Maike Hickson

Cardinal Gerhard Muller
Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Diane Montagna/LifeSiteNews

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Cardinal Müller: Blaming sex abuse crisis on ‘clericalism’ is an insult to victims

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January 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- Cardinal Gerhard Müller – the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – has written, upon request from LifeSiteNews, a commentary on the sharp rejections of Cardinal Walter Brandmüller's recent statements concerning the clerical sex abuse crisis and its link to homosexuality. While Müller rejects the idea of holding all homosexuals responsible for the sexual abuse crisis, he does insist that “the fact cannot remain ignored that more than 80 percent of the (sexual abuse) victims are of the male sex.”

The German cardinal also rejects the idea that the abuse crisis has been caused by “celibacy or purported ecclesial power structures,” and points out that “the offenders have committed homosexual crimes.” Thus, these abuses are not “abuses of power,” but, rather, power is being used in order to gratify one's disordered sexual desires. Müller states: “However, when an adult or superior sexually assaults someone who is entrusted to his care, his 'power' is only the means (though also abused) for his evil deed, and not its cause.” There then is indeed “a double abuse, but one may not confuse the cause of the crime with the means and occasions for its implementation in order to unload the very personal guilt of the offender onto the circumstances or to 'the' society, or to 'the' Church.” Since there is also much sexual abuse taking place outside of the Church's structures, Cardinal Müller points out that it is actually an abuse of those victims outside of the Catholic Church when pointing to power structures as the real cause of that abuse: “To babble on here of clericalism or of Church structures as the cause (of sexual abuse), is an insult of the many victims of sexual abuse (outside the Catholic Church) by persons who have nothing to do with the Church and clergymen,” he explains.

The following is the full statement of Cardinal Gerhard Müller:

When a clergyman commits the crime of sexual abuse of an adolescent, the ideologues are not hesitant to accuse priests in general or “the” Church – as they say – in a theologically uninformed way. This is the only case where it is still permitted to generalize in a reckless way, and even to present gleefully their phantasies of a collective guilt. When an Islamicist commits an act of terror, it is exactly the same people – with their dull prejudices against celibacy and against the despised moral teaching of the Church – who acquit Islam of any complicity and who – justly so – defend the majority of peaceful Muslims.

In a similar fashion, one may not make responsible “the” foreigners for the crime of one individual, just as one may not accuse “the” priests generally for the crime of one person who also belongs to that same  profession.
Why do the ideologues not come to the simple idea that one may not, in a generalizing fashion, lay the guilt of one individual at the feet of the family, a profession, a nation, or the religious community of the criminal?

When analyzing sexual abuse of minors committed by Catholic clergymen, the fact cannot remain ignored that more than 80 percent of the victims are of the male sex. Nothing is going to be made better by denying the facts or by vaguely insinuating that “the” homosexuals – to whomever one might hereby refer – are being held accountable for all the sexual abuse, just as it is nonsense to hold accountable “the” priests for it as a group.

It also has nothing to do with celibacy or purported ecclesial power structures, but, rather, with the fact that the offenders have committed homosexual crimes. There does not exist the “homosexual” as a specific type of man, but, rather, there exist men with a same-sex attraction – independently of the moral assessment of homosexual acts.

The homosexual organizations and ideologies do not represent the interests of those people who affirm, within the Christian Faith, the Church's moral teaching in this matter. The personal witness of a concerned man, Daniel Mattson, and his highly qualified book Why I Don't Call Myself Gay (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2017), is far superior to all of the homosexual propaganda and to the self-righteous orchestration of the “progressive” Catholics. However, the arrogance with which each one of those who does not follow the homophilic ideology is being exposed to contempt, as a homophobic underling (“Untermensch”), deserves now the opposition of every just and upright man.

Sexual abuse has its foundation in the immoral exercise of the sexual instinct. The male and female sexuality is intrinsically good because it has been implanted into the bodily nature of man by the Creator and because it predisposes him to a marriage between a man and a woman. The abuse of this sexuality is called the sin against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue.

However, when an adult or superior sexually assaults someone who is entrusted to his care, his “power” is only the means (though also abused) for his evil deed, and not its cause. It is indeed about a double abuse, but one may not confuse the cause of the crime with the means and occasions for its implementation in order to unload the very personal guilt of the offender onto the circumstances or to “the” society, or to “the” Church.

A priest is given the spiritual authority “in order to build up, not to tear down” (2 Cor. 10:8). The offender's will for sexual gratification is the cause of the violation of the physical and emotional intimacy of a person entrusted to him. To babble on here of clericalism or of Church structures as the cause (of sexual abuse), is an insult of the many victims of sexual abuse (outside the Catholic Church) by persons who have nothing to do with the Church and clergymen. (They, too, are the victims of people using them for their own disordered sexual gratification.)

He is himself acting in an immoral manner who uses this occasion in order to hold responsible for these grave sins against God and men not the offenders themselves, but, rather, celibacy, the Catholic moral teaching and the sacramental constitution of the Church. He does so, in part, because he presents all priests and religious – who have voluntarily chosen this way of life which is in accordance with the Gospels and who, on a daily basis, give their very best in the pastoral care – as being potential sexual abusers and thus exposes them to the omnipresent suspicion and public discrimination. Just as celibacy is not the cause for its violation and defiance, marriage, too, is not responsible for the sin against it; the same applies to the Commandment to honor one's parents which may not properly be accused of being the cause of their own culpable neglect.

 

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Maike Hickson

Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli, Catholicism.org, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana, Katholisches.info, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.