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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: Monday, June 22, 2020
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s disastrous Bostock decision, the Ruth Institute’s Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution takes on extreme urgency. The Summit, to be held July 17-18, in Lake Charles, LA, will analyze the many ways the Sexual Revolution needs the power of the State to do its destructive work.
Ruth Institute President, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., stated, “The Bostock ruling redefines “female” and “male” for purposes of law. The Obergefell decision redefined marriage. The Federalist Society vetted Gorsuch, appointed by Pres. Trump, who wrote the majority opinion. This terrible ruling shows that the conservative legal establishment has no idea how to address sexual and social issues. The Sexual Revolution attacks both the individual and the family. At our Summit, we’ll take a hard look at some of the most destructive pathologies the Global Ruling Class has inflicted on ordinary people.”
Expert presentations will include:
The program will also include testimony from Survivors of the Sexual Revolution, as well as activists’ panels, question and answer sessions and general discussions.
Among the participants on the Surviving the LGBT subculture panel are journalist Doug Mainwaring and Pulse Nightclub shooting survivor, Luis Ruiz. Both left the LGBT subculture.
Morse observed: “After the Bostock ruling, social conservatives of all faiths have realized beyond any shadow of a doubt: we are on our own. Participants at our Summit will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of redefining the direction of the social conservative movement. The encounter with experts and their analysis, the first-hand testimony of Survivors, and the experience of effective activists, will inspire participants. They will come away with new friends as well as practical tips on how to get involved and make a difference.”
Posted on: Tuesday, June 02, 2020
The Ruth Institute will hold its Third Annual Awards Dinner and Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution on July 18, in Lake Charles, LA. Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., said, “This Dinner and Summit will take those who’ve suffered from the Sexual Revolution from victimhood to healing, empowerment and activism.”
The event will be held live, in accordance with the gradual reopening guidelines for the state of Louisiana. Morse said, “We are not cowering in fear, wondering whether we will have a future. We will comply with all public health guidelines in place at the time. But we want the public to know that we at the Ruth Institute are filled with hope for the future. We will act as if we have a future.”
The Awards Dinner Friday evening kicks off the festivities. The Institute will give awards for activism and public witness, including a keynote address on How the Sexual Revolution Hijacked the Women’s Movement. The Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution on Saturday includes these sessions:
Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse – Statistical analysis and strategies for healing, including testimony from survivors of childhood sexual abuse, including clergy sexual abuse.
Surviving Pornography Addiction – Understanding pornography as a public health crisis, and offering strategies for protecting children.
Surviving the LGBT Sub-Culture – Including health and psychological risks commonly associated with same-sex sexual activity and gender dysphoria.
Morse added: “Last year’s Survivors Summit was an overwhelming success. This year, we’ll be hearing expert input and testimony from survivors on a new range of issues associated with the Sexual Revolution.”
“The Ruth Institute is the only organization fighting for the family and exposing the interconnectedness of such diverse issues as divorce, pornography, sexual abuse, gender dystopia, the LGBT movement and the sub-cultures it’s spawned.”
Morse concluded, “Our Third Annual Awards Dinner and Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution will be about healing, hope and unity.”
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization leading an international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.
Jennifer Roback Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact email@example.com.
Posted on: Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Commenting on the controversy surrounding Vice President Joe Biden and allegations of sexual assault, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., President of the Ruth Institute, said the case must be considered in light of the Sexual Revolution.
“We are not taking a position on Mr. Biden’s guilt or innocence,” Morse said, “but it should come as no surprise that powerful men have taken advantage of the general loosening of morals brought about by the Sexual Revolution to prey on the innocent.”
Tara Reade says that when she was an aide in his office in 1993, then-Senator Joe Biden sexually assaulted her, a charge the putative Democratic nominee denies. “It’s quite possible we’ll never know the truth of the matter,” Morse commented. “But the rise of sex crimes is another poisonous fruit of the Sexual Revolution.”
Between 2013 and 2017, the number of reported rapes in this country increased almost 20%. The 2018 FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports reveals there were 127,258 reported cases of rape that year.
“The Sexual Revolution holds that sex is an entitlement – an ideology that promotes both casual sex and exploitation,” Morse said.
“How great a leap is it from the idea that ‘you have a right to sex,’ to ‘you can take whatever you want, if you think you can get away with it?’” Morse asked.
