Ruth Speaks Out

This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.


Clergy Sex Abuse Has Changed Since 2000 — and Why It Matters

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first published Jun. 14, 2019, at NCRegister.com.


COMMENTARY: Part I — Clergy sex abuse is rising, not falling.

The Ruth Institute recently released a new report by Father Paul Sullins, Ph.D., on clergy sexual abuse since 2000, showing that clergy sexual abuse has been rising in the years since the “Dallas Charter.” Around the same time, the Catholic League released a statement saying the clergy sexual abuse today is negligible.


Oddly enough, both the Catholic League statement and the Ruth Institute report referred to the “2018 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”

What accounts for our very different conclusions?

Let’s start with the point on which we agree. The Catholic League states: “During this period (July 1, 2017- June 30, 2018) there were 26 new allegations involving current minors. But only three were substantiated (all three men were removed from ministry). Seven were unsubstantiated; three were unable to be proven; two were referred to a religious order; two were reported as unknown; and three were boundary violations, not instances of sexual abuse” (Page 25 of the audit report.) Don’t those low numbers sound encouraging?

Here is the problem with taking these figures at face value: These are the reports received in 2018 about incidents that took place during 2018. In that same period of time, 1,385 survivors of child sexual abuse by clergy came forward making 1,455 allegations. Obviously, the bulk of these incidents did NOT take place during the most recent year, but from earlier years. Most survivors do not report their abuse until much later. In fact, in the 2018 Ruth Institute study using the Pennsylvania grand jury reports, Father Sullins found that the average reporting lag was more than 28 years!

This means that trying to get a reliable handle on the trend in sexual abuse requires us to be careful with the conclusions we draw from our data. We could easily (and wrongly) conclude that all is well and that clergy sexual abuse is declining. We must make some correction for this very substantial reporting lag.

Father Sullins addressed that issue by comparing year-to-year allegations of current abuse. In other words, he went back to the historic data and asked this question, “In 1950-1954, how many people came forward to say they were abused in 1950-1954? How does that compare with the number of people coming forward between 1955-1959 to say they were abused between 1955-1959?” And so on. Bringing those numbers up to the present does not paint such a rosy picture of rapidly declining clergy sexual abuse.

In fact, this is precisely where Father Sullins found a disturbing increase in sexual abuse of minors since 2002. The priest sexual abuse of children dropped to an all-time low just after 2002, but it has since risen. True, clergy sexual abuse of minors remains well below its peak in the 1980s. Reports of current abuse averaged 7.0 per year from 2005 to 2009, rising to 8.2 per year from 2010 to 2014, a 17% increase. In the 1980s, there were an average 26.2 reports of current abuse per year. (See Figures 2 and 6 in the report.)

This suggests that the 2002 Dallas Charter, for all its improvements, did not solve all the problems. We still need to be vigilant. As a matter of fact, the “Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” made this very point. “The current allegations point to the reality that sexual abuse of minors by the clergy should not be considered by bishops as a thing of the past or a distant memory. Any allegation involving a current minor should remind the bishops that they must rededicate themselves each day to maintaining a level of vigilance that will not permit complacency to set in” (page vii).

Recommendations

Catholics must remain vigilant in protecting minors against clerical sexual abuse. In fact, the audit report clearly states,

“The National Review Board calls for a more in-depth audit, as well as ensuring the complete independence of the audit if the bishops hope to regain the trust of the laity in assuring that children and young people are indeed safe within our institutions.”

We as Catholics must also step up our efforts to proclaim authentic Catholic doctrine about marriage, family and human sexuality. At the Ruth Institute, we agree wholeheartedly with Pope Emeritus Benedict’s analysis. Poor theological formation of clergy and seminarians and rampant dissent on sexual teaching are significant factors in the current crisis.

In fact, that is one of the main recommendations we make in our report:

“The Church or interested lay organizations should increase educational programs on authentic Church teaching on human sexuality. Such educational efforts should include all levels of education, such as seminaries, universities, high schools, elementary schools and parish catechism classes. The topics covered should include Pope St. John Paul II’s ‘Theology of the Body’ and how traditional Christian sexual ethics promotes and protects the interests of children, women, men and society.”

The answer to poor formation, is quite simply, more and better formation.

