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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Posted on: Tuesday, June 18, 2019
This article was first posted at NCRegister.com June 11, 2019.
By Edward Pentin
ROME — In comments sent via email to The Washington Post, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has accused Pope Francis of “deliberately concealing” evidence on Theodore McCarrick, “blatantly lying” to cover up his own actions and doing “absolutely nothing” to expose cover-up and wrongdoing because it would be “disastrous for the current papacy.”
But in his first lengthy interview since his testimony last year, the former nuncio to the United States told the newspaper June 10 that nothing would make him “happier” than for Francis to “acknowledge and end the coverups” over McCarrick and other abuse cases and to “reconcile himself with God.”
“I am grateful to the Lord because He has protected me from having any sentiments of anger or resentment against Pope Francis, or any desire for revenge,” he said. “I pray for his conversion every day.”
The retired Holy See diplomat also said he is “not fighting against Pope Francis, nor have I offended him” but “simply spoken the truth.” The Holy Father, he said, “needs to reconcile himself with God.”
Elsewhere in the interview, the former nuncio called for McCarrick to be excommunicated to help bring him to repentance, said he believes McCarrick’s laicization was timed “to manipulate public opinion,” and reiterated his belief that a largely homosexual “mafia” is primarily responsible for this “truly dark moment for the universal Church.”
Archbishop Viganò also admitted his own mistakes, saying “in retrospect” that “certain points” of his own testimony, such as his call on the Pope to resign, “could have been better stated” and made dependent on the Pope not admitting his errors and asking for forgiveness.
The Washington Post interview began with an assessment of the four-day Vatican summit in February on protection of minors in the Church. Archbishop Viganò said he was “praying intensely” for its success but that it turned out to be “pure ostentation” as he did not see any “genuine willingness” to deal with the “real causes of the present crisis.”
He criticized the choice of Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago as the event leader, especially in light of the U.S. cardinal’s earlier comments that the Pope had a “bigger agenda” to address. Archbishop Viganò also said the summit press conferences were “discouraging” and that an “especially serious problem” was that the summit focused on exclusively on abuse of minors and did not include abuse of young adults and seminarians. Nor did it “properly” address the problem of homosexuality in the priesthood, he said.
Archbishop Viganò spoke of “truly ominous” signs, saying he believes the Pope is doing “close to nothing” to punish abuses and “absolutely nothing” to expose and bring abusers to justice. He pointed out that Francis praised Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., for his “nobility” when he resigned last fall, even though Cardinal Wuerl had, according to Archbishop Viganò, “covered up the abuses” of McCarrick for “decades.”.
McCarrick’s laicization in February, shortly before the Vatican summit began, was “as far as it goes, a just punishment,” Archbishop Viganò told The Post, but he said the procedures and timing were “designed to manipulate public opinion” and give the appearance the Pope was “determined to fight” against clerical sex abuse.
Also, by the Pope making the laicization “definitive,” the Holy Father was able to rule out any “further investigation” that could have exposed the guilt of others, the archbishop said. “The bottom line is this,” he said. “Pope Francis is deliberately concealing the McCarrick evidence.”
He added that from the “far more important spiritual dimension,” laicization is “completely inadequate” as it fails to consider the “salvation of McCarrick’s soul.” He said he thought he was not alone in thinking that excommunication would be appropriate as it would “induce him to take responsibility for his sins,” repent and be reconciled with God.
Asked about the Vatican’s intervention at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting last November, stopping bishops from voting on measures to hold bishops more responsible on overseeing abuse cases, Archbishop Viganò said such a measure was “wholly unjustified.” Without that intervention, he believes unquestionably episcopal corruption, abuse and other misconduct would have been examined that would “intolerably implicate and embarrass the Holy See.”
Pleading the Fifth?
Turning to his own earlier testimony from August 2018, Archbishop Viganò told the Post that “no one has plausibly denied the facts,” some of which “have been independently confirmed.” He also said the prelates he named in his testimony as being involved in, or having knowledge about the McCarrick mishandling are lying low, and he wondered why journalists are “letting them get away with this.”
On the Pope’s response to remain silent, he said: “Is it not what you Americans call ‘taking the fifth’? By responding as he did, the Pope is essentially admitting that he is unwilling to be transparent.”
Francis knew of McCarrick’s crimes, “yet rehabilitated him” and made him a trusted adviser, he added, but by not discussing this the Pope was showing “contempt” for both victims and those wanting an end to cover-ups, he said. Archbishop Viganò said later in the Post interview that he believes the Vatican’s archival investigation into McCarrick, announced last October, was an “empty promise.”
Referring to the Pope’s most recent interview, in which Francis said he’d replied “many times” about the McCarrick affair, knew nothing about McCarrick’s abuses, and couldn’t recall a 2013 conversation with Archbishop Viganò about McCarrick, the former nuncio asked: “How may these claims be affirmed and sustained together at the same time? All these three are blatant lies.”