As to why it took her so long to come forward publicly with her story, Reade says she felt no one would believe her. Morse responded: “The Sexual Revolution has empowered abusers and silenced victims. It took decades for the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein to come to light. Like Reade, their victims feared that no one would believe them, that they had in some way encouraged the offense or that these rich and powerful men would retaliate against them.”
“We don’t need a blanket policy of ‘always believing women’ to realize that something is seriously wrong here,” Morse said of Reade’s specific allegations. “But one thing is certain, the Sexual Revolution empowers predators and disarms victims. This toxic ideology has created a hunter’s paradise for predators.”
A well-documented expansion of these arguments is contained in Dr. Morse’s book, The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives.
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization leading an international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on: Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Educating yourself is the first step in fighting the effects of the sexual revolution in your life and among loved ones.
The Ruth Institute is hosting its Third Annual Awards Dinner and Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution, and you're invited.
Learn how to confront and survive trends in transgenderism, the LGBT subculture, the pitfalls of population control, post-abortion trauma, same-sex parenting, childhood sexual abuse, and more.
The summit will include various sessions loaded with information. Have you ever wondered, for example, how pornography is affecting people’s lives? The Summit’s class “Protecting Our Children from Our Pornified Culture” will open your eyes. These and other facts about pornography will be discussed:
For this and many other well-researched presentations, save the date:
July 17-18, 2020
Posted on: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
By Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published on March 16, 2020, at The Stream.
Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself. This fact, which no serious person denies, marks a new era in the unfolding of the Sexual Revolution. For years, we have been told that the Sexual Revolution was part of the March of History into a glorious day of progress, peace and pleasure for everyone. We ordinary folk can now say without doubt to the members of the Elite Ruling Class who have been foisting this nonsense on us: you aren’t fooling us anymore.
In my book, The Sexual State, I offer several possible reasons why the Elites of society are so invested in promoting the Sexual Revolution. Some are just ideologues. Some are making money from the Sexual Revolution. Some enjoy the power rush they get from being part of a movement to remake the world in their own image.
Here is an even simpler explanation. Some rich and powerful people want to have sex without consequences or even inconvenience. The Sexual Revolutionary ideology and all the policies that support it, provide these people with encouragement or cover or both.
I did not emphasize this point very much in my book. It is generally bad manners to assume bad faith, unless the evidence is overwhelming. The evidence is now overwhelming. Some highly placed advocates of the Sexual Revolution just wanted to get laid.
Stephen Reinhart, “the Liberal Lion,” was the Chief Justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Under his reign, the Sexual Revolutionaries could count on the Ninth Circuit for favorable reinterpretations of law. One of his former law clerks recently revealed he had a pattern of sexual harassment of his female subordinates. Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein made numerous films that implicitly or explicitly supported the Sexual Revolution or attacked the Catholic Church or both. We now know that he was a notorious predator, pervert and sex addict, thankfully consigned to prison for the next 23 years.
Speaking of the Catholic Church, the disgraced former cardinal, now Mr. Theodore McCarrick, was big on promoting Catholic teaching on “social justice.” Church teaching on sexual morality: not so much. In fact, McCarrick downplayed to the point of suppressing an instruction from Pope Benedict XVI telling the U.S. clergy that they ought to take a tougher stand on pro-abortion, self-proclaimed “Catholic” politicians. The pope wrote a letter that then-Cardinal McCarrick failed to deliver. Who would have thought? A sexual predator (a homosexual predator, to be sure) dragged his feet about proclaiming Church teaching on abortion.
And speaking of homosexual predators, what about Terry Bean? You remember him, don’t you? He was the Democratic fundraiser and gay rights activist who has been accused of sexual abuse of boys.
And then of course, there is Jeffrey Epstein himself, the proprietor of an island for sex slavery for his rich and powerful friends. Gosh, isn’t it sad that he killed himself?
Seriously, members of the Elite Ruling Class, do you expect us to believe Jeffrey Epstein killed himself? Some wags in Le Krewe d’Etat created a Mardi Gras float featuring Hilary Clinton strangling Jeffrey Epstein. This “disturbing” float attracted attention all the way across the pond in the U.K. press. A Denver story even has an amateur video.
Memo to Sexual Revolutionary Elites: We don’t believe Jeffrey Epstein killed himself.
