March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews published yesterday, Kazakhstan Bishop Athanasius Schneider listed the root causes of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. Speaking with LifeSite’s Diane Montagna in Rome after his recent meeting with Pope Francis, Bishop Schneider said that for a huge problem like the abuse crisis “we always have to go to the deepest root, as every good doctor and physician does.”
Here is his presentation of the four roots of the crisis and his explanation.
#1 Homosexuality among the clergy
One of the evident, observable and deepest roots of the sexual abuse of minors is homosexuality among the clergy. Of course, I will not say that all homosexuals are necessarily abusing children. This would be unjust and untrue. But we are speaking about clerical abuse in the Church, and so we have to focus on this illness.
It has been proven that more than 80 percent of victims were post-pubescent males. It is therefore evident that the nature of the majority of this abuse involved homosexual acts. We have to stress that this is one of the main roots.
#2 Relativism of doctrine
The other main root of the abuse crisis is the relativism on moral teaching which began after the Second Vatican Council. Since then, we have been living in a deep crisis of doctrinal relativism, not only of dogmatics but also of morals — the moral law of God.
Morals were not taught clearly in seminaries over the past 50 years; it was often not clearly taught in Seminaries and Theological faculties that a sin against the sixth commandment is a grave sin. Subjectively there may be mitigating circumstances, but objectively it is a grave sin. Every sexual act outside a valid matrimony is against the will of God. It offends God and is a serious sin, a mortal sin.
This teaching was so relativized… We have to stress this… the relativism of moral teaching, specifically on the sixth commandment.
#3 A lack of ascesis in seminaries
Another deep cause is the lack of a true, serious and authentic formation of seminarians. There was a lack of ascesis in the life and formation of seminarians.
It has been proven by two thousand years, and by human nature, that without physical ascesis like fasting, praying, and even other forms of corporal mortifications, it is impossible to live a constant life in virtue without mortal sin. Due to the deep wound of original sin and the concupiscence still at work in every human being, we need corporal mortification.
St. Paul says: “Make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (Rom. 13:14) We can paraphrase these words, saying: do not nurture your flesh too much or concupiscence will dominate you. And this is exactly what often happened in seminaries. Seminarians and priests nurtured the flesh through a comfortable life without ascesis, without fasting and other bodily and spiritual mortifications.
#4 Above all the absence of a deep and true love for Christ
But to me, the deepest cause of the clerical sex abuse crisis is the lack of a deep and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When a seminarian or a priest does not have a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ, in constant fidelity to a life of prayer and really enjoying a personal love for Jesus, he is easy prey for the temptations of the flesh and other vices.
Furthermore, when you have a deep and personal love of Christ, you cannot deliberately commit a horrendous sin. Occasionally, because of the weakness of human nature, a priest or seminarian could commit a mortal sin against purity. But in the same moment, he is deeply repentant and decides to avoid the next sin at any cost. This is a manifestation of a true love of Christ. But it is for me completely excluded that a person who deeply loves Christ can sexually abuse minors. It is for me impossible. In my opinion, a deep love of Christ excludes this.