In particular, he repeated his allegation that Francis asked him specifically about McCarrick during that conversation, and that he told the newly elected Pope about the existence of a “huge dossier” on McCarrick’s abuses. “How could anybody, especially a pope, forget this?”
“We are in a truly dark moment for the universal Church,” the archbishop added. “The Supreme Pontiff is now blatantly lying to the whole world to cover up his wicked deeds! But the truth will eventually come out, about McCarrick and all the other coverups, as it already has in the case of Cardinal Wuerl.”
Archbishop Viganò, who said he has been receiving an “incredible outpouring of support,” rejected the accusation, made in an open letter from Cardinal Marc Ouellet last October, that he was motivated by bitterness from thwarted ambition. In any case, he said, “motivation is not the point,” but “whether my testimony is true.” He said those who “impugn my motives” have been unwilling to “conduct open and thorough investigations.”
He went on to say he was “saddened” that news media are not insisting that the Holy Father and other prelates “answer my charges” and believes it is because they favor Francis’ “more liberal agenda.” He asked why no media have searched the archives themselves, interviewing victims, following money trails, and investigating corrupt networks.
As one of “so many cases to go after,” he referred to a new book by Martha Alegria Reichmann about the “misdeeds” of Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga (Alegria discussed the contents of her book with Register in April). “Have you thought of interviewing her? Of investigating her claims?” he asked the Post.
Turning to homosexuality, and drawing on a recent studies including by Father Paul Sullins of the Ruth Institute, he said it is “mind-boggling” how the Vatican has avoided bringing it up at the February summit and recent synods, when the evidence of its preponderance in sexual abuse is “overwhelming.”
He said a “gay mafia” is bound together not by “shared sexual intimacy” but through protection and advancement, the “homosexual cliques” Benedict XVI mentioned in his “notes” compiled for the Vatican abuse summit. The archbishop then reproduced relevant passages on homosexuality from the Catechism.
Archbishop Viganò told the Post he regretted not publicly speaking up earlier about McCarrick, but thought the Church “could reform itself from within.” He said when it became clear the Pope was one of those covering up the crimes, “I had no doubt the Lord was calling me to speak up, as I have done and will continue to do.”
He said he believes a formal schism is unlikely, but that a “de facto schism based on acceptance or rejection of the sexual revolution” already exists.
He also admitted his testimony could have been handled better. “I am far from perfect,” he said, and would have reworded his initial statement to urge the Holy Father to “face up to his commitments,” pointed out St. Peter’s denials of Christ and subsequent repentance, and call on the Pope to resign only if he failed to imitate St. Peter by refusing to repent.
Asked how he feels in his conscience, Archbishop Viganò said he did what he believed needed to be done, knowing he would soon meet the “Good Judge.” He also did not want falsehoods to go unchallenged and “harm my soul and the souls of others.” His conscience “has always been clear,” he said, and that the “truth makes us free.”
Referring to how he was pushed out of his curial position in 2011 because he was uncovering corruption, Archbishop Viganò said, “Little did they know that the Lord was using them to put me in a position to speak out about the McCarrick scandal.”
He hinted that he is holding relevant documentation but said “the time has not yet come for me to release anything,” and suggested journalists ask the Pope and the prelates he mentioned in his testimony to “release the relevant documentation, some of which is quite incriminating, assuming they have not yet destroyed it.”
He concluded by observing that this crisis “is causing an institutional paralysis that is immensely demoralizing for the faithful,” but “we should be neither entirely surprised nor overly disturbed by this desperate state of affairs, given the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s promise to come again and establish his definitive kingdom.”
Archbishop Viganò, who began the interview by saying the Church is “going through one of the most turbulent moments in her history,” ended it by quoting paragraph 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The paragraph states the Church must pass through a “final trial that will shake the faith of many believers” and that the persecution that “accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.”
Posted on: Tuesday, June 18, 2019
This article was first published on The Washington Post June 10, 2019. In the article, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò quotes the Ruth Institute's special report by Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D. The report is called "Receding Waves: Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests since 2000" and can be found here.
The part of the article where Fr. Sullins' report is quoted is here: (The WP reporter's question is in bold.)
Let’s keep two arenas distinct: (1) crimes of sexual abuse and (2) criminal coverup of crimes of sexual abuse. In most cases in the Church today, both have a homosexual component — usually downplayed — that is key to the crisis.
As to the first, heterosexual men obviously do not choose boys and young men as sexual partners of preference, and approximately 80 percent of the victims are males, the vast majority of which are post-pubescent males. Statistics from many different countries regarding sexual abuses committed by clergy leave no doubt. Horrific as the cases of abuse by true pedophiles are, the percentage is far smaller. It is not pedophiles but gay priests preying on post-pubertal boys who have bankrupted the U.S. dioceses. One of the most recent and reliable studies, “Is Catholic clergy sex abuse related to homosexual priests,” was conducted by Father Paul Sullins, PhD, of the Ruth Institute. In its executive summary, the Sullins study reports, among other things, the following:
● “The share of homosexual men in the priesthood rose from twice that of the general population in the 1950s to eight times the general population in the 1980s. This trend was strongly correlated with increasing child sex abuse.”
