Calling Doctor Greeley

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Mar 16, 2004

In the March 22 America (not available on-line), Andrew Greeley reacts to the John Jay Report:

Those who have blamed the abuse on celibacy now must face the fact that most celibates are not abusers. Those who blame it on homosexuality must face the fact that most gay priests are not abusers either. Neither hysterical faction, however, is likely to change its mind simply because of facts.

Say what?

Greeley himself concedes that 81% of the priest abusers were homosexuals. That's four cases out of every five. How high does the number have to climb before he admits there's an asymmetry here? Whose mind is resistant to the facts?

As for the celibacy question, I can't imagine what relevance Greeley thinks the John Jay data could have one way or the other -- beyond its aggregate shock value, of course. If you define celibate as "chaste," none of the abusers (by definition) was celibate; if you define celibate as "unmarried," all of them were.

One is reminded of the assurance of USCCB spokesman Sr. Mary Ann Walsh -- in the wake of the January 2000 Kansas City Star series -- that a majority of active priests have not died of AIDS, whence the calls for reforming priestly formation were an over-reaction. If you find a problem with her reasoning, you probably belong to a hysterical faction also.

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