Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Healing what? Protecting whom?

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jun 24, 2005

Still mitred, am I not?

Remember when the apostles James and John, the sons of Zebedee, commissioned a post-Judas investigative report on the causes of treachery? Neither do I.

Bishops also agreed to spend up to $1.5 million from a $20 million endowment fund to partly fund a massive study on the causes of priestly sexual abuse. The USCCB hopes to raise the remainder of the cost of the study, slated to cost between $3 million and $5 million, from private foundations.

Is there a single Catholic on the planet -- and I include the bishops' own mothers in the question -- who really believes the purpose of this study is to discover -- and not to camouflage -- the causes of priestly sexual abuse? Bishop Howard Hubbard's private investigator charged him $2.4 million to come to the conclusion that allegations of sexual misconduct made against him had "no merit" -- and nobody laughed. Here too we can be sublimely confident that the scholars whom the bishops commission will find the principal "cause" of sexual abuse to be insufficient attention to the notions of the scholars whom the bishops commission. Expect multiple appendices detailing improved reporting procedures, seminary screening for doctrinal rigidity, and recipes for Rice Krispie Marshmallow Treats. In the same spirit of confidence, let me foretell some conclusions the researchers won't draw.

  • Apostolic pro-Nuncio Jean Jadot (1973-1980) significantly damaged the U.S. episcopacy by the appointment of young, gay-friendly bishops who formed a self-defense network still in force.
  • The institutional "occasion" of the crisis is not secrecy, but blackmail, in which secrecy is merely instrumental. A clergyman with dirt in his past -- whether hetero or homosexual in nature -- is blackmailable and incapable of acting against the crimes of other clergy except under duress.
  • Psychotherapists don't fix sins.
  • Too many individuals employed in priestly formation were and are in the business because they like to be around young men. This is not unconnected with the grossly defective instruction common in post-WW2 seminaries.
  • "Between men who want to have sex with adolescent boys and men who do not want to have sex with adolescent boys, the former are more likely to have sex with adolescent boys." (Richard Neuhaus)
  • Blackmail is not eradicated by systemic change or bureaucratic adjustment: firings (or firing squads) are necessary.

While Bishops Dupre and O'Connell are still refusing to testify about their own sexual abuse -- with their brethren at least tacitly consenting -- $1.5 million plus is going into the pockets of those who will almost certainly not tell us what Dupre and O'Connell can tell us about "the causes."

Trust restored, yet?

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