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Dr. Christian Spaemann

Opinion

The Church doesn’t need a stage-managed abuse summit. It needs to investigate its dioceses

Dr. Christian Spaemann

February 23, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The so-called Abuse Summit in Rome threatens to turn out to be a Liar’s Summit. Blase Cardinal Cupich, one of the organizers of the Summit, apparently thinks that he can gloss over the problem of homosexual networks among the clergy by a specious argumentative trick. Although 80% of the cases of abuse are “male on male,” he claims that homosexuality itself is not one of the causes. In view of the facts, this statement of the Cardinal’s seems slightly outrageous.

I do not mean to cast a general suspicion upon the motives of homosexuals who seek the priesthood. It cannot be denied that there are sincere and holy priests with homosexual inclinations. Nevertheless, it is necessary to take an honest look at the facts. Not only are cases of pedophilia and pederasty many times more common among homosexuals than among heterosexuals,1 but it is also significant that homosexual relationships are, statistically, highly fragile. According to studies carried out by homosexuals themselves, such relations last only one and a half years on average. Moreover, they are often accompanied by numerous passing sexual encounters outside of the relationship.2 This fragility or mutability results not only from a lack of complementarity between persons of the same sex, but also as experience shows, from a tendency that this form of sexuality has to function as a compensation mechanism that regulates self-esteem and identity. The existing data alone make it understandable why homosexual networks form in a way not seen in the context of heterosexuality.

According to recent studies only about 1.5% of men in the Western world consider themselves to be stable homosexuals, taken together with those who consider themselves bisexual, about 4.5% of men have a tendency to homosexual behavior.3 But more than 80% of abuse cases in the Church are homosexual. How can one look at those numbers and honestly conclude that the Church does not have a problem with homosexual conduct, or that such behavior does not have any causal relation to the scandal of abuse?

The problem of child abuse, which is to be the exclusive topic of the Abuse Summit, is thus only the tip of the iceberg. The dynamics of abuse proceed from homosexual networks, which have been able to spread unhindered within the clergy in recent decades. Whether this development is connected to the liberalization of sexuality in society and the Church in the post-conciliar period would have to be the subject of further research. Certainly, the Church has had to contend with similar problems in previous epochs. And homosexual networks also exist among traditionalist clergy. But what seems unique about the present moment and the current pontificate is that the most influential hierarchs in the Church seem to be disoriented or wrong oriented in their approach to the problem.

According to the teachings of the Church there are only two forms of sexual behavior that are compatible with the commandments of God and the dignity of the human person. On the one hand, sexual intercourse in the context of marriage between one man and one woman, and the other complete sexual continence. On this view the sexual lives of many Christians have been (and continue to be) wounded by sins such as masturbation, pornography, extramarital sexual intercourse, homosexual intercourse, and so on. But the Church has always known this, and she has centuries of experience in dealing with these sins in a patient and humane manner. She never had any need to relativize the Divine Commandments by declaring them an unrealizable ideal or to dissolve the sacramental order. Nor did she ever need the support of a purely social-psychological concept of inclusion (contrary to the teaching of St. Paul) for her own pastoral work (1 Cor 5:1-13), how this is propagated today by high authorities. But the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia changed all these things. The result is not more mercy, but more confusion. The Catholic Sacramental Order is a protection against presumption, sacrilege, and a lack of purposive orientation.  It presents a protection for the concerned faithful as for the pastoral caretaker who himself indeed has a certain scope in his pastoral work, without having to fear stepping over the border of respect for God's holiness and His Commandments when feeling pressed to administer the Sacraments to faithful who do not feel ready to change their lives.

What does the undermining of the Catholic Sacramental Order have to do with homosexual networks and the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church? There is to be found a simple answer: the decisive passages in Amoris Laetitia, in which the Catholic Sacramental Order is being undermined, do not only speak about the civilly remarried divorcees, but very generally about “irregular situations” (among others in AL 305). Why should heterosexual sexual relationships also not be included here? Why not also those among clergymen? Why not also those of clergymen who have the age of consent? There is a suspicion that the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia has been created in the context of an agenda which aims at the establishment in the Church of the so-called “sexual diversity.”