● “Estimates from these findings predict that, had the proportion of homosexual priests remained at the 1950s level, at least 12,000 fewer children, mostly boys, would have suffered abuse.”
The preponderance of these cases of abuse is overwhelming. I do not think anyone can dispute this. That homosexuality is a major cause of the sexual abuse crisis has also been stated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in his recent essay, “The Church and the scandal of sexual abuse.” From his long experience as president of the CDF, he recalls how “in various seminaries homosexual cliques were established, which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in the seminaries.”
Posted on: Tuesday, May 07, 2019
The Ruth Institute’s first annual Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution (April 26-27, in Lake Charles, Louisiana) was highly praised by participants. All agreed that the caliber of speakers and content (which covered Survivors of Divorce and Survivors of the LGBT subculture) were exceptional.
Here are a few of the comments from speakers and participants:
“The Summit revealed to me many different survival stories which involved deep pain. However, their stories all ended in hope because they turned to God. It also gives me hope to see everyone that attended was united to God’s plan for marriage and family.” Al Chlupacek -- Chemical Engineer, Indianapolis
“Thank you all. It was incredible, and a real shot in the arm. Now we all have work to do. But I feel like at least we know our fellow soldiers in this battle! It’s a rough world out there, and sadly, many of our ‘enemies’ are fellow Christians… It’s a battle from within and without. But I’m so pleased at the depth of intelligence and holiness on display this weekend! God bless you all! And thank you, Dr. Morse! You are a true solider for Christ!” Leila Miller – Catholic author, Phoenix
“This was a very meaningful conference. I enjoyed the scholarship, the personal testimonies, and all the informal conversations and relationship-building in between. I look forward to ongoing conversations with many of the wonderful people I met this weekend. The experience was powerful and inspiring.” Matt F. Johnson – humanitarian and disaster relief, Washington, D.C.
“Thank you Mr. And Dr. Morse plus your team for putting together such a conference. I learned a lot. Thanks also to you all that took time to do papers and share with us your stories. It gives me hope as an African to see the good side of America. You people are amazing. Hopefully we do this in Africa, too? God bless you all.” Ann Kioko, CitizenGO Campaigns Manager for Africa, Nairobi
“I just want to tell you all how very honored I am to have had the pleasure to work with all of you this weekend in this critical endeavor! Mr. & Dr. Morse, you are both tireless in your efforts and I have great respect for you both. Thank you - and the Ruth Institute's extremely capable staff and volunteers -- for showing us all such genuine kindness and hospitality. This weekend will go down in my memory as one of great blessings and fellowship. To be gathered with so many others who recognize the beauty, goodness and critical importance of marriage and the traditional family was a such a true honor and pleasure.” Christy Fitzgerald – Registered Nurse, Case Manager, Hickory, N.C.
“This Summit was a bright moment for recovering from a toxic family culture and beginning to build something better. I want to add my thanks to everyone as well, for sharing your stories and journeys and scholarship and standing for marriage, life and children. Patti and I were both deeply touched by the accounts of struggle and overcoming and finding new life and sanctity in the pain of marriage and parental loss. For me, one of the most fruitful times was also breakfast at the hotel, when I was blessed to, and saw others too, encourage one another and build friendships and mutual support and plot ministry strategies in a fellowship free-for-all. There are not many other places something like that could happen.” Fr. D Paul Sullins, Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute
“I hope everyone realizes just how innovative this was. For all the many ‘pro-family’ groups out there, almost none of them seriously confronts the divorce system, connected issues, and the government machinery behind it. I also noticed other ways in which the various speakers were ‘pushing the envelope,’ and I for one think that we have nothing to lose, and much to gain, from continuing and even increasing the push.” Stephen K. Baskerville, Purcellville, Virginia
“To get the inside scoop on the extraordinary Survivors Summit, be sure to check out the various presentations at the Ruth Institute’s website, and on its Facebook page. Be forewarned that the truth about these problems is not easy to handle. However, the truth shall set you free.” C. Preston Noell, American Society for Tradition, Family and Property, Washington, D.C.
“Don’t sit on the sidelines. Now that you understand the devastation caused by the Sexual Revolution, help us to fight for the family and cultural sanity.” Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute
Posted on: Tuesday, April 30, 2019
The Ruth Institute’s Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution (April 27) was a success by any measure. The Summit, which took place in Lake Charles, Louisiana, included Survivors of Divorce and Survivors of the LGBT Culture.
The Summit was preceded by an Awards Banquet the evening of April 26. Those honored were Dr. Robert Gagnon, recipient of the Scholarship Award, and Jeff Morgan, who received the Activism Award. Both spoke the next day.