Most serious Catholics are fed up with clergy sexual abuse: One case is too many. We want it to go away and stay away. In fact, we want it all gone — yesterday! But, as rational adults, we realize that this deep problem will not disappear overnight, no matter what we do.

It behooves us all to figure out what is really going on, to the best of our ability. Sugarcoating the truth does not serve the Church. This is no time for self-congratulation or complacency. This is the time to take our lumps when necessary. And above all, this is the time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.


Cherished Beliefs of the Sexual Revolution (and How They Protect Sexual Predators)

by Jennifer Roback Morse Nov. 26, 2018 at NCRegister.com

One curious feature of the current clergy sex-abuse scandal is the reticence of the non-Catholic media to go after the predators.

Many journalists in the “Legacy Media” seem to have an “anti-Catholic default” setting. One might think such journalists would leap at the chance to pile on with negative reports about the behavior of the Catholic hierarchy. Yet most secular newsrooms have been quite subdued on this issue.

This situation cries out for an explanation.

I propose that many people in our culture, including the media, subscribe to what I call “Cherished Beliefs of the Sexual Revolution.”

 


These tenets of secularism have been so widely promoted, defended and accepted that they are part of the air we breathe. We don’t even recognize that we believe these ideas.

Some of these ideas have specifically to do with homosexual activity and identity. Others are part of the more general ideological structure of the sexual revolution. Dissecting these ideas and correcting or even discarding them is a crucial step in getting to the bottom of the clergy sex-abuse scandal.

Allow me to assist.

Let me state for the record: Gross generalizations are unfair and unhelpful. I will never say “All gay men are … .” In fact, I once wrote an article called “Fifty Shades of Gay” — so I’m not about to draw rash conclusions about “gay men” from the behavior of a few.

However, the over-representation of homosexual predation certainly casts doubt on what I will call the “Grand Gay Narrative.” The marketing machine for “LGBT” activism and its allies in the sexual revolution have gone to a lot of trouble to create the following impressions in the public mind:

  1. Being gay is a normal variation of healthy human sexuality. “Straight” vs. “gay” is no more significant than left-handed vs. right-handed.
  2. Gay people are “born that way.”
  3. Any problems that gay people might have are the result of “homophobia,” that is, unjust discrimination against them by society, or “internalized homophobia,” that is, self-hatred.

People who hold these ideas might very well object, “That isn’t exactly what we mean.” I will be glad to accept a moderation of their position if they care to walk back these extreme versions.

Let’s see where that would leave us:

In response to each of these points:

  1. Not every person who claims a homosexual identity or engages in homosexual acts is a paragon of mental health. Some of them are out of their minds (including, perhaps, some of the sexually compulsive priest-predators?). Not every person who claims a homosexual identity or engages in homosexual acts is an innocent lamb. Some of them are mean, nasty and selfish (including, perhaps, some of the serial predators?).
  2. Even if people are born with a sexual attraction to people of their own sex, it does not follow that those same people (or anyone at all) is born with an uncontrollable urge toward sexual predation or habitual lying. (Was Theodore McCarrick “born that way”?)
  3. “Homophobia” has nothing to do with the current situation. “If only people were more accepting of homosexual activity and identity, then … .” Then, what exactly? The clergy could behave like Harvey Weinstein and all the other married men who sexually exploit women? Blaming “homophobia” is not a credible response to decades long patterns of abuse.

In short, it should be appropriate to say, “Men of homosexual inclination used the priesthood as a base of operation for preying on teenaged boys.”

Behind these specific beliefs about homosexual practices are also some general cherished beliefs of the sexual revolution. They include:

  1. Sexual activity is an absolute necessity for a healthy life. (News flash: No one has ever died from not having sex.)
  2. Sexual activity is an entitlement. (Only a rapist truly believes he is “entitled” to sex.)
  3. Any problems one might encounter from sexual activity are the result of either lingering “sex-negative” prejudices or not using your “protection” correctly and consistently. (People can have all sorts of problems from having sex at the wrong time, with the wrong person, in the wrong situation, even if their condoms work perfectly.)

This ideological aegis is providing cover for clergy sexual abuse. Journalists, judges, lawmakers and opinion-leaders who subscribe to these ideas are going to squirm when they try to face the evidence. Like the “#MeToo” movement, they are trying to condemn sexual abuse while still embracing the ideologies that made it possible.