Your corporations blast pornography into the public square. Your sports leagues groom young girls to think sex with strangers is empowering. Your “educators” and politicians inflict graphic sexual “education” on children, against the wishes of their parents. This “educational material” is so graphic, the live broadcast of the Washington State legislative debates included a warning label: “Mature Subject Matter — Viewer Discretion Advised.” Yet the legislature voted it into the classroom of every public school in the State of Washington.
Your allies in higher education conscript generations of college students as shock troops for the Sexual Revolution. You divert their attention from your shameless exploitation and keep them focused on your preferred scapegoats the “Religious Right.” You have used your microphone in the media to cover up Epstein’s crimes. You are seemingly more concerned about who leaked the cover-up story, than about the cover-up itself.
You notice how I said “seemingly.” That is an old habit. I generally avoid making rash statements that I cannot prove. But in an environment of massive cover-up and deception that includes seemingly (there’s that word again) every institution in society, certainty is no longer possible. I’m not in a court of law where I have to prove your crimes beyond a reasonable doubt. I am in the court of Public Opinion. And we have reached a verdict on the Ruling Class and the Sexual Revolution.
We believe you are capable of any crime, including murder, rape, pedophilia and perjury. You have abused our good will. We believe you, the Elite Ruling Class, are using every institution of society to embolden predators and disarm victims.
You have used up the benefit of the doubt. We will give a respectful hearing to internet conspiracy theories we would have dismissed only a short time ago. When in doubt about sexual crimes or cover-ups by the Ruling Class, the presumption goes against you. In a pinch, all ties go to the guy in the tinfoil hat, not the guy in the designer business suit. As Michael Brendan Dougherty put it: we believe paranoia stands to reason.
“Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.” Whenever you see that meme, understand what the people of this country are telling you. We don’t trust you. We don’t believe you. And you have only yourselves to blame.
Posted on: Tuesday, February 04, 2020
“An internationally televised grooming session.” That’s how Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., described the hyper-sexualized halftime show at Sunday’s Super Bowl. “Convincing prospective victims that overtly sexual displays are normal and empowering, softening victims up to ‘consent’ to sex more readily--these are the hallmarks of sexual grooming.”
Father Mark Hodges, an Orthodox priest and the Ruth Institute’s Dr. J Show producer, added, “The show included a series of bumps and grinds, which offered flashes of crotch and brazenly featured the performers’ buttocks.”
To make matters worse, the pre-game entertainment featured The Children’s Voice Chorus of Miami, with 40 children, some pre-adolescent. The kids stayed around for the game, including the halftime show’s sexual gyrations.
Fr. Hodges continued: "Around the huge choir of prepubescent girls was the symbol for female. But immodesty is not empowerment. Imagine watching that ‘family friendly’ broadcast with your little daughter. The lesson is that femininity means gyrating and thrusting your private parts toward the camera."
Morse also noted that Super Bowls generally include an upsurge of sex trafficking, including underage girls. “After giving some of the guys in Miami what amounted to a sex show, spectators were then turned loose on the streets.”
It’s estimated that each year 17,500 individuals are trafficked in the United States, 81% of them for sexual purposes.
In preparation for the Super Bowl, Miami hotel workers, ride-hailing service drivers, and security personnel were given a crash course on how to combat human trafficking. “The value of that well-intentioned training was more than offset by the sexual stimulation of the halftime show,” Morse observed.
To compliment the sleazy show, one Super Bowl ad featured drag queens, two former contestants on RuPaul’s ‘Drag Race.’ Meanwhile, Fox rejected an ad by a new group called Faces of Choice, featuring the survivors of botched abortions.
Morse commented, “While FOX insisted on inflicting drag queens hawking hummus on American families, it decided a pro-life ad – which contained nothing graphic -- was just too much for Middle America to handle.”
Morse stated, “Corporate America, including the major networks and the NFL, have shown us that they are ‘all in’ for promoting the Sexual Revolution.
We call on Christian athletes, especially NFL players, to stop allowing their talent to be exploited for this purpose.”
Posted on: Monday, November 18, 2019
By Jennifer Roback Morse
Published on October 31, 2019, at The Stream.
Seminary in Florence, Italy. Image courtesy of pixabay.com.
You see, this Notre Dame study is a good news, bad news situation. The good news is that only 6% of seminarians surveyed reported sexual harassment. The bad news is that less than half the seminaries in the U.S. participated in the survey. The problem is: we don’t know which half is which.