Moira Greyland Peat, who received the Public Witness Award, was the banquet’s keynote speaker. Author of The Dark Side of Avalon, Moira survived years of sexual abuse by her mother, famed science fiction writer Marion Zimmer Bradley. Many commented that while her testimony was emotionally exhausting, it also provided a necessary antidote to the cliched version of the gay lifestyle pushed by the media.
The Saturday Summit included keynote addresses by Dr. Stephen Baskerville (Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College on How No-Fault Divorce Empowers the State), Mrs. Leila Miller (author and Catholic blogger on The Lifelong Impact of Divorce On Children),
Dr. Robert Gagnon (Professor of New Testament at Houston Baptist University, on What the Church really teaches about homosexual activity)
and Fr. Paul Sullins (Ruth Institute Senior Research Associate, on The Impact of Same-Sex Parenting on children and the impact of the homosexual subculture on clergy s*x abuse).
There were also testimony panels on Abandoned Spouses and Adult Children ofDivorce – and Adult Children and Spouses of gays, lesbians and transgenders, and refugees from the gay lifestyle).
A participant remarked: “These are tragedies the mainstream media, the divorce industry, and the gay-friendly culture do their best to ignore.” Another added: “I’ve been reading about the abandonment, betrayal and trauma of divorce for years. But hearing these speakers made the devastation real in ways that news stories and academic reports can’t.”
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ruth Institute Founder and President, challenged participants to use the knowledge they acquired to help shape the debate over the Sexual Revolution.
“Don’t sit on the sidelines. Now that you understand the devastation caused by the Sexual Revolution, help us to fight for the family and cultural sanity,” Morse declared.
The entire Summit will be available on podcast and YouTube soon.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact email@example.com
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family in the public arena and build a Civilization of Love. Click here for more Information on the Ruth Institute.
Posted on: Monday, December 10, 2018
There is no “witch hunt.” I don’t know anyone who wants to drive from the priesthood any celibate holy man who is true to Church teaching.
This article was first published at National Catholic Register October 29, 2018.
In the fallout from the revelations of former-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s serial sexual predation, some have worried about an “anti-gay witch hunt.”
Recently, a headline in America magazine all but shouted, “Homosexuality is not a risk factor for sexual abuse of children.” Yet, the Pennsylvania grand jury report that came out in August found about 80% of the teenage victims of clerical sexual abuse were male, just as the John Jay Report found more than 10 years ago. This fact cries out for explanation. But many in the media and in the Church seem reluctant to focus on this obvious connection. We must come up with an explanation that is true to the known facts, without harming any innocent person.
Before we tackle this explosive topic, let us clarify some important issues. Let’s think first about individual cases of sexual predation, by one specified person against another specified person.
Every decent person wants the criminal justice system to gather the facts and come to an accurate verdict. Whether this individual perpetrator is “straight” or “gay” is not germane. Percentages and probabilities don’t matter. Only one issue matters in an individual case: guilt or innocence.
Presumably everyone, from every point on the political, ideological or religious compass, agrees on this. Punishing the guilty and protecting the innocent is not anyone’s definition of a “witch hunt.” Behind individual cases, however, lies a whole realm of institutions and structures and rules and incentives. The big-picture institutional question is this: Is an increase in the number of same-sex attracted men in the Catholic priesthood correlated with an increase in the number of incidents of abuse of minor boys? This is the question to which the John Jay Report replied, “No.” (pg. 102.) The answer to this question has potential implications for a whole series of other questions, including but not limited to:
Let’s get a couple of preliminary points out of the way. First, let us set aside the question of true pedophilia, that is, adults having sex with pre-pubescent children. True pedophilia accounts for about 5% of the cases in the John Jay Report. I’m focusing exclusively on priests having sex with sexually mature, but legally under-aged boys. Let us also set aside the important question of sexual harassment of seminarians, as we have no systematic data on the matter.
Let’s also stipulate that an increase in the number of celibate same-sex attracted men would have a negligible impact on abuse. By definition, a celibate priest is unmarried and therefore is to live the virtue of chastity by not having sex of any kind with anybody. A celibate priest, regardless of his preferred partners, has renounced marriage and sexual relations for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
On the other hand, a person who defines celibacy as something other than complete sexual abstinence is playing word games, which is a problem of its own.
Finally, permit me to register my general complaint with the concepts of “sexual orientation” and “gay.” I have argued in print and in speeches that these terms are imprecise and unscientific, and hence problematic. In what follows, I will concede the use of the term “gay” or “homosexual” to mean either a self-imposed label or as a short-hand for a man who engages in sex with other males.
With all that out of the way, let us return to the One Big Question: Are increases in the number of homosexual men in the clergy correlated with increases in the numbers of incidents of abuse of minor boys?
We must somehow face up to the 80% of the cases of clergy sexual abuse that have teenage boys as victims. If same sex-attracted men and opposite sex-attracted men are alike in every other respect, the only logical explanation is that 80% of the Catholic clergy is homosexually inclined. The highest number I’ve ever seen is 50%, and most systematic estimates are closer to 20%-25% of the clergy being gay.