Some of my readers no doubt have already figured out from experience that the sexual revolutionaries have been lying to them.

I urge you to examine your conscience in search of lingering traces of these beliefs. Go to confession. You will feel better, I promise you. And you will be a more credible witness in the Church’s current hour of need.

If you are still hanging on to any of these beliefs about same-sex attraction, I beg you to re-examine them. If you have friends who are hanging on to them, share this article with them. You can feel good about yourself without subscribing to superstitions.

In fact, you’ll feel better about yourself and about life in general if you know the truth. Just follow the One who described himself as “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” In this case, as in so many others, the Truth really will set you free. 


Ruth Inst. president applauds strict sentencing for convicted s*x offender, Fr. Michael Guidry

Today, September 19, Judge Alonzo Harris reconsidered the sentence of confessed sex offender, Fr. Michael Guidry of Lafayette, LA.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, was present in the courtroom when the sentence was announced. She stated, “Justice was done today. I am sincerely grateful that Judge Alonzo did not reduce the sentence, as Fr. Guidry requested.”

In April, Guidry pleaded guilty in Opelousas, Louisiana, to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, out of the ten-year maximum sentence. Guidry requested, and was granted, a hearing to reconsider his sentence. The hearing took place on September 19 at the St. Landry Parish Courthouse in Opelousas.


 

Morse is an outspoken critic of clergy sexual abuse and cover up. She is also a passionate advocate for the victims of the sexual revolution, including victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Morse said she applauds today’s ruling and believes the sentence should not have been reconsidered in the first place. “The family and other victims had achieved some degree of closure and relief from the April 30th sentencing of Fr. Guidry. Going back into court undoes the sense of finality, and revictimizes those who have already been through so much,” Morse said.

She explained further: “When I say ‘victims’ -- plural -- I include Oliver Peyton, the immediate victim, who woke up to find Fr. Guidry performing a sex act on him. I also include Oliver’s family and the members of the community who were shocked and disheartened by the revelation that the abuser, a priest in his 70s, had betrayed their trust.

“Lastly, I’m talking about the victims of child sex abuse everywhere who have been watching this case. Every new case, such as Fr. Guidry’s, can be a traumatic and ‘triggering’ event, especially for those who suffer PTSD symptoms. Every slap-on-the-wrist sentence revictimizes the victims. No new facts have emerged. Fr Guidry is still as guilty as he was in April when Judge Harris originally sentenced him. I drove from Lake Charles, LA, where I live, to support Oliver Peyton and his family. I am relieved that justice was done.”

Morse concluded with a promise, “I am not of Acadian heritage. But I am privileged to live among the Cajun people. I have heard it said that ‘The Bayou Teche will run dry before the Cajun people lose their Catholic faith.’ Civil and ecclesial authorities should be aware: we are not leaving the Church. Nor will we avert our eyes from clergy sex abuse. The scandal first broke here in Lafayette in the 1980s with the case of then-Father Gilbert Gauthe. We mean to see this crisis in the Church through to the end. Let it end here.”

The Ruth Institute works to empower victims and survivors of the sexual revolution – including victims of divorce, abuse and the LGBT culture. In April, the Institute held the first-ever Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where the Ruth Institute has its international headquarters.

 



A Sex-Abuse Story Catholics Need to Hear

COMMENTARY: Healing the crippling wounds abused people suffer.

This article by Sue Ellen Browder was first published at NCRegister.com on August 16, 2019.
 
I met my beloved husband, Walter, in 1966 at the University of Missouri, where he was studying to be a chemical engineer and I was enrolled in the School of Journalism, hoping to earn a living as a magazine writer. Almost from the moment we met, Walter and I were fast friends.
 
After our marriage, he left engineering to become a struggling novelist, and we both freelanced from home, working, playing and raising our children side by side.

 

Yet for all our intimacy, Walter contained within his heart a dark secret he didn’t share even with me. As a little boy growing up on a farm in Missouri, he’d been sexually abused by his sadistic older brother Bob, who frequently threatened to kill him. Only after we converted to Catholicism did this unspeakable secret from his tortured past at last come to light.
Walter first began to reveal the truth about his childhood horrors one Monday morning after Mass. It was about three years after we became Catholics. Approaching our pastor, Father Bruce, Walter said, “There’s something I’ve never told you.”