My organization, the Ruth Institute has a special interest in this study. These results are completely consistent with the results of Fr. Paul Sullins’ second report, Receding Waves: Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests since 2000. Fr. Sullins is no slouch. He holds a doctorate in sociology and taught at Catholic University of America. He finds that recently ordained clergy are less likely to be abusers, and less likely to have male victims. Priests ordained within the last 10 years of his data collection are more likely to be orthodox, faithful and chaste. So, the Notre Dame findings are fully consistent with Fr. Sullins’ findings from a very different set of data. The young guys are good guys. Good news, for sure.
But don’t break out the bubbly. We still got problems.
You see, the Notre Dame researchers are serious people, doing serious work. They made good faith attempts to include all the seminaries and houses of religious formation. When some didn’t respond, the McGrath Institute at Notre Dame went the extra mile. Their Executive Director, Dr. John Cavadini, wrote letters to U.S. bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and superiors of religious orders. He told them about the study. He asked that they grant permission to participate in the study to their seminarians.
In spite of this diligence, only about 50% of the seminaries participated in the survey. Nearly 40% (37% to be exact) of seminaries and houses of formation never gave him the courtesy of a reply. Another 15% of seminaries or houses of formation either flat out declined to participate, or they said they were interested but then never responded to multiple attempts to follow up.
It is hard to believe all these schools didn’t know about the request.
It is also hard to believe that the schools that participated and the schools that didn’t are similar in every relevant respect. Some seminary authorities decided to not respond to repeated inquires. Some seminary rectors decided to not allow their men to be informed about the opportunity to participate in the survey. I wonder why?
Do you think the institutions that tolerate sexual activity, voluntary or otherwise, would be eager to encourage their men to participate in a survey about sexual activity and harassment? A school with a corrupt rector, or a diocese with a history of tolerating sexual acting out in the clergy, do you think those are the places rushing to tell Notre Dame, “yes, oh yes, you can ask our students anything?”
Maybe it’s just me. But I’m thinking, “no,” and “no.”
Wouldn’t you like to know, which schools had the students that said, “sexual harassment isn’t a problem here?” Wouldn’t you like to know which seminaries had students who said that seminaries should “automatically expel all men who do not live chastely?” Wouldn’t you like to know which schools couldn’t be bothered to forward the invitation to participate emails to their students?
I’d love to know. I’m thinking you would too.
Now, I’ve done social science research. Promising confidentiality to participants is standard protocol. The professionals at Notre Dame are not going to reveal which schools participated.
But we, dear reader, have every right to ask our bishops and seminary rectors: did our seminary participate in this survey? We, the faithful, have every right to say, “If your school participated, we congratulate you with our sustained financial support! If our school didn’t participate, why not? If you had a good reason to decline to participate, we would like to hear it.”
If they don’t answer a simple “yes or no” question, we have every right to draw our own conclusions.
At the same time, those seminaries that did participate can claim “bragging rights.” They could say, “We released a list of our students for the Notre Dame research team to contact and invite to participate. We encouraged our men to cooperate.” This would be no violation of any confidentiality agreement or of anyone’s privacy. This would be perfectly ethical.
The students who participated in this survey sound like fine young men. When asked to volunteer suggestions for improving seminary life, they wanted their schools to provide stronger formation in chastity. But what about the other half of our seminaries? We have no way of knowing what is going on. Are they all corrupt? Just how bad are the bad schools?
Church authorities who have responsibility for seminaries, I call on you to address this question. If your men participated, we applaud you. Your men are an encouragement to us all. We thank you for them. We wish to help support you, and them.
If you don’t answer these questions, our imaginations are left free to roam. You will have only yourselves to blame if our suspicions increase.
Posted on: Saturday, November 09, 2019
According to Ruth Institute sociologist Father Paul Sullins, a generation of younger clergy formed for lives of chaste celibacy is a major reason why clergy abuse rates are much lower than before 2000.
This article was first published June 10, 2019, at NCRegister.com.
by Peter Jesserer Smith
LAKE CHARLES, La. — Some promising news on the clergy sex-abuse crisis is joined by some warning signs, in a new report by religious sociologist Father Paul Sullins and the Ruth Institute.
According to the report, the overall number of homosexual priests has declined sharply since a peak in the 1980s — and so have the number of victims, who previously have been predominantly male. And it indicates that more recently ordained priests collectively have a far greater commitment to orthodoxy than the preceding generation of the priesthood, including faithfully living out the Church’s teachings with respect to chastity.