If that is the case, we have to ask ourselves whether homosexually inclined priests behave differently in systematic ways. Such secondary questions include:
A correlation between numbers of homosexual men and incidence of abuse of minor boys doesn’t prove any one of points 1-3. Possibly some combination of all three are at work in tandem. There could be additional factors we haven’t thought of.
These three points are explosive because they call into question the idea that “homosexual activity is a healthy variant of normal human sexual development.”
Many in today’s world have become deeply committed to that belief. We aren’t really discussing sociological data or “witch hunts.” We are discussing our views of human sexuality, its purpose and place in our lives.
No matter what the truth of the causality proves to be, none of the possible explanations supports or is even consistent with, the claim that “gay is okay.” This, I believe, is the real explanation for the reluctance to accept the “Elephant in the Sacristy.” We would have to abandon a belief that has become a cornerstone of the modern sexual revolution.
There is no “witch hunt.” I don’t know anyone who wants to drive from the priesthood any celibate holy man who is true to Church teaching. But there very well may be a need for people to surrender beliefs they cherish. We are each going to have to decide whether our commitment to protecting children takes precedence over sexual ideology.
Posted on: Monday, September 24, 2018
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published August 28, 2018, at Crisis Magazine.
The clergy sex abuse and cover-up stories have created a linguistic challenge for faithful Catholics. Over 80 percent of these clergy abuse cases involve predatory sexual activity between adult men and younger men in less powerful positions. Some Catholic commentators refer to these cases as “gay” to distinguish them from “pedophilia.” Their intention is sound: the “pedophilia” label has frequently been a way to deflect attention away from abusive homosexual conduct. I, however, maintain that we should avoid the word “gay,” and even the word “homosexual.” Former Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s bombshell revelations about sexual abuse and the network of cover-ups raises the stakes. We really must get the terminology right.
[Photo: Pope Francis with Cardinal McCarrick, Vatican Media]
Daniel Mattson wrote an important book, “Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay.” He outlines the philosophical, theological, and pastoral problems with the “gay” label. I add to Mattson’ arguments an additional consideration. “Gay” is a losing term for us.
At this moment in history, the word “gay” is loaded with positive associations. The word “gay” means young, fashionable, intelligent, and witty. “Gay” might also mean a weak, victimized, innocent waif, so psychologically vulnerable he might commit suicide. This perception is so prevalent that health care professionals are not supposed to even mention the health risks of “gay sex.”
Speaking of “gay sex,” what exactly do gay men do together? The images we have been presented suggest that all they do is hold hands, cuddle, and kiss. We never imagine “gay sex” to include rectal bleeding or intense pain or rectal incontinence or adult diapers.
In this respect, the “gay” image resembles the other sanitized images created around the Sexual Revolution. No-fault divorce involves two sensible mature people mutually deciding to “move on.” Children of divorce always “get over it.” No woman ever regrets her abortion. And so on.
All these claims are false.
When today’s mainstream journalists hear the word “gay,” they might picture a confused but basically innocent teenager. They might picture this teenager being bullied by classmates or scolded by adults. These benign associations with the word “gay” have been carefully crafted over decades. In fact, this is one place where the word “gay” properly applies. We can accurately describe the people who created these images, as the Gay Marketing Men.
I believe this explains the reluctance of many in the media to address the clergy sex abuse story as forcefully as a story about men preying on women victims. The terms “predator” or “domination” or “exploitation” do not register in connection with “gay.” In the average journalist’s minds, these words are associated with “toxic masculinity” or “conservative Christian.”
Catholic friends, we are not going to be able to dislodge these slanted images, no matter how loudly we yell about it. The protective moat around “gay” is too wide and deep. The Gay Marketing Men have spent millions of dollars and countless hours fashioning this picture and securing it firmly in the public mind.
Some Catholic commentators use the word “homosexual” in an effort to sidestep the term “gay.” I don’t think this strategy avoids the problem. Historically, the term “homosexual” was invented in the nineteenth century to “medicalize” what had previously been considered a moral or behavioral issue. Medicalizing behavior doesn’t help our cause. Besides, the word “homosexual” without qualifiers doesn’t buy us much help from the general public. It just makes us look out of date, like people who still use the word “Negro.”
Does that mean we throw up our hands and give up? Certainly not. I propose a different approach that gives us a better chance of success.
Instead of the word “gay,” use the most descriptively accurate phrase possible in the context of what you are trying to say. Instead of “gay sex scandal,” try this: “male on male sexual predation.” Sometimes, the most appropriate strategy is to use a long, clunky, but highly descriptive phrase like, “a powerful man with deep-seated attractions to males used his position of power to exploit younger men under his authority.” No one could conceivably confuse this word-picture with the teenaged boy who may have feelings he doesn’t understand.
In some cases, “pederasty” could be a good term to use. The Gay Marketing Men have not sanitized this term, and “pederasty” is distinct from pedophilia. (A “pederast” is a man who wants and has sex with adolescent boys. I had to look it up.)
