Catholic sex ed programs haven’t fixed the abuse crisis. They’ve made it worse.
October 23, 2018 (The Wanderer) – Time To Clean House
Catholics in the United States have decided that things have to change, but they're not sure how to make it happen. We know that the bishops' reaction to the abuse-and-cover-up scandals has failed miserably for sixteen years. The faithful know it, and an increasing number of bishops are publicly admitting it. We can't sweep it under the rug this time around. But it's going to take time. We have to brace ourselves for a long, rough ride as investigations of chanceries nationwide reveal some very unlovely truths.
It won't be easy. Powerful factions in both the U.S. and the Vatican want to return to "business as usual," the sooner the better. Pope Francis certainly does. An increasing number of bishops both here and abroad oppose that notion, but we have to recognize that over sixty percent of American bishops who adopted the USCCB's "child protection" charter in 2002 were guilty of enabling abusers in some fashion. The culture of cover-up is still deeply engrained in the hierarchy, and either the bishops are going to change it, or it's going to be changed for them.
Many bishops are cooperating with state investigators, some even inviting them. No one knows what they will reveal, but there's no turning back. The results, whatever they are, should help to answer the question that the 2002 bishops declined to address in Dallas: what caused the scandals? When a bishop recommended they confront that question, his motion didn't even get a second. They didn't want to know.
We want to know.
And what we have learned in recent months has shed a helpful light on a few things we knew already.
The Virtus Virus
"In a little-noticed, single paragraph released May 15  on its website, the USCCB reversed the policy adopted by numerous dioceses across America that had subjected Catholic schoolchildren to mandatory 'sex-abuse-education' classes.
"New regulations issued May 15 by the U.S. bishops allow parents to remove their children from diocesan-sponsored training programs in child sex-abuse prevention," said the announcement from the Catholic News Service (CNS).
Was it merely happenstance that this announcement appeared on the very day that Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Washington's Theodore Cardinal McCarrick?
Cardinal McCarrick had been an outspoken supporter of those sex-ed programs. In fact, he had ordered all Catholic schools in his own archdiocese to expel any children whose parents removed them from the "Child Lures" program that had been mandatory before the May 15 announcement.
Parents nationwide were outraged that the USCCB insisted that secular "experts," and not parents, should teach their children – down to the age of five – how to avoid sex abuse. But McCarrick's control of the USCCB was apparently so pervasive that there was nothing parents could do.
We have known for years that McCarrick was the driving force behind the 2002 "charter." Undoubtedly he supported the charter's exemption of guilty bishops as well. He was also the driving force in requiring "safe environment" programs in every diocese.
Just where did these programs come from? Well, after the charter was adopted, chanceries turned to secular experts to run them, many with experience in secular organizations with anti-Catholic, pro-homosexual agendas. These experts quickly introduced programs like Virtus, "Child Lures" and "Bad Touch" that ignored the homosexual crimes that had caused the scandals, instead blaming the laity for clerical sex abuse.
That approach, however unfortunate, resonated nicely with the anti-Catholic views of the "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual, and Questioning" (GLBTQ) activists.
You've heard it a thousand times – the message is simple: "Homosexual rape is not the problem, homophobia is."
In McCarrick's Archdiocese of Washington, chancery officials quickly insisted that the clerical aspect of the scandals was a thing of the past. In early 2002, Washington Auxiliary Bishop Kevin Farrell flatly told members of the Order of Malta that the clerical abuse crisis was "over" (like most other bishops, he never mentioned the "cover-up" dimension of the scandals – and neither did the "safe environment" propaganda adopted under McCarrick's guiding hand).
Parental complaints about the programs were so numerous that the Catholic News Service report couldn't list them. "Parents in some dioceses have objected to such programs, saying the training constitutes sex education, which they feel is the primary responsibility of the parents," it said.
The tone reflected the condescension of the bishops. It implied that the laity should "pray, pay, and obey," and leave the rest to the bishops. But Catholic parents had not expressed their "feelings" about the mandatory programs. Rather, they were defending their right to educate their own children, a right guaranteed by countless magisterial documents.
Those parents were more correct than they knew. The Wanderer investigated Virtus and found that it had been developed by secular "experts." We asked Virtus program officials in Oklahoma if actively homosexual men could take the course and qualify to work with young boys. They assured us that they could – in fact, they could even become Virtus instructors!
Dioceses nationwide require the Virtus program as a prerequisite to volunteering for any parish activity where children are present. The program is a manipulative pro-sodomy propaganda tool to remind parents of the McCarrick Mantra: "Homosexuals aren't abusers, you are!"
Those days are over. Tell your pastor and your bishop that the pro-homosexual Virtus program has to go.
The Coming Unpleasantness
After the revelations of this past summer, the faithful are demanding the truth as never before. Yet we all know that only the bishops can make that happen, and a large number of them want to put this scandal behind them. As they said when they exempted themselves in 2002, "Only the pope can discipline us." The National Lay Board that they created with great fanfare couldn't touch them, and they knew it.
Well, what can the laity do? We have to work from the ground up.
Definitely write your bishop. If he has already demanded thorough investigations and reform, thank him. If he hasn't, politely but firmly request that he do. And always send a copy of your letter to your pastor. After all, many good priests have for years put up with active homosexual predators in the clergy – even since their seminary days – and they are as tired of them as we are. Some bishops are encouraging their colleagues to blame the scandals on "clericalism," and move on. Cardinal Cupich of Chicago, an appointee of Pope Francis who welcomes gays in his parishes, insists that sodomy is not at issue in homosexual rape. Many bishops support him.
The Wanderer has described the Deep State that thrives in chancery bureaucracies and the USCCB's Washington, DC headquarters. Those "social justice warriors" will do everything to keep your pro-family views from your bishop. Recently Cardinal O'Malley of Boston, the USCCB's point man on abuse, had to admit that three years ago his staff had hidden from him reports implicating McCarrick. The Deep State works hard to hide the truth.
How to get around this bureaucratic stonewall? A practical tip: get to know the priests who serve on your diocese's priests council or the diocesan deanery. Call them, or visit with them. You'll find that many will support you. They are the Church's official conduit to the bishop – copy them on your letters as well.
We must prayerfully commit ourselves to the long haul. Archbishop Viganò's revelations have met adamant opposition from the Vatican cadre that surrounds the pope – reports indicate that Viganò is in hiding and fears for his life.
The rot runs deep. We must insist that it be excised – or exorcised. Holy Mother Church is depending on us.
Published with permission from The Wanderer.