However, it states that the reports of sex abuse have also risen somewhat after hitting a low in 2002 and that the majority of victims of current reports within the last decade are likely to be female teenagers.
“Our long-standing interest at the Ruth Institute has been concern for the victims of the sexual revolution, of whom the victims of clergy sex abuse certainly are a prime interest,” Ruth Institute President Jennifer Roback Morse told reporters on a media call Thursday presenting the report, titled “Receding Waves: Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests Since 2000.”
The Ruth Institute made four recommendations: continuing vigilance in protecting all minors against clerical sexual abuse; paying particular attention to the persistent sexual abuse of girls; researching further into clergy self-description of their patterns of sexual attraction and behavior; and increasing educational programs on authentic Church teaching on human sexuality, including St. John Paul II’s theology of the body, at “all levels of education such as seminaries, universities, high schools, elementary schools, and parish catechism classes.”
Sociologist and Catholic priest Father Paul Sullins, who authored the report, found that since the 1960s priests engaged in child sex abuse have been relatively concentrated in two age groups: one ordained in the late 1960s and the other ordained in the early 1980s. The report stated the pattern of 20th-century clergy abuse of minors “closely tracks the estimates of numbers of self-identified homosexual clergy” and the decline of homosexual clergy “roughly equals fewer cases of clergy sexual abuse” in the U.S.
His report admitted there is no concrete data on the number of ordained homosexual priests after 2000, but stated that “statistical projections estimate that recent ordination classes have contained very few homosexual men.”
Father Sullins noted in the media call that the drop in ordinations of homosexual men is concurrent with the rise of a newer generation of young, orthodox candidates for the priesthood coming through seminary.
According to the data Father Sullins analyzed on clerical sexual abuse alleged to have taken place since 2000, priests ordained within the past 10 years accounted for 11% of those recent abuse allegations. More than half (52%) of the recent alleged abuse was perpetrated by priests ordained 30 years ago or more.
Changing Picture of Sex Abuse
Father Sullins said the proportion of male and female victims is changing in recent abuse reports: Seventy-four percent of reported victims were male in 2000 compared to only 34% by 2016.
The report highlights a “disturbing rise of the sexual abuse of children by priests after reaching an all-time low just after 2002.” While reports of current abuse averaged 7.0 per year from 2005 to 2009, he said, they rose to 8.2 per year from 2010 to 2014, a 17% increase.
“We have more abuse today than a decade ago,” he said.
Morse said Catholics should not fool themselves that the sex-abuse crisis is limited to homosexual clergy. The Ruth Institute has a place for survivors to tell their stories, and she said girls were by far the largest group telling their stories.
Still, Father Sullins said the overall abuse rate is well below the 1980s, when there were an average of 26.2 reports of current abuse per year.
Father Sullins clarified on the media call that the numbers from current reports only reflect trends, not the total numbers of abuse victims. The scope of the abuse crisis in real numbers is difficult to quantify. He said abuse victims on average take 28 years to process and report. Even then, he told reporters, only three or four victims out of 10 will come forward.
Father Sullins noted also that the national review board is warning about this very thing, pointing to rising complacency, failure to implement proper screening procedures, and failures to update trainings of adults and children at the diocesan and parish level on possible harms.
At the same time, Father Sullins stated that the rate of abuse in Catholic settings is “much lower” than comparable secular settings. He cautioned against the idea that “clergy sex abuse is a thing of the past.”
However, the Ruth Institute report has drawn criticism. Mark Gray, director of CARA Catholic Polls and a senior research associate at Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, told the Register he is concerned that a substantial part of Father Sullins’ data cannot be independently examined.
The data Father Sullins cited from the site VictimsSpeakDB is no longer available online. Gray said it seemed “deeply suspicious” to him the researcher who compiled it would cite “limited interest in statistical data about clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church” as his reason for taking the data offline.
Gray said most sociologists and criminologists would disagree with Father Sullins’ conclusions indicating a connection between the rise and fall of homosexual men in the priesthood and the rise and fall of sexual abuse cases.
“The consensus among researchers who study abuse is that sexual orientation is not a causal factor,” he said.
While there are no doubt specific factors for why the cohort of priests who committed acts of abuse, concentrated between the 1960s and 1980s, were abusers, Gray said there is no single cause, such as active homosexuality, that would be sufficient to explain the phenomenon.
