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U.S. bishops’ report reaffirms link between clerical abuse scandals and homosexuality

Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A new report from the U.S. Bishops on the clergy sex abuse scandal highlights the importance of Vatican guidelines barring men with "deep-seated homosexual intendencies" from the priesthood.

While the clerical sex abuse has often been described as pedophilia to denote prevalence of prepubescent victims, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' 2016 annual report, released last week, shows the clear link with the problem of homosexuality in the priesthood.

According to the report, 78 percent of the victims are male. And when the age of the victim was determined, only 15 percent were under age 10.

The report confirmed as well that this year’s findings were "similar to those reported for year 2015," where 81 percent of the victims were male. The 2013 report showed the number of male sex abuse victims at 80 percent.

The numbers support direction from the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI and other high-ranking prelates that the admission of homosexual men to the priesthood conflicts with Church principles.

The USCCB Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and its National Review Board issue the report each year after completion of an audit of U.S. dioceses and eparchies. The audit assesses compliance with the USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, developed by the Bishops at their first meeting after the scandal first broke in 2002.

The U.S. Bishops had also commissioned the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to study the clergy sex abuse crisis.

The first John Jay study was released in 2004. Titled The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States 1950-2002, it stated that “overall, 81 percent of victims were male … ”

This statistic was reaffirmed in the 2011 John Judy report, The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010. That report said as well: “A very small percentage of the priests who had allegations of abuse were motivated by pathological disorders such as pedophilia.”

The 2011 report also refuted the popular assertion that the clerical sex abuse crisis could be attributed to the all-male priesthood and priestly celibacy. Among its data were statistics pointing to adult male sexual predators gravitating toward institutional roles providing them access to victims.

The USCCB initially acknowledged the issue of homosexuality in the priesthood, as ChurchMilitant reported.

In 2004, its National Review Board had stated that although the sex abuse crisis had no single cause, “an understanding of the crisis is not possible” without reference to “the presence of homosexually oriented priests.” The board had cited the data that “eighty percent of the abuse at issue was of a homosexual nature.”

Further, Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a member of the National Review Board, also clearly spelled it out.

McHugh said in an August 2006 National Catholic Register editorial that the John Jay study had revealed a crisis of “homosexual predation on American Catholic youth.”

But even as its John Jay studies indicated a clear prevalence of homosexual behavior in the abuse priest sex abuse crisis, the findings have been otherwise interpreted and the homosexual element unstated by the USCCB after the initial report.

“No single ‘cause’ of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests is identified as a result of our research,” the 2011 John Jay report summarized. “Social and cultural changes in the 1960s and 1970s manifested in increased levels of deviant behavior in the general society and also among priests of the Catholic Church in the United States.”

Despite the absence of any clear statement of such, the high percentage of male victims of the clerical sex abuse crisis shown statistically in the USCCB’s annual reports directly concur with a series of Vatican documents and statements by senior prelates regarding admission of homosexual males to Catholic seminaries.

A December 2016 document from the Vatican Congregation for Clergy reaffirmed that men with homosexual tendencies should not be considered for the priesthood.

“Those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture'" are not to be admitted to seminaries or be ordained as priests, according to The Gift of the Priestly Vocation.

In reaffirming this prohibition, the Congregation for Clergy also cites the 2005 Congregation for Catholic Education’s document Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.

The 2005 document reaffirmed Church teaching that homosexual tendencies are objectively disordered and that individuals who experience them are to be accepted with respect and sensitivity.

However, the document states, the Dicastery “believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called "gay culture."

A 1961 document produced by the Sacred Congregation for Religious stated: “Those affected by the perverse inclination to homosexuality or pederasty should be excluded from religious vows and ordination,” because priestly ministry would place such persons in “grave danger.”

The late Cardinal George of Chicago had told the bishops conference in 2005 that per the teaching of the Church, homosexuals are not to be ordained into the priesthood.

The late Bishop John D’Arcy, then of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese in Indiana, spoke in 2004 against admitting homosexual men to the seminary, pointing out the impracticality of placing men with same-sex inclinations in seminary with other men.

In 2002, Cardinal Jorge Estevez of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments stated, “Ordination to the deaconate and the priesthood of homosexual men or men with homosexual tendencies is absolutely inadvisable and imprudent and, from the pastoral point of view, very risky. A homosexual person, or one with a homosexual tendency is not, therefore, fit to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.”

Pope Benedict had approved the 2005 Congregation for Education document on admitting men to the priesthood.

In 2010, the Holy Father emeritus had told Peter Seewald in the book “Light of the World” that even if homosexuality were innate, it would not make the behavior morally acceptable. 

To the question of the existence of homosexuality in monasteries and among priests, the Holy Father said, “Well, that is just one of the miseries of the church. And the persons who are affected must at least try not to express this inclination actively.” 

“This is a point we need to hold firm,” stated Pope Benedict, “even if it is not pleasing to our age.”

This approach was sharply contrasted when in 2013 Pope Francis infamously stated regarding a Vatican Curia priest accused of homosexual activity, “Who am I to judge?”

The remark continues to embolden homosexual activists worldwide.

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