Relax -- the healing process is nearly complete.

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 19, 2004

Sunrise seen from 56th Street:

"The Catholic Church is going to be the safest place for children in the country sometime soon," says the Rev. Thomas Reese, editor of the Jesuit magazine America.

Soon, you say? Let's revisit the opinion of Fr. Stephen Rossetti of the St. Luke Institute, arguing that the reintegration of cooperative priest-molesters can be "healing" for us -- after all, our revulsion to them is largely a projection of our own irrational sexual anxieties:

In the 10 years in which Saint Luke Institute has treated over 300 priests who have sexually molested minors, we currently know of only 2 who have relapsed into child sexual abuse. While it is likely that there are others whom we do not know about, our experience to date suggests that it is improbable that a priest will relapse if he has done well in residential treatment, complied with our 5-year after-care program and engaged in ongoing supervision and outpatient treatment. ...

A Christian perspective suggests the need for society and church to take a reasoned response with an informed compassion and a willingness to delve into the complexities. But society hates and fears men who sexually abuse minors. We stereotype them; we claim they are all incorrigible; we wish to mark them as people not like ourselves. These men tap a deep well of fear and anger that goes beyond the facts of their crime. To reintegrate child molesters into our society will require us to face and overcome our own fears. To live in peace with child molesters will mean to let go of some of our own inner angers.

Perhaps their presence in society can ultimately be healing for us. They challenge us to face an unconscious and primal darkness within humankind. Our inability to face this darkness causes us to stereotype and banish all who embody our estranged dis-passions.

Published when? September 1995. Published where? America magazine.

Feel healed, yet?

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: opraem - Dec. 20, 2004 8:38 PM ET USA

    when is some bishop going to sue fr rossetti and the st luke institute for malpractice?

  • Posted by: - Dec. 20, 2004 10:35 AM ET USA

    Safety of children (and men, women, marriage, and society) is and will be the result of orthodox catechesis and evanglelization of the laity. Short of that, their pursuit of safe environments for children will be just another endless game of "Whack-a-Mole" -- pounding down the mole after it has popped up from the hole. It was the Benedictines, living the life of "Oro et Laboro", armed with the Rule and Tradition, who civilized the barbarians, not the Imperial marshall/therapy counselor.

  • Posted by: Andy K - Dec. 20, 2004 8:25 AM ET USA

    Could the revulsion many feel be a result of natural law instead of "stereotypes"?

  • Posted by: - Dec. 19, 2004 11:39 AM ET USA

    A Christian perspective suggests the need for society and church to take a reasoned response with an informed compassion and a willingness to delve into the complexities. What in heaven's sweet name does all of this mean? To paraphrase Churchill, never before have so many written so much to say so little.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 19, 2004 9:47 AM ET USA

    Ah, the psycho-babble that has crept into modern speech: words like "healing," "relapse," "reintegration," and (gag) "closure." Rather than conform the world to the Gospel, these guys twist the mission of the church to conform to the social "sciences." I crave the words of the Gospel: sin, death, redemption, faith, atonement, fasting, prayer, absolution, forgiveness, resurrection, and eternal life. Nothing has changed since St. Paul walked the earth.