 

Seeing Walter’s sober face, Father Bruce took him immediately into the rectory. I stood alone in the church parking lot and waited, as Walter revealed secrets to Father Bruce that even I had never heard.

After 45 minutes, the two finally emerged from the rectory, and Father Bruce said to me: “Sue, here’s what I want you to do: I want you to ask Walter to tell you what happened when he was 7 years old. He may not want to talk about it. If he doesn’t volunteer to talk about it every two or three days, I want you to ask him about it. Just listen. Get all the details. But don’t get all emotional. Remember Joe Friday on Dragnet? I want you to be like that: ‘Just the facts, Ma’am.’”

For the next month, as we sat side by side sipping our morning coffee, we talked daily about what happened when Walter was 7. Bob held loaded guns to Walter’s head and giggled as he toyed with the trigger. He sat on the bank of a pond laughing as little Walt, who couldn’t swim, almost drowned. But the worst was that he repeatedly raped Walter in the barn and in the root cellar and threatened to kill him if he told anyone. Walter had every reason to believe Bob would carry through on this threat. The abuse was so severe that for most of Walter’s life, unknown to me, he had been suffering five or six flashbacks a day.

After 38 years of marriage, I was at last able to understand the strange anxieties and explosive anger attacks I’d witnessed, which seemed to come out of nowhere and which I’d found inexplicable in a man who was otherwise so deeply loving and sweet.

Father Bruce counseled Walter to forgive Bob (who had died years earlier) and even to pray for his immortal soul. Many non-Catholics might find such advice an outrage, as if forgiveness somehow means letting an evildoer off the hook. But trusting God, Walter listened. And in the process of praying for Bob, Walter himself was transformed: No longer a helpless victim, he became an ennobled intercessor.

On Jan. 13, 2006, Walter wrote in his personal journal:

“Sue and I had a lovely talk this morning. We talked about the problems I had with Bob. But this time we didn’t talk about just what happened. We talked about how it has affected me now. I said I was still angry with God, because Bob may have had the free will to do all that to me, but God should have stopped him somehow. No matter what, that should not have been allowed to happen. God is able to bring good things out of bad, but the bad still happened. I began thinking about that, and I decided I was still angry with God, angry enough that I would not become creative. That’s what I was doing. I was sabotaging my creativity. Every time I would get creative with my writing or my art, I would ruin it. That’s how mad I was at God. What can I do to get rid of this permanently? I don’t know. But this realization, coupled with the understanding Father Bruce gave me that I was still obeying Bob by not wanting to talk about what he did to me, has been a big relief. I now feel like I’ve had a harness taken off of me.”

After this entry in his journal, I don’t know exactly when it happened, but Walter was no longer angry at God — nor at Bob. Christ had healed him. Brimming with gratitude and joy, he announced to me the violent flashbacks that had tormented him for nearly 60 years were suddenly gone.

When Christ, the timeless One, enters into time, he makes “all things new.” It is to the Father through the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit that we receive the peace that passes all understanding.

It is certainly necessary to expose sex scandals in the Church. Evil flourishes in darkness and must be exposed to the light. But the continual mainstream media emphasis only on sex-abuse problems within the Church tends to obscure the reality that, within her sacred walls, the Church simultaneously contains the power of God to solve those problems and to heal the crippling wounds sexually abused people like Walter suffer.

Faced with horrifying sex-abuse scandals, many Catholics understandably ask, “Where is our Lord Jesus Christ in all this?” The answer is this: He’s hidden at the center of it all, taking our suffering into himself on the cross, recreating the world, and transfiguring all our pain into joy.

Sue Ellen Browder is author of Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.

 

 



Courageous Voices: Victims of Abuse Speak Out

A review by Jennifer Roback Morse of the book, ABUSE OF TRUST: Healing from Clerical Sex Abuse by Allen A. Hebert

This review was first published at NCRegister.com on August 19, 2019.

Allen Hebert is a devout practicing Catholic. He and his wife Denae have nine children. They are active in numerous Catholic apostolates, including the Your Holy Family Ministries, which they founded. Allen is also a survivor of childhood clergy sexual abuse.

