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On Empowering Perverted Priests

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Apr 14, 2003

The St. Luke Institute's Fr. Stephen Rossetti has more to teach us about why we've got it wrong (America, 9-9-95):

The media described the child-molester priest James Porter as a "monster." One expected him to appear as a voracious, menacing figure who would strike terror in people's hearts. What appeared on television was a weak, frightened and confused man.

One can imagine that Porter's victims were still weaker, more frightened, more confused. Does Rossetti seriously think that in calling Porter a "monster" the media, even by insinuation, portrayed his appearance rather than his character? Worse, does he think that the demeanor of Porter the prisoner should guide our judgment (whether ethical, legal, or therapeutic) about Porter the child rapist?

Our myths about child molesters come more from the projections of what lies within our own inner psyches than from the truth about who these men are. In fact, they are often ineffectual men whose dysfunctional upbringing did not afford them the chance to learn and act like competent, empowered adults. Successful treatment programs often include modules on assertiveness training; they are empowered to forge strong relationships with other adults. Child molesters are not potent men.

Right. What the Church needs is Paul Shanley with assertiveness training.

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