The term “same-sex attraction” proposed by members of Courage, is a particular instance of the general policy I am suggesting. Dan Mattson and David Prosen and others argue that the gay identity is an inaccurate, self-limiting description. These men reject the term “gay” to eliminate a ton of philosophical and theological baggage.
The current torrent of embarrassing sex scandals is actually providential for the long-run health of the Body of Christ. We have the chance to offer authentic Catholic witness of authentic Catholic teaching to a desperate world. To succeed, though, we must be careful with our language. We can’t say or imply, “All gay men are predators,” because it isn’t true. At the same time, we cannot let anyone else say or imply, “All gay men are innocent lambs,” because that is not true either. And we will need at least some help from journalists who don’t necessarily share all of our views.
We can restate Archbishop Viganò’s explosive revelations without ever using the words “gay” or even “homosexual.”
“Men who do not agree with the teachings of the Catholic Church, nevertheless swore allegiance to the Church, and accepted positions of power, authority, wealth, and influence. They used those positions to indulge themselves sexually, to favor their friends, and to advance their careers. Among their preferred forms of sexual indulgence were the abuse of little boys, the seduction of teenaged-boys and the harassment of young adult male subordinates.”
No one will ever mistake this description for an appealing kid on a TV sitcom. No one would dream of saying these perpetrators were “born that way.”
When we use the word “gay,” we are doing battle on the field chosen by our opponents. By contrast, when we use other terms, we give our listeners a chance to think about what we are saying, without all the noise associated with the terms “gay” or “homosexual.”
“Gay” is a political word, a marketing word, a propaganda word. We don’t need to use it. So let’s quit using it.
Posted on: Monday, August 27, 2018
by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published August 20, 2018, at NCRegister.com.
The fact that Archbishop McCarrick’s preferred sex partners are male and Weinstein’s are female should not distract us from this most basic point.
Both men live by the sexual revolutionary creed.
Harvey Weinstein (L); Archbishop Theodore McCormick (R) (Weinstein (Sam Aronov / Shutterstock.com), McCarrick (© Mazur_catholicchurch.org.uk/via
Question: What do Harvey Weinstein and Theodore McCarrick have in common?
Answer: That vow of celibacy they took.
Oh. Wait. Maybe not.
All kidding aside: Weinstein and McCarrick do have something important in common. They are both powerful men who believed they were entitled to use people sexually.
As everyone knows by now, countless people have been coming forward with stories of sexual abuse, harassment and rape in the movie industry (Weinstein, Kevin Spacey), politics, (Al Franken), media, (Matt Lauer), sports, (Larry Nassar), and now, the Catholic Church. Victims include men and women, boys and girls of all ages: children, teenagers and adults in subordinate positions to the predator. All this happening at this particular time allows us to see both the root cause and the ultimate solution.
The root cause of this problem is the same in both its Catholic and non-Catholic varieties. Men like Archbishop McCarrick and Weinstein think they are entitled to sex. And they both have (or used to have) enough power to take whatever they wanted. The fact that Archbishop McCarrick’s preferred sex partners are male and Weinstein’s are female should not distract us from this most basic point. Both men live by the Sexual Revolutionary Creed:
Sex is a private recreational activity with no moral or social consequences. Everyone is entitled to the sex lives they want, with a minimum of inconvenience. Any sexual activity is morally acceptable, as long as the participants consent. Believing all this is called being “sex positive.”
In practice of course, this is a sham. In practice, the richer, the more powerful, the more influential can manipulate the terms of “consent” out of all recognition. The sexual revolutionary ideology creates cover for the predator, especially the well-connected, powerful predator.
It is truly astonishing how many people accept and live by the Sexual Revolutionary Creed, without considering that they themselves might one day be the “prey,” instead of the “predator.”
I believe this is why the #MeToo movement, while producing many good fruits, has ultimately stalled. People are genuinely appalled by Weinstein’s abuses. But these same people don’t really know what to do about it. Do you recall the starlets’ inept protest at the Golden Globes? They made a pact to wear black as a protest of the objectification of women. But some of them choose black dresses, the immodesty of which, let us say, undermined their statement.
The problem? These starlets wanted to protest the exploitation of women, without protesting the ideology that made objectification socially acceptable in the first place. These women are hanging on to things they should not be hanging on to. They want to keep their pills and their pornography and their view of themselves as progressive. They want to be “sex positive” and never be caught in the predatory trap that the sexual revolutionary ideology makes possible.
This also suggests the ultimate solution.
We need to give it up. All of it. As Catholics, we are better positioned than anyone else to lead this charge. We already know that we shouldn’t be using each other sexually. Our Church has taught this since apostolic times. We already know that we shouldn’t be using contraception. Blessed Pope Paul VI predicted it 50 years ago in Humanae Vitae. The widespread social and moral acceptance of contraception leads to a “lowering of moral standards.”
That is why it is so appalling and inexcusable when powerful prelates of the Catholic church are implicated in sex abuse themselves or in covering it up in others. These men are using their position of power and authority in the Church to provide cover for their self-indulgence. They enjoy their worldly double-lives.
