David Clohessy of Survivors Network of those abused by Priests responds in an op-ed to statements by Archbishop Patrick Flores of San Antonio. I don’t have Archbishop Flores’ original remarks so I can only comment on what Clohessy says.
Apparently, a couple of women sued the archdiocese and Fr. Michael Kenny for sexual abuse after they had sexual relationships with Kenny. The women were apparently adults and in full control of their faculties at the time. The women said the experience caused them a loss of faith. According to Clohessy, Archbishop Flores responded:
- “Sin always affects our faith, and they were sinning for all those years,” Flores said. “They were not babies. Why didn’t they tell us about it when it happened?”
I don’t know the context, but I suppose the archbishop could have phrased it little more pastorally. But I don’t necessarily disagree. If these women were indeed adults and engaged in consensual sex, they have some degree of culpability in it.
But for Clohessy, whenever a priest breaks his vows, he is the only one who does something wrong, unless his bishop can also be blamed. Yes, when the victim is a child, the priest is to blame because a child, by definition could never give consent. That’s why statutory rape laws apply even in cases like a teacher running off with his 16-year-old student who goes willingly. But when it’s an adult and there is consent, then that adult also bears some responsibility. I’m tired of the victim mentality of our culture, where everything bad that happens to us is always someone else’s fault. We must take some responsibility for our own actions.