On Friday, I mentioned that there was a secret meeting going on at the Vatican concerning the Scandal. On Saturday, John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter gave us his scoop. Although, the putative reason for the meeting was to discuss the handling of the Scandal within the Church, Allen’s source was most concerned with emphasizing that the officials in the meeting received the message “loud and clear” that homosexuality is not a cause of abuse and his hope that this would derail the expected Vatican document on homosexuals in the seminary.
According to one expert interviewed, homosexuality is only a risk factor. That doesn’t make it a cause, he claimed, just a common denominator among abusers, just as it is common for abusers to have started their pattern within five to seven years after ordination. It doesn’t mean that being out of seminary five to seven years is a cause.
I think that’s a bit disingenuous. Graduating seminary does not have a sexual connection, yet homosexuality does. And since homosexuality is a moral disorder anyway, why the desire to shunt it aside so quickly? An active homosexual, one who can’t suppress his desires, has a lot of other problems as a priest even if he is not an abuser of children or adolescents. What if they had found that a tendency to heterosexual fornication was a major risk factor? Wouldn’t it make sense to exclude such guys from the ordination since, that behavior, too, would prevent him from effective ministry?
Notice who the two American expert priests were: Fr. Steve Rosetti, president of the St. Luke’s Institute, the same institution that “treated” many of the abusers and sent them right back out as “cured” upon which they abused more kids, and in a 1995 America article he rejected calls to exclude pedophiles from ministry and urged they be allowed to return; and Fr. Canice Connors, a former president of St. Luke’s, who treated John Geoghan after the man had confessed to several incidents of abuse and in his spiritual assessment of Geoghan offered “no particular recommendations concerning his spiritual life since he is involved in spiritual direction and seems to have a good prayer life.” No particular recommendations to improve the spiritual life of a man raping children. This is a guy who is advising the Vatican on handling the sex abuse crisis. God help us.
By the way, notice the primary concern of Allen’s source here and Allen’s reporting. The first concern is not the handling of child abuse, but of the preservation of the status quo for homosexuals in the priesthood. We, too, should get the message “loud and clear.”