At the same time, the impact of these double lives goes far beyond the immediate harm to their immediate victims. These men are not too likely to be giving sermons on the evils of sex outside of marriage or of contracepted sex. Their silence has been a contributing factor to the advance of the sexual revolutionary ideology throughout society. Their corruption undermines their brother priests who are living godly lives. And the scandal of the predatory priests casts a cloud of suspicion over innocent priests. Instead of being the guardian of traditional sexual morality, the Catholic Church has become a symbol of hypocrisy or worse.
Of course, everyone reading this article is deeply troubled, ashamed, embarrassed, by all this. We wonder “How could this happen?” and “Why don’t’ the bishops do something?” and so on. I take nothing away from those feelings or those questions. You should be upset. The bishops should do something.
But I believe you can actually do something to help, regardless of what the bishops choose to do or not do. My suggestion: Let go of any part of the sexual revolution that you are holding on to. Maybe you agree that abortion is wrong, but you think contraception is OK. Maybe you are one of those parishioners who complain if the pastor preaches on pro-lifetopics. Maybe you are one of the parents in a Catholic high school who thinks the “gay” gym teacher shouldn’t be fired just because she married her same-sex partner in a public ceremony.
Stop cutting corners on Church teaching. Your witness against sexual abuse will be more compelling. You will be more motivated without the nagging hint of doubt dragging you down.
And trust me on this. You will feel better. I can remember when I finally admitted to myself that contraception was wrong, and I needed to confess it. I felt so light after that confession, I skipped across the parking lot.
Our current conflicted attitude reminds me of people back in the day who might have said, “Well, slavery isn’t so bad. We should just regulate the working hours and conditions of the slaves. And then we could have all the economic benefits of slavery without going overboard with something as radical as abolition.” What would we think of someone who reasoned that way? We’d be saying, “No, we cannot come up with enough regulations to make the principle of one person owning another anything but abusive.”
Treating sex as an entitlement is part of the sexual revolutionary air we breathe. We imagine, “If we just put another Band-Aid on this, we can all have the sex we want, without anyone getting abused. Or at least, I won’t get abused.”
There are not enough Band-Aids in existence to fix this.
No one is entitled to sex. Not Archbishop McCarrick. Not Harvey Weinstein. Not you. Not me. Let’s go all in for the full truth.
Posted on: Saturday, August 11, 2018
Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., Research Associate of the Ruth Institute, Answers Questions on The Clerical Sex Abuse Scandal
Is the current Catholic sex abuse scandal related to homosexuality?
Yes. The current scandal includes mostly revelations about male on male sexual abuse of seminarians, where the victims are adults. These kinds of cases were not even considered in the responses to the 2002 scandal, which was about the criminal abuse of minors.
Was the 2002 scandal also related to homosexuality?
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned two reports, one in 2004 and in 2011, by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to study the reported cases of clerical sex abuse from 1950 through 2002 and 2010 respectively. Both reports found that over 80% of the victims were neither girls, nor pre-pubescent children (true pedophilia), but pre-teen and teenage boys. These results clearly indicate that the problem was male on male predation by priests against under-aged boys.
Is there a “homosexual subculture” which exists within certain Catholic institutions?
Yes. In a 2002 survey of a national sample of 1,852 Catholic priests by the Los Angeles Times, 44% responded "yes" when asked if there was a "homosexual subculture in your diocese or religious institute". To the question, “In the seminary you attended, was there a homosexual subculture at the time?” 53% of recently-ordained priests responded “Yes” (reported in Hoge and Wenger, Evolving Visions of the Priesthood, p. 102. Their own concurrent survey yielded 55% “Yes” to the identical question.)
Books by former seminary rector Donald Cozzens and psychologist Richard Sipe have described how such subcultures encourage and cover up sexual misconduct. Predatory priests and superiors can abuse the confessional by grooming victims who confess sexual temptations. Grossly immature priests are clueless about the extent of the harm they are causing. Cozzens, who writes from firsthand experience, relates that sexually active homosocial groups were at times so dominant that heterosexual men felt that they did not fit in, and left the seminary.
How has this “subculture” contributed to patterns of abuse within the Church?
Sipe chronicles, from mental health records and public court documents, a culture of denial and cover-up by confessors, spiritual directors, faculty, and senior clerics. Sipes wrote presciently in 2011 about what he called the “Cardinal McCarrick Syndrome.” Powerful clerics, including bishops, escaped exposure and penalty even though everyone knew about their predatory behavior and abuse of power. The sense of entitlement shown by senior clerics to seminarians eerily parallels the situation of Hollywood executives to young actresses and actors.
Pictured: Father McCarrick and James in the 1970s. From the New York Times article.
Do these findings suggest that the time has come for the Church to relax its teaching on homosexual activity?