Scott Peyton is a deacon in the Catholic Church. He and his wife Letitia have six children whom they homeschool. Letitia leads women’s Bible studies. One of their sons was sexually abused by a priest — a friend of their family with whom Deacon Scott had served at the altar.

Jessica McGuire is an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and teaches religious education. She is a trauma and rape hotline volunteer. She was abused by clergy starting from age 4. When she became pregnant at age 13, a powerful prelate participated in arranging for an early induced labor, which, she was assured, did not count as an abortion. She gave birth in a sacristy in a church near the medical district. Priests buried the remains of her child in a church courtyard, near a statue of the Blessed Mother.


 

These men and women are some of the contributors to Abuse of Trust: Healing from Clerical Sexual Abuse, recently published under the Heberts’ imprint, Your Holy Family Publishing. This collection of essays marks a new beginning in the public discussion of clergy sexual abuse. As these examples indicate, the authors continue to be devoted members of the Catholic Church, in spite of the evil and injustice they experienced at the hands of some Church representatives. Unlike the assortment of lapsed and dissenting Catholics who so often dominated earlier discussions of clerical sexual abuse, these authors do not want the Church to change her teaching or be destroyed. Instead, Allen Hebert has assembled a group of authors who want the Church to become more of who she ought to be — what she should have been from the beginning.

In today’s climate, that message is more likely to get a hearing than it might have in 2002. Back then, Pope John Paul II reigned. Catholics who embrace Humanae Vitae and Theology of the Body loved and revered him and wanted to shield his reputation along with his teaching. I know. I was one who just wanted the whole clergy sex abuse issue to go away. Like a lot of people, I was relieved when the bishops enacted the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. I told myself that the problem was handled and we could move on.

I speak for myself when I say: I was wrong then to avert my eyes so quickly. I plan not to make that mistake again.

By contrast, some of those, inside and outside the Church, who disagree with the Church’s magisterial teaching on human sexuality despised Pope John Paul. Such people saw the sex abuse scandals as an opportunity to lobby for a more “relaxed” approach toward sexual matters. They argued, “If only the Church would allow married priests, if only the Church would lighten up on homosexuality, the clergy would be better behaved.”

There are still those inside the Church trying to make those arguments. But the cascading scandals, the revelations of widespread cover-up, the knowledge that our entire society is rife with sexual abuse — all these factors make the “just lighten up” position far less plausible than it was in 2002.

At the same time, the pontificate of Pope Francis has shuffled the ecclesial-political deck. Defending the Church’s ancient teachings on marriage, family and human sexuality no longer means defending the pope and his appointees. The very sort of person who might have once minimized clergy sexual abuse is less inclined to do so today. Defending the Church’s teaching may well mean that the reputations of certain clerics, including ones we love and revere, may suffer. We are more inclined to say, “so be it.”

That is why the testimonies and perspective of Abuse of Trust are so important. This book allows the reader a window into the impact of clergy sexual abuse on people’s lives. The survivors and the family members tell their stories. The impact of childhood sexual abuse is profound and long-lasting, sometimes spanning generations. People don’t just “get over it.”

These are real people. They are more than ideological objects that can be moved into place to score points in some political or ecclesial debate. The only point that all these stories make is an authentically Catholic point: Healing is possible with the love of Jesus Christ.

Pediatrician Deborah Rodriguez contributes chapters on recognizing signs and symptoms of abuse, and on creating ministries that are appropriately sensitive to trauma survivors. Herself a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, Dr. Rodriguez is a shining example of how a person can be transformed by the love of Jesus. The worst things that have happened to her have become the basis for a lifetime’s work of help and healing for others.

I have no doubt that God has big plans for all of us in the Church today. But for God’s plans to be realized, we must allow him to work through us, and surrender our petty agendas. This is not about us and how embarrassed we are. This is not about losing our buildings and our contributions. Yes, I know it is awful to watch loved ones walk away from the Church in disgust. Yes, I know it is horrible to recall the generations of immigrant Catholics whose blood and sweat built our beautiful churches and schools. I don’t deny this. But I am persuaded that the more we stay focused on the victims who are right here, right now, the more likely we are to succeed in keeping our children in the Church and preserving what is left of the Catholic heritage in America.