Further Studies Needed
Both Father Sullins and Gray stated the Church does not have any studies that could give meaningful data on clerical sexual activity, or even whether that sexual activity varies depending on settings involving different levels of supervision and mutual accountability: such as whether the priest lives alone, with other priests in a rectory, or in a monastic setting.
Understanding the sexual activity of celibate clergy is key to understanding the phenomenon of clerics who sexually abuse minors and even adults. Stephen De Weger, an Australian researcher of adult sexual abuse, told the Register that elastic definitions of celibacy among the clergy are a component to the crisis.
He noted the most concentrated eras of documented sexual abuse correlate with a certain zeitgeist in seminary that was reacting against a previous culture of repressed sexuality. Books in vogue between the 1960s and 1980s stressed that clergy were “sexual beings,” which, De Weger said, may have given a vast number of psycho-sexually immature men (and women) in religious and clerical life a kind of permission to engage in sexual activity, and to justify it as normal, or an expression of love. Many others, he said, such as serial-offender types, “simply consciously take advantage of their positional power and use such terms as ‘God approves because this is love and God is love.’”
De Weger, who had briefly been in religious life during this time, indicated that some of these works seemed “a short step from the sexual celibate to the sexually active celibate.”
One popular book, he noted, outlined several different “expressions of celibacy” that basically gave justifications for different kinds of sexual contact under the guise of maintaining one’s promises or vows. However, for the faithful who expect that celibates are living chastity, “this makes no sense at all” and also exposes the faithful to potential harm.
De Weger said his research strongly found that because Catholic faithful expect the clergy they turn to for spiritual help and guidance will not sexualize their spiritual relationships, they are vulnerable to that abuse of power and breach of trust.
Father Sullins said he’s encountered those elastic rationalizations in the older generations of priests and religious. One factor behind why incidents of sexual abuse are lower in younger priests, he said, may be due to how celibacy is taught now in seminary by priests who are now fully molded in St. John Paul II’s theology.
He said celibacy in the theology of the younger clergy is not simply about not having physical sex or being unmarried, but rather is a “conscious relinquishment of marriage and the prerogatives of marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of God.”
Mary Hasson, president of the Catholic Women’s Forum, told the Register that the Ruth Institute’s report helps the Church to “better understand what went wrong” and the critical importance of “sound human formation” for the priesthood.
While it is “good news” that the number of abuse cases has dropped, it is a vital reminder that Catholics cannot be any less vigilant or urgent about dealing with the abuse crisis, and there are both adults and children who have been victimized by clergy.
Hasson said she’d like to see the U.S. bishops at their assembly next week in Baltimore give a “demonstration of their resolve” to face the crisis and recommended they implement lay-involved “accountability and transparency” mechanisms, such with the lay review board, so the Church can move forward.
“There’s a wide range of victims,” she said. “We can’t rest until there are none.”
Posted on: Saturday, November 09, 2019
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published Jun. 25, 2019, at NCRegister.com.
The clergy sexual abuse and cover-up scandal evokes powerful emotions. Some people become protective of their views of interecclesial politics. Others become defensive of the Church in general. And the subject of clergy sex abuse itself is intrinsically revolting. Precisely because of these varied and visceral emotions, we must examine the facts with as much sobriety and objectivity as we can muster.
In “Receding Waves: Child Sexual Abuse and Homosexual Priests Since 2000,” Father Paul Sullins finds surprising changes in both the victims and the perpetrators of clerical sexual abuse — and also, more generally, from the more general standpoint of today’s Catholic priesthood. Every one of these changes is sure to upset someone’s preconceived notions about what is going on and what we ought to do.
Recent Abuse Is Different
First, let’s take a look at the victims of clergy sexual abuse since 2000.
Fewer males are being abused: The most striking finding in this new report is the decline in proportion of male victims. The percent of abuse victims who were male plummeted from 74% in 2000 to only 34% by 2016. In 1985, males comprised 92% of victims and averaged 82% from 1950 to 1999 (Figures 3 and 4). This finding may disturb those who think that getting the active homosexuals out of the priesthood will solve all the problems. We will still have to be vigilant to protect girls from abuse. The data clearly show a steady number of female victims, year in and year out.
On the other hand, reducing the number of homosexually active clergy will solve a big chunk of the problems. The data show pronounced changes in the numbers of male victims over time. In fact, the changes in male victims pretty much account for the changes in total victims (Figure 14).