Actually, the exact opposite is true. These findings do not contradict Catholic teaching. The Church holds that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered”, which means they are inherently incapable of fulfilling the purpose of human sex relations, like blindness is inherently incapable of fulfilling the purpose of sight. Further, homosexual acts actively interfere with godliness and human well-being. Though individuals can achieve Christian maturity through chastity, self-denial, and self-control, a homosexual inclination is not a recommendation for Church leadership. In fact, since 2005 Catholic norms have formally prohibited any known homosexual man from being ordained. Honestly, applying these norms consistently would have avoided a tremendous number of problems.
Isn’t it rank hypocrisy on the part of the Catholic Church, which seems to be dominated by homosexually active men, to continue to condemn homosexual practice?
Someone once said, “Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue.” The failure to live up to the teachings does not prove anything one way or the other about the value of those teachings.
Is allowing priests to marry a potential solution to this problem?
Celibacy is not a scapegoat, and married priests are not a panacea. In my research on married priests, I found that married priests are statistically no less likely to engage in minor sex abuse as are celibate priests. At this point, we need to focus on removing abusers and enablers from positions of power. We can talk about other issues such as the discipline of celibacy once we’ve solved this problem.
The Ruth Institute believes the facts show that:
About Fr. Sullins-- The Rev. D. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute. He recently retired as Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of America, Washington DC. 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, including Keeping the Vow: The Untold Story of Married Catholic Priests, and over 100 journal articles, research reports, and essays on issues of family, faith, and culture.
He was ordained by Cardinal McCarrick in 2002, during the height of the sex abuse crisis of that year. Fr. Sullins feels a profound sense of personal disappointment and betrayal, along with a desire to see holiness and trust restored in our hierarchy.
For interviews with Fr. Sullins, or Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, please email Elizabeth Johnson at media (at) ruthinstitute dot org.
Posted on: Monday, July 30, 2018
I was always taught to respect the clergy. But what do we do when the clergy harm each other?
By Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published on July 20, 2018, at The Stream.
I was always taught to respect the clergy. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Should criticism be necessary, let it be as gentle as possible. But what do we do when the clergy harm each other? Cardinal Kevin Farrell’s recent comments about priests lacking credibility for preparing couples for marriage amounts to an attack on every priest in Christendom. He makes an unnecessary criticism, in a harsh manner. Worst, his comments bring disrespect to the priestly office itself. A bit of thought, plus a brief look into the Cardinal’s background, may help explain his comments, wrongheaded though they are.
Let’s review the Cardinal’s comments:
During an interview … Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, said that ‘priests are not the best people to train others for marriage.’
They have no credibility; they have never lived the experience; they may know moral theology, dogmatic theology in theory, but to go from there to putting it into practice every day … they don’t have the experience.
Sweeping statement. No benefit of the doubt. Harsh. One cannot doubt the Cardinal’s meaning, because he made similar comments last September.
If he is trying to say that laity should be involved with marriage prep, I can get behind that. (I educate the public about Church teaching.) Farrell could easily have invited more lay involvement without taking a swing at his fellow priests. He could have simply said, “We’re overworked. Help!!” No one would have batted an eye.
Cardinal Farrell seems to be joining the non-Catholic critics of the celibate clergy. But these critics focus on the wrong thing. The scandal is not unmarried celibate clergy. After all, many of Jesus’ apostles were celibate. Today’s biggest scandal is the lack of clerical celibacy.
Which brings me to a curious detail in Farrell’s background, as reported by the Catholic News Agency:
In 2002, he became an auxiliary bishop of Washington, serving as moderator of the curia and vicar general, a chief advisory role, to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, with whom Farrell lived in a renovated parish building in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood.
McCarrick is having his “MeToo” moment. Major media outlets have revealed decades of McCarrick’s sexual harassment of seminary students. Some have gone so far as to say that “everybody knew” about McCarrick’s conduct.
Perhaps this explains Farrell’s doubt about his brother priests’ competence to prepare couples for marriage. Maybe some priests Farrell knows really do “have no credibility” for preparing couples for marriage, including some formed under Bishop McCarrick. We could say that some of them were “deformed” or “malformed.”
For example, Priest A’s story was reported in two separate sources. He was the object of McCarrick’s attentions. He went on to have sexual acting-out problems himself, and eventually left the priesthood. Being formed under someone like McCarrick could leave scars that affect a man’s priesthood.
Not all priests have disgraced themselves. Nor have all priests had their formation twisted by their superiors. For every story of scandal we read about, there are many more stories of holiness and grace that never make the headlines.
In any case, truly celibate clergy have tremendous credibility. They have a lot to offer young couples preparing for marriage: their experience of a lifetime of self-giving, self-sacrificing love. Young couples need this preparation for marriage, every bit as much as communication skills and budgeting tips. Cardinal Farrell’s comments swept all priests into the same basket. His comments most harm the truly celibate, self-sacrificing priests.
I have no doubt which side I support in this clash between a cardinal making unfounded claims and the rest of the clergy. All I can say is, “Speak for yourself, Cardinal Farrell.”