Amoris Laetitia, together with the underlying, decades-old heretical moral theology as it has been taught at the theological universities of the West, are the foundation for the lack of orientation – or defective orientation – when dealing with the above-described situation. To this picture fits the continuous passage of representatives of a liberal moral theology through the institutions of the Church. Therefore, it is not astonishing that, at a time where “sexual diversity” is being promoted, the natural family is being massively questioned; the problems of the Church with clerical homosexual abuse come more and more to the surface, and bishops in the highest ranks of the Church are being promoted who are openly in favor of a normalization of practiced homosexuality in the Church.

This just happened, for example, with the nomination of Cardinal Kevin Farrell as the Camerlengo of the Catholic Church. Cardinal Farrell lived for six years in one house together with Cardinal McCarrick and claims not to have known anything about his well-known sexual misconduct. It was he, Farrell, who – in clear opposition to the intentions of its initiator, John Paul II – actively opened up the last World Meeting of Families in Ireland to the LGBT community.

On this background, it appears only logical that, at the current meeting of all president of the bishops' conferences worldwide, the discussion of the abuse scandal is limited to the crimes against children, and that a discussion of its true background is to be avoided.

Here one is on the safe side. One also has a common ground with civil laws and thus does need to expose oneself to ridicule in the world by discussing the sexual morality of Jesus and His Church that is being considered outdated, even by prominent bishops and cardinals. Thereby, one can also protect oneself against a possible debate in the Church about Amoris Laetitia and its consequences. One rather panders to the prejudices against the Church when blaming a purported and little defined clericalism as the cause of this larger scandal. Thus, one can keep the course and adapt to the Zeitgeist. The laicization appears here to be a pawn sacrifice. But exactly this stonewalling of an honest debate about the topic of sexuality in the face of God, His Commandments, the holiness of the priesthood is the true clericalism in our time. It is a clericalism that tries to protect itself by carrying on about clericalism. It is a clericalism which – without having a mandate for it – puts its own ideology above the Church's teaching, which just loves to speak, but avoids to act. What the Church needs is not a summit on abuse in Rome that is being promoted with the help of the media, but the sending of commissars who, based on canon law, perform competent and just examinations in individual dioceses in the U.S. and in other countries and then, in the service of a renewal, to draw personal consequences.

Dr. Christian Spaemann is a specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapeutic medicine.

 

Footnotes:

1  Unabhängiger Beauftragter der deutschen Bundesregierung für Fragen des sexuellen Kindesmissbrauchs, Fakten und Zahlen zur sexuellen Gewalt an Kindern und Jugendlichen, 10-2017”. In accordance with the number of homosexuals in the general population, the abuse rate among boys should be among 1,5 % up to 4,5 %, but it is approximately 25 %.

Maria Xiridou et al.: "The contribution of steady and casual partnerships to the incidence of HIV infection among homosexual men in Amsterdam"; in: AIDS 2003; 17(7): 1029-1038.

Smith AM1, Rissel CE, Richters J, Grulich AE, de Visser RO., Sex in Australia: sexual identity, sexual attraction and sexual experience among a representative sample of adults; Aust N Z J Public Health. 2003;27(2):138-45.
Office of National Statistics, Integrated Household Survey April 2011 to March 2012: Experimental Statistics.
TNS Emnid: Presseunterlagen Eurogay-Studie „Schwules Leben in Deutschland“. Hamburg 2001.
Gary J. Gates, How many people are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender? The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, 2011.
Brian W. Ward; James M. Dahlhamer; Adena M. Galinsky; Sexual Orientation and Health Among U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2013; NHSR Number 77 - July 15, 2014

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