And, as Father Sullins showed in the Ruth Institute’s earlier report from 2018, the numbers and percentages of male victims track almost perfectly with the numbers of priests who describe themselves as homosexual (Figure 10 from the 2018 report).
The combination of these facts makes “clericalism” highly unlikely as a causal factor. What sort of undue deference to the clergy could account for a steady stream of female victims and, at the same time, wild swings in male victims? Clericalism is not a good thing, to be sure. But as a causal explanation, it is looking thinner all the time.
Victims being abused today are older: Recent abuse has involved older victims past puberty. Since 2000 half (50%) of abuse victims were teenagers aged 14-17; before 2000, only a third (33%) were this old (Figures 3 and 4). This means that true pedophilia, meaning sexual activity with pre-pubescent children, has been declining. Separating out pedophilia distinctly from sexual orientation as a causal factor is becoming a greater stretch.
Recent Perpetrators Are Different
Mostly not newly ordained priests: Since 2000 only a small fraction (11%) of abuse has been perpetrated by newly ordained priests (that is, those who have been ordained for less than 10 years), while over half (52%) of abuse has been perpetrated by priests ordained 30 years or more. This reverses the pattern before 2000, when a third (31%) of abuse was due to newly ordained priests and only 10% by priests ordained 30 years or more. (See Figure 7.) This suggests that we cannot blame young, testosterone-fueled men for clergy sex abuse.
In fact, since the 1960s, priests engaged in child sex abuse have been relatively concentrated in two age groups: one ordained in the late 1960s and early 1970s and the other ordained in the early 1980s (Figure 8). Tracking these men over the years, one can see that men ordained in these time periods account for an outsized number of abuse incidents.
For instance, Father Michael Guidry was in his 70s when he molested the 16-year-old son of one of his parish’s deacons. Father Guidry was ordained in 1971. Father Robert DeLand, the Saginaw, Michigan, priest who was finally caught when a detective “wired” the 17-year-old potential victim, was ordained in 1973. Men in their 70s usually do not normally groom teenagers for sex.
Few are homosexual: We do not have data on homosexual ordinations after 2000. Based on the sharp decline in the numbers of male victims of clergy sexual abuse, we surmise that fewer men of homosexual inclination are being ordained. In the 1980s as many as half of new ordinations were of homosexual men.
This is a good time to emphasize one of the Ruth Institute’s recommendations: “The Church or interested scholars and lay organizations should conduct further research on clergy self-description of their patterns of sexual attraction and behavior.” Father Sullins’ analysis of self-described sexual orientation of the clergy is based entirely on a 2002 Los Angeles Times survey. No systematic survey has been conducted since that time. It would be beneficial to have direct information, rather than having to draw inferences.
Recently Ordained Priests Appear to Be Different
Orthodox, faithful, younger priests: The drop in homosexual ordinations is congruent with the rise of a newer generation of young, orthodox candidates for the priesthood. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the current generation of seminary directors is more likely to exclude men with deeply rooted homosexual tendencies from the path to priesthood. This policy, if indeed it is a conscious policy, conforms to long-standing papal instruction as well as a theology of priestly celibacy as a calling reserved for heterosexual men, capable of marriage and fatherhood.
Aging homosexual priests: Today, half of all Catholic priests are between the ages of 60 and 84. Father Sullins estimates that about one in five of these priests self-describes as homosexual compared with less than one in 30 priests under age 50 who describe themselves as homosexual. As the wave of older homosexual priests passes on in coming years, the share of homosexual men in the Catholic priesthood will drop rapidly.
What does all this mean to the average Catholic? It means that the truth of the Church’s teaching on marriage, family and sexuality has not been undone by the recent scandals. We have reason to be hopeful that the younger generation of priests, the “John Paul II generation,” are less inclined to sexual misbehavior.
At the same time, as I indicated in my previous column, not all is well in the Church just yet — and we must continue to be vigilant to protect girls and boys alike. It means that people who are tempted to “jump ship” and abandon the Church have every reason to be hopeful and stay. We need the most sensitive and morally serious souls to stay!
We know that God writes straight with crooked lines. With God’s grace, and our fidelity, our Church and our country may yet become the holiest ever known.
Let this be our finest hour.
Posted on: Saturday, November 09, 2019
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published Oct. 27, 2019, at NCRegister.com.