Both healing and justice are possible with the love of Jesus Christ and the people He enlists to do his work. That would be you and me. We have been chosen to live in this time and place. We have been chosen to speak for the victims, to support the victims, to treat them with the respect and love they deserve.

That is why Abuse of Trust is a great contribution to the most important Catholic issue of our time.


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


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

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


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

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

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

A local news source reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Justice for the Victims Demands Priest Should Serve Out His Full Sentence for Sexual Assault

Published July 18, 2019 at The Daily Surge.

Daily Surge Summary: Fr. Michael Guidry, convicted of sexual assault, should not have his prison sentence reduced by any amount.

In April, Fr. Michael Guidry pleaded guilty in Opelousas, Louisiana, to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy. Guidry was sentenced to 7 years in prison, out of the ten-year maximum sentence.


Fr. Guidry has requested, and been granted, a hearing to reconsider his sentence. The hearing will take place on July 18 at the St. Landry Parish Courthouse in Opelousas. [Note: Updated information below].

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., President of the Ruth Institute, will attend the hearing. Dr. Morse is an outspoken critic of clergy sexual abuse and cover up. She is also a passionate advocate for the victims of the sexual revolution, including victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Morse believes the sentence should not be reconsidered. “The family and other victims had achieved some degree of closure and relief from the April 30th sentencing of Fr. Guidry. Going back into court undoes the sense of finality, and revictimizes those who have already been through so much,” Morse said.

Morse explained: “When I say ‘victims’ — plural — I include Oliver Peyton, the immediate victim, who woke up to find Fr. Guidry performing a sex act on him. I also include Oliver’s family and the members of the community, who were shocked and disheartened by the revelation that the abuser, a priest in his 70s, had betrayed their trust.”

“Lastly, I’m talking about the victims of child sex abuse everywhere who have been watching this case. Every new case, such as Fr. Guidry’s, can be a traumatic and ‘triggering’ event, especially for those who suffer PTSD symptoms. Every slap-on-the-wrist sentence revictimizes the victims. If the judge wishes to reconsider this sentence, I sincerely hope he will resentence Fr. Guidry to the 10-year maximum permitted by law. “

 

Morse noted: “No new facts have emerged. Fr Guidry is still as guilty as he was in April when Judge Harris originally sentenced him.”

She pledged, “I will drive from Lake Charles, LA, where I live, to say so in the presence of Oliver Peyton’s family, and anyone else who cares to listen. “

The Ruth Institute works to empower victims and survivors of the sexual revolution – including victims of divorce, abuse and the LGBT culture. In April, the Institute held the first-ever Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where the Ruth Institute has its international headquarters.

Update! Shortly after sending this press release, we learned that the re-sentencing hearing for Fr. Michael Guidry has been postponed until September 19. We are appalled by this delay, which only prolongs the suffering of Guidry’s victims. We call for a speedy resolution of this issue: the maximum sentence allowable by law for Fr. Michael Guidry.

 


Ruth Inst. president calls for stricter sentencing for convicted s*x offender

Update! Shortly after sending this press release, we learned that the re-sentencing hearing for Fr. Michael Guidry has been postponed until September 19. We are appalled by this delay, which only prolongs the suffering of Guidry’s victims. We call for a speedy resolution of this issue: the maximum sentence allowable by law for Fr. Michael Guidry.

In April, Fr. Michael Guidry pleaded guilty in Opelousas, Louisiana, to sexually assaulting a 15-year -old boy. Guidry was sentenced to seven years in prison, out of the ten-year maximum sentence.

Fr. Guidry has requested, and been granted, a hearing to reconsider his sentence. The hearing will take place July 18.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., President of the Ruth Institute, will attend the hearing. Dr. Morse is an outspoken critic of clergy sexual abuse and cover up. She is also a passionate advocate for the victims of the sexual revolution, including victims of clergy sexual abuse.


Morse believes the sentence should not be reconsidered. “The family and other victims had achieved some degree of closure and relief from the April 30th sentencing of Fr. Guidry. Going back into court undoes the sense of finality, and revictimizes those who have already been through so much,” Morse said.

Morse explained: “When I say ‘victims’ -- plural -- I include Oliver Peyton, the immediate victim, who woke up to find Fr. Guidry performing a sex act on him. I also include Oliver’s family and the members of the community, who were shocked and disheartened by the revelation that the abuser, a priest in his 70s, had betrayed their trust.”

