The Final Solution
Today's live-web transmission of the USCCB's Child Protection Compliance Audit press conference was oddly unsatisfactory. Answers failed to connect with the questions -- as if the press corps had shown up with footballs and the panel with fielders' gloves. That said, in response to a reporter's question Bishop Wilton Gregory made the interesting (and gratuitous) admission that no priest had ever come to him admitting that he felt he was potentially an abuser and was in need of counseling.
Few of us will find this surprising. But it points to the cardinal flaw in the bishops' program: it is predicated on voluntary compliance to rational norms by good-willed individuals. Yet the perpetrators are ill-willed persons wedded to irrationality and notoriously good at lying. Risk-reduction means eliminating potential abusers against their will, and that is necessarily an adversarial business. But the bishops have made a conscious and adamant decision to ignore the most obvious risk-factor: the disordered sexual libido by which men are attracted to men. It is fallacious (and futile) to pretend that we can live with gay priests provided their sexuality is "integrated." All such men claim to be integrated, and once experience proves the contrary it's too late to matter. At some level, everyone understands that the program is a long-winded farce, that the bishops have constructed a sieve that will let the problem persons pass right through.
To my mind, the saddest and most telling line in the report is the following:
All of the dioceses and eparchies that were audited had ongoing formation plans for priests. Evaluating the quality of these programs was beyond the scope of this audit.
Got that? We can't say what kind of men priests should become, but we're confident they're being molded into it. The important point is that the formation is ongoing. God help us.
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Posted by: Stonewall -
Jan. 06, 2004 8:08 PM ET USA
Suspicious I would say. The Manchester Diocese, headed by Bishop John McCormack, came out at the top of the list? McCormack continually covered for the accused while handling allegations of clergy sexual abuse for the Archdiocese of Boston. He was in seminary with at least two of the accused, John Shanley and Joseph Birmingham, and never noticed anything strange about them. The greatest help for the Manchester Diocese would be the resignation of McCormack.
Posted by: Phil -
Jan. 06, 2004 4:52 PM ET USA
"oddly unsatisfactory?" I'm 100% with you on the second word. Definitely "unsatisfactory." But "oddly" implies that you might have expected something else.
Posted by: Pseudodionysius -
Jan. 06, 2004 4:31 PM ET USA
The CEO reported that never, in all his tenure, had any of his VP's come up to him and said that they were a fraudster, scamming from the bank, and incorrigible kleptomanicas who should have their severance, bonuses, back pay and stock options confiscated and returned to the employees and customers that they had shafted all these years with their behaviour. We are a Wal-Mart people.
Posted by: Pseudodionysius -
Jan. 06, 2004 4:09 PM ET USA
I think we now know why Frank Keating was sharing the stage with Clintonistas....the USSCCB needed some ace-ventura pet detective style spinmeisters to protect them should the good Governor get all huffy and try and go ethical on them. Perish the thought. On second thought, perish the parish.