Featured Image
Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta Diane Montagna / LifeSiteNews

ROME, February 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Decades of widespread homosexuality in US seminaries had “nothing to do with the sexual abuse of minors,” a key organizer of the Vatican abuse summit said on Friday.

At today’s summit press briefing, LifeSite asked Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, adjunct secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and papal appointee to the summit’s organizing committee, a follow-up to a question posed yesterday by Italian journalist Sandro Magister. 

Magister had asked the Maltese archbishop on Thursday why the word “homosexuality” was completely absent from the summit’s opening day — particularly in light of the fact that over 80 percent of clerical abuse victims were post-pubescent boys.

Archbishop Scicluna responded by saying that “to generalize about categories of persons is never legitimate.” He added that both homosexuality and heterosexuality are “human conditions that we recognize, and that exist, but they aren’t something that really predisposes to sin.”

Today, LifeSite put the following question to Archbishop Scicluna:

Archbishop Scicluna, yesterday in response to Sandro Magister’s question, you spoke about the need — regarding homosexuality – not to categorize or generalize about categories of persons, and certainly this is true. I don’t think in anything that’s happened here anyone has suggested that people with homosexual tendencies equal people who are abusing [minors], and that should be clear. 

Nonetheless, as we saw in the United States, much of the abuse came out of decades of a subculture of homosexuality and sins of sodomy, if we want to call it that, in the seminaries. Now fortunately, in the US a lot of that has been cleaned up and the seminaries are making good progress in that. But in other parts of the world that’s not the case. In Honduras last year, in July, we had 50 seminaries writing to their Rector and to the Bishops to clean up the seminary. 

So just to clarify: while we shouldn’t generalize about categories of persons, do you think — and a wider question for the cardinals — do you all think that it’s important to address this sort of sin among the clergy which fosters coverup?

The element of coverup is particularly pertinent as the Vatican sex abuse summit was called due to growing public anger, particularly in the United States, over the McCarrick scandal and coverup, and a cascade of disturbing revelations from Argentina, Chile, Europe and the US. 

If there is a conspiracy of silence in regard to homosexual networks in the clergy, those persons who are involved in that conspiracy and also engage in the abuse of minors have an implied power of blackmail over other conspirators. Should one homosexual cleric wish to denounce another for his offenses against minors he might well hesitate for fear of suffering denunciation himself for his own moral transgressions with members of the same sex.

In the case of Theodore McCarrick, Catholics have been left wondering who knew about his misdeeds and how it was possible for him to ascend the episcopal ranks and be elevated to the College of Cardinals.  

At today’s summit briefing, Archbishop Scicluna responded to LifeSite’s question tersely, saying: “The simple [answer] is ‘yes’ but this has nothing to do with sexual abuse of minors.”

“I think you were very clear in your premise, and I’m very grateful for that,” he told LifeSite. “You cannot not address misconduct of that nature, which is sinful,” Scicluna said, “but this is not about the sexual abuse of minors.”

Cardinal Cupich and Cardinal O’Malley did not answer.

In comments to LifeSite, an informed source said of Scicluna’s remarks: “Having limited their meeting to minors only, they don’t in fact want to remove the causes of most of the abuse. This shows that there’s no real desire for transparency and credibility on their part. So spare us the mourning of victims.”

Earlier this week, Archbishop Scicluna also ingeniously argued that the question of the sexual abuse of seminarians (such as in the McCarrick case) would be dealt with by not being dealt with: that through concentrating on minors at the present summit, the participants would learn valuable lessons despite never dealing with the question of seminarians and other vulnerable adults.

At the same Feb. 18 press conference, Cardinal Cupich also denied any causal connection between homosexuality or a homosexual subculture and sexual abuse, even though he doesn’t deny that 80 percent of the abuse is same-sex — and even though the most extravagant estimates say that a mere 10 percent of the population is homosexually inclined, and more recent and systematic estimates would put it at an all-time-high of only 4.5 percent.  

He also placed the burden of proof on others and so by implication refused to investigate whether there is a tacit agreement among homosexual prelates to cover up such abuse.

The importance of addressing the question of coverup at all levels was pointed out at today’s summit briefing by CNN’s Delia Gallagher. Gallagher asked why Americans should trust summit organizers when the “reassuring face” of the crisis in 2002 was then-Cardinal McCarrick, who promised “zero-tolerance” when he himself was an abuser. 

Cardinal Cupich said in reply that he himself “had to be held accountable” and “takes seriously” his call to discipleship, while seeking to ensure that “we are supportive of each other to live the Gospel.”

But in response to these remarks, one observer said: “No one asked him to tell us anything about his personal conduct, but about why there’s no will to investigate who knew about McCarrick’s immoral conduct and when, and still supported his promotion.”

“Without clarifying this, it is clear that there is no desire for transparency,” the observer said.

Numerous observers at today’s press briefing saw in Archbishop Scicluna’s remarks a wall of silence being raised to any discussion about how homosexuality among the hierarchy may have influenced, or might still influence, the decision of prelates not to denounce one another.

In comments directed to summit organizers, one high-ranking official who spoke on condition of anonymity said: 

We have understood that you don’t want to talk about homosexuality, and the people of God have well understood why. If you say that you are in favor of transparency and clarity, your assembly should make a statement reasserting what is contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church about the condition of homosexuality, and its condemnation of the grave sin of sodomy. In the absence of this, it’s clear that you do not want transparency and that you have lost all credibility on the part of the faithful.