“Lastly, I’m talking about the victims of child sex abuse everywhere who have been watching this case. Every new case, such as Fr. Guidry’s, can be a traumatic and ‘triggering’ event, especially for those who suffer PTSD symptoms. Every slap-on-the-wrist sentence revictimizes the victims. If the judge wishes to reconsider this sentence, I sincerely hope he will resentence Fr. Guidry to the 10-year maximum permitted by law."

Morse noted: “No new facts have emerged. Fr Guidry is still as guilty as he was in April when Judge Harris originally sentenced him. I will drive to Opelousas to say so in the presence of Oliver Peyton’s family, and anyone else who cares to listen.”

The Ruth Institute works to empower victims and survivors of the sexual revolution – including victims of divorce, abuse and the LGBT culture. In April, the Institute held the first-ever Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where the Ruth Institute has its international headquarters.

Dr. Morse’s latest book is The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives (and how the Church was Right All Along).

For more information on the Ruth Institute: http://www.ruthinstitute.org/.

To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse: media@ruthinstitute.org.


“Sexual Revolution Enables Abusers like Epstein and McCarrick”: Ruth Institute

“The Sexual Revolution says we’re all entitled to sex. But who actually believes such a thing? The rapist, that’s who!” Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, President of the Ruth Institute.

Ruth Institute Founder and President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D. said that Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein and former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick were all enabled by society’s acceptance of the ideology of the sexual revolution.

Writing in the July 10th National Catholic Register, Morse noted that all three were aided by “a belief system that claims that sex is an entitlement. They operated according to the tenets of the most powerful ideology in the world: the ideology of the sexual revolution.”


Morse urged us to reject the rationalization that, “The rich and powerful have always been able to buy their way out of problems.”

Yes, wealth, fame and power aided predators like Epstein. But the tenets of the sexual revolution softened up their victims. These tenets include: Sex is no more than a physical act. What are you ashamed of? And everyone is entitled to do whatever they can get away with.

“This toxic belief system is destroying individual lives and leading to social chaos,” Morse observed.

The Ruth Institute opposes this with “The Catholic belief system which tells us no one is entitled to sex. Children are entitled to a relationship with both of their parents. Women and men are entitled to the love and loyalty of their spouses.”

“Our belief system of traditional Christian sexual ethics has made us Public Enemy No. 1 of the sexual revolutionaries,” Morse added.

The Ruth Institute works to empower survivors of the sexual revolution – including victims of divorce, abuse and the LGBT culture. In April, the Institute held the first-ever Survivors’ Summit in Lake Charles, LA.

The Institute has been particularly effective in researching the crisis of clerical sex abuse, with its reports on homosexuality and the priesthood being cited around the world. In a June 10 story, The Washington Post quoted Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano on the importance of the Institute’s research.

Since the beginning of 2019, Dr. Morse has addressed leaders and activists at the Family Research Council and been interviewed on the Mike Huckabee Show on TBN and “The World Over” with Raymond Arroyo on EWTN.

Her latest book is “The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives (and how the Church was Right All Along).”

For more information on the Ruth Institute http://www.ruthinstitute.org/

To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse media@ruthinstitute.org

 

 



What Do Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein and Theodore McCarrick Have in Common?

COMMENTARY: To an unprecedented extent, the reigning secular religion of our time enables sexual abuse, disarms victims and empowers predators.

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first published July 10, 2019, at National Catholic Register.

Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein and Theodore McCarrick operate(d) in different sectors of society, have different marital statuses and sexual preferences and profess different religions. What do these disparate men have in common? A belief system that claims that sex is an entitlement. They operate according to the tenets of the most powerful ideology currently at work in the world: the ideology of the sexual revolution.


Epstein, the millionaire financier and admitted sex offender who pleaded not guilty July 9 to charges of sexual trafficking, allegedly got away with sickening crimes for a long time. But it would be a serious mistake to succumb to cynicism. “What do you expect? Wealthy guys like him have always gotten to do what they want. It is not fair to blame the sexual revolution for their abuses.”