A recent study reported, “only 6% of seminarians report sexual harassment.” The McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame produced this path-breaking survey. One optimistic conclusion people might draw from this report is “Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is no worse than in any other institution of society. People who keep talking about sexual abuse are just bashing the Church.” In my opinion, comparing sex abuse in the Catholic Church with that in other institutions can serve a valid purpose. But I think we need to be careful. Some such comparisons can be actively harmful.
Let me take as an example, The Catholic League’s response to the Notre Dame survey. I choose them because they make a fair statement of a sentiment many people share:
In 2013, Hollaback! commissioned a College Harassment Survey and found that 67 percent of students experienced harassment on campus. In 2006, the American Association of University Women reported that nearly two-thirds of college students experienced sexual harassment at some point during college. In 2018, an online survey by Stop Street Harassment found that 81 percent of women and 43 percent of men said they experienced some form of sexual harassment during their lifetime.
Definitions of sexual harassment vary widely, and incidents range from a sexual joke to rape, thus making comparisons difficult. No matter, compared to life outside the seminaries, the condition in most seminaries today is far better than on college campuses or in the workplace. And they are a vast improvement over what existed in many seminaries not long ago.
The Catholic League’s mission is to defend the Church from slander. Our highly secularized world is filled with people who hate the Catholic Church and miss no opportunity to criticize her. The truly committed sexual revolutionaries honestly believe the Catholic Church is not only bad, but the worst institution ever. I don’t think we should even dignify that statement with a response, should anyone be blunt enough to just blurt it out. The Catholic League, and anyone who loves the Church, is not wrong to defend the Church against scurrilous attacks.
So far, so good.
We might also console ourselves with comparisons with the average state university or our own institutions in years past. Many faithful Catholics are discouraged by the sex scandals. They are looking for good news and solace wherever they can find it. Let’s breathe a sigh of relief, avert our eyes and “move on.”
I understand. I don’t blame people a bit for feeling this way. But we should only take comfort in news that is true. There is plenty of reason for continued suspicion that things are not A-Okay in our seminaries. As Janet Smith recently observed, less than half the seminaries and houses of formation even participated in the Notre Dame study. “Moving on” would be premature and even negligent.
To see why, let me offer an analogy that many readers will recognize. Let’s suppose you have a loved one who has a serious addiction or mental illness. The various family members have complex and contradictory feelings: worry, shame, embarrassment, fear, inadequacy and many others. We are afraid our drug addicted son is going to permanently ruin his life. We feel helpless to aid our anorexic daughter. We are ashamed that our family’s problems reflect poorly on us as parents.
In that circumstance, we might look around at our next-door neighbors. On the plus side, maybe we want to emulate someone who dealt with a similar situation successfully. Maybe we’re trying to avoid something that didn’t work out so well for someone else. That kind of comparison is potentially beneficial.
Alas, we are not always so high-minded. We’re tempted to use the comparison to console ourselves. “At least we aren’t as bad as that family over there.”
But what would be the point? We still have to deal with our own situation. Whatever momentary comfort we might take in keeping one step ahead of the Jones’s, we still have to get on with our business of taking care of our own hurting family members.
To be sure, our neighbors are watching us, but not necessarily the way we think they are. They are not only judging us for the problem itself. They are judging us for how we conduct ourselves. “His daughter is on life-support with anorexia and he’s worried what the neighbors will think. What an idiot.”
The secular world criticizes us for our doctrine, which they find too difficult to live by. But living up to our doctrine is the only lasting and authentic solution to the problem of sexual abuse of the weak and vulnerable. We must show by our actions that we truly believe that Jesus is the “way, the truth and the life.” Deflection or averting our eyes or changing the subject won’t lead anyone closer to Christ and His Church.
And that really is the bottom line for faithful Catholics who love the Church. How we compare to the Boy Scouts or the Baptists doesn’t matter. Catholic clergy sex abuse is our mess. We have an obligation to clean it up. We owe it as a duty of justice to those who have been harmed, directly and indirectly. The world is watching how we handle ourselves.
Our Church really is metaphorically on life support. (Yes, I know about the gates of hell not prevailing and all that. Don’t change the subject.) We must face this issue squarely and honestly. If we do, we could win many souls. If we don’t, well, let’s just say, Our Lord will have pointed questions for us on our own judgment day.
I can speak for myself when I say, I intend to see this through to the end.