la questione in gioco è la credibilità dei vescovi”. Afferma che il suo vscovo, il card. Donald Wuerl, ha fatto più di quanto sia noto in questo campo. “Ma credo che in generale, i vescovi, come gruppo, non possano essere ritenuti degni di fiucia per risolvere questo problema a questo punto, e che altri potrebbero essere più affidabili e più chiari su ciò che c’è da fare”.
Posted on: Monday, October 15, 2018
Just remember: Pray. Learn. Speak Out. Repeat.
This article was first published October 15, 2018, at NCRegister.com.
Faithful Catholics are understandably distressed over the scandalous revelations about our church. Sexual abuse of minors, sexual harassment of seminarians, cover-ups by bishops are all part of the mix, not to mention financial malfeasance for good measure. People may wonder, “What can I do about all this?”
I offer my Three and a Half-Step plan for reforming the Church.
This plan is NOT for people who have specific vocational expertise to offer. If you are a canon lawyer, investigative journalist or retired FBI investigator, I won’t presume to tell you how to do your job. My plan is for ordinary people, without such specialized knowledge.
And yes, you read it right: It is a Three and a Half-Step Plan. Here are the three full steps:
Let me explain each one in turn.
Step 1: Pray.
You better believe we need to pray. The recently revealed sexual and financial corruption is far too deep to address through natural means alone. Yes, of course, we need to use all of our skills and knowledge. But these problems have a supernatural dimension to them. Don’t be stupid: We can’t get this done on our own.
During the worldwide Rosary Coast to Coast Oct. 7, the Ruth Institute’s contribution drew more than 800 people to Lake Charles, Louisiana. In all, the Rosary Coast to Coast comprised more than 1,000 participating locations in the U.S. and an additional 57 around the world. I have no doubt that some of those people were praying for healing for our Church.
Prayer allows us to tell God we are sorry for any ways in which we have enabled or participated in the current mess. There have been many sins of commission related to the scandals within the Church. But for most of us, sins of indifference and omission are more likely the issue. Prayer also reminds us that we are the creatures and God is the Creator. We owe him everything.
When we pray, we can listen to what God wants to tell us. I have found that sometimes when I am trying to figure out what to do or not do, an answer “just comes to me,” during prayer. We can get guidance about what specific actions we should take or not take. Given the huge range of issues that deserve the attention of faithful thoughtful Catholics, receiving direction toward one or another is no small blessing.
Step 2: Learn.
I’m sure most people reading this column in the Register know roughly what is going on in the Church right now. But you may feel overwhelmed by the scope of the problems. We really need to know what we are talking about, or we will discredit ourselves and our cause.
Faithful Catholics need to be informed about the current situation. For instance, the Ruth Institute prepared this backgrounder that addresses the disproportionate number of male victims. This is a manageable amount of information to absorb.
We also need to proclaim the Church’s teachings about marriage, family and human sexuality. Be prepared to explain what the Church teaches about divorce and premarital sex and contraception. Learn about the evidence that shows the Church has been right all along: if we lived these teachings, we would have better lives.
And we would not have sex scandals involving priests preying on young men. So yes, we need to be prepared to explain what the Church teaches about homosexual activity and homosexual identity.
Step 3: Speak Out.
People inside and outside the Church need to know that faithful Catholics want transparency. We want the truth to come out. We are not interested in protecting the Church’s reputation at the expense of innocent victims.
Another advantage of speaking out is that we will embolden the clergy or Church employees who have information about abuse and cover-up but who have been afraid to speak up. We will comfort the victims, some of whom have been seeking justice for years.
Speaking out could include: signing a petition, sharing information on social media, writing to people in authority, including bishops, priest, or governors or congresspeople. Speaking out could also include talking with your friends and neighbors. Whatever you do, keep in mind these two points that we absolutely must convey:
Step 3½: Repeat!
I count it as a “half-step” because you don’t really have anything extra to remember.
I’m dead serious about this. The “Repeat” step is very important. Let’s say you’ve done one round of Pray, Learn, Speak Out. I absolutely promise you: You will not get it all correct and complete on the first pass! You might stumble on your words. Someone might ask you a question you can’t answer. Maybe you make a mistake. Maybe someone gets mad at you. Maybe you get mad.
Your next move is the crucial move: You MUST NOT QUIT!!!!
Go back to Step 1 and Pray. “Lord, what did that person really want to know? What were they thinking? What was I thinking?” Or, if everything went well, you could say, “Thank you, Jesus! That was fun! What do you want me to do next!?”
I’ve been preaching Church teaching since roughly 2001. Trust me on this. You are going to make mistakes. The only way to improve is to keep reflecting on your encounters with people. You might as well do your reflecting in front of the Blessed Sacrament or with a Rosary in your hand.
Repeat the “Learn” step. Go ask someone for advice. Look up the answers on the internet. We’ve got a bunch of stuff (and I do mean a BIG bunch of stuff) at the Ruth Institute website.
And then, by all means, Speak Out again. You will improve. And you will make a difference.
Just remember: Pray. Learn. Speak Out. Repeat.
Together we can reform our beloved Church.