That is, at best, a partial truth. The rich and powerful have always been able to buy their way out of problems that would crush an ordinary person. But the widespread acceptance of the sexual revolutionary ideology smooths their path. To an unprecedented extent, the reigning secular religion of our time enables sexual abuse, disarms victims and empowers predators.

“You don’t want to be a prude, do you?”

“You want to be ‘sex positive,’ don’t you?”

“Sex is nothing to feel guilty about.”

“You just have to take off your clothes and let him look at you. It is nothing be ashamed of.” (That’s one of Epstein’s contributions to the pick-up-line genre.)

“You were born this way.”

“God made you gay.”

Of course, the rich and powerful have always been able make promises to entice a sex partner into giving “consent.”

Hollywood mogul Weinstein promised his victims that he’d make them stars. Epstein offered modeling careers. McCarrick promised advancement in the Church. The sexual revolutionary ideology provides the predator added advantages, including aborting unwanted pregnancy and undermining nosy neighbors and other witnesses.

Epstein’s alleged network spanned the globe. It must have been supported and propped up by numerous people, some who actively participated and benefited. Others looked the other way, such as the superintendent of the apartment building where he housed his teenage “models” and the “modeling agency” staff and the pilots who flew his private jets that were fully decked out for his orgies.

The sexual revolution conveys the unmistakable message that everyone is entitled to do whatever they can get away with. Prosecutors say Epstein has three active U.S. passports and owns multiple jets and houses around the world, including his own private island. Witnesses and victims feared Epstein’s retaliation and blackmail. This is a man who appears to get away with a lot.

This ideology relieves people of nagging consciences. Epstein’s conscience is malformed, to put it mildly.

In 2011, he told the New York Post, “I’m not a sexual predator; I’m an ‘offender.’ It’s the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel.” He once allegedly received three 12-year-old girls as a birthday present. He doesn’t need an ideology that justifies or excuses his actions.

However, the sexual revolutionary ideology weakens the already vulnerable. The Miami Herald’s investigative report into Epstein’s activities showed:

Most of the girls came from disadvantaged families, single-parent homes or foster care. Some had experienced troubles that belied their ages: They had parents and friends who committed suicide; mothers abused by husbands and boyfriends; fathers who molested and beat them. One girl had watched her stepfather strangle her 8-year-old stepbrother.

One of Epstein’s victims who was 14 when she was first recruited said, “We were stupid, poor children. We just wanted money for school clothes, for shoes. I remember wearing shoes too tight for three years in a row. We had no family and no guidance.”

Yes, rich and powerful men love this concept that sex is an entitlement.

The magisterium of the Catholic Church stands in direct opposition to the sexual revolution. The secular #MeToo movement is trying to combat sexual abuse. But the movement’s advocates do not seem to want to surrender the intellectual framework that enables it. They seem to be counting on a combination of legal action and periodic public shaming to stop predatory behavior. I believe this will never be enough. The power imbalances are too many and too severe.

The Catholic belief system tells us no one is entitled to sex. Children are entitled to a relationship with both of their parents. Women and men are entitled to the love and loyalty of their spouses.

Every human person is entitled to be born as the result of an act of love between their mother and father. This act of love is an icon of the love of God and that God’s love is the ultimate source of everything that exists. All of Catholicism’s caveats (for which we are ridiculed) are aimed at protecting these positive values.

Yes, our belief system makes us Public Enemy No. 1 of the sexual revolutionaries. We are a big problem for those who believe they are entitled to unlimited child-free, problem-free, guilt-free sex. Not only do we tell them they are wrong, but also our belief system equalizes people. The poorest girl from an unknown family is encouraged and supported in refusing sex to any man of any station, in the same way a daughter of a billionaire would be encouraged likewise.

Faithful Catholics despise clerical sex abusers not only for their crimes, which are bad enough. We hold them in contempt because they disgrace the one philosophical system that has a prayer of finally combating this toxic ideological soup in which we are all swimming.

The Epstein Network, surrounded by enablers or those who turned a blind eye, sounds all too much like the network of clergy abusers. Society does not yet have a full accounting of either system. As faithful Catholics, we want the same kind of reckoning for both kinds of abuse. We want a full investigation of both Epstein and clerical abusers. We want punishment for the guilty and restitution for the victims. We want protection for the innocent and the whistle blowers.

Be not afraid, believers! We are on the right side of history on this issue.

 

 


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