Sexploits and crisis: Is it 2002 revisited?

The current drama of Hollywood stars, media types, athletes and politicians is the fruit of the hyper-sexualization of society as a whole for decades at every level.

(Daniil Vnoutchkov @daniilvnoutchkov/Unsplash.com)

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have been bombarded in recent weeks by daily reporting of the sexploits of the rich and famous, which disclosures coincide with the fifteenth anniversary of similar reporting about the clergy sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. Permit me to reflect on both phenomena.

Blame and anger
As clergy sex abuse revelations were emerging with nerve-wracking regularity during what the late Father Richard John Neuhaus dubbed “the long Lent” of 2002, several elements formed what might be called a composite picture. With the older priests, it was generally a case of a formation which took no account of one’s sexuality, assuming that priests were as asexual as angels. With the younger brethren, it was almost universally a case of bad (no, let’s call it by its right name, “heretical”) moral theology taught in the seminaries of the sixties and seventies (to which theology I was subjected). The vast majority of the accused lived alone or were “loners”. In the cohort of younger priests, again, heretical views in ecclesiology had been presented, as well as little to no exposure to the meaning and dignity of the priesthood, so that one would never want to bring shame to the Church or one’s holy vocation (once more, I lived through such “formation” or lack thereof). In other words, sinful and shameful behavior was inevitable; the great miracle is that so few men actually succumbed – a fact rarely if ever acknowledged by the media. Consult the John Jay study for further documentation. Presently we have the media darling, Jesuit Father James Martin, serving as the spokesman for the very positions that got us into the mess, to begin with.

Now, as to how bishops handled the problem. In short order, it became eminently clear that the cases coming to the fore were not instances of pedophilia; rather, they were homosexual acts engaged in by priests with young men (post-pubescent teens). I advised numerous bishops not to refer to these acts as pedophilia – because, in the vast majority of cases, they were not. Calling them by a wrong name was inaccurate, misleading and bound to reap the whirlwind. Truth be told, if they had been labeled as homosexual, most media outlets would have buried the stories, lest they be accused of “gay bashing.”

It is certainly true that the main source of public anger stemmed from the fact that bishops shuttled abusing priests from assignment to assignment. And here, I have some degree of sympathy for bishops. Why? Because they were told by “professionals,” that is, psychologists and psychiatrists, that these men had been rehabilitated and were apt candidates for reintegration into active ministry. Bishops were caught between a rock and a hard spot. Many of them doubted that true rehabilitation had occurred or was even possible; their instinct told them not to return such offenders to public ministry. On the other hand, had they not followed the counsel of the “professionals,” they would have been pilloried in the media as prime examples of a backward, medieval, science-denying institution.

Where bishops cannot be excused is how so many priests were treated. All too often, an accusation was treated as fact. In not a few cases, priests exonerated by civil authorities were nonetheless declared guilty by bishops and/or diocesan review boards. Many bishops threw priests under the bus by agreeing to financial settlements without the knowledge and consent of the priests in question, thus exposing these men to the appearance of guilt (why else dole out thousands or even millions of dollars?). Yet again, such episcopal behavior came about due to the advice of lawyers and insurance companies – with the result that the reputation of clergy and the patrimony of a diocese were wrecked. Violating the legal axiom of “testis unus, testis nullus” (one witness is no witness), a simple accusation of a single individual was deemed valid. Equally problematic was the refusal of the hierarchy as a whole to fight fire with fire by suing those who had made false accusations – and even forbidding priests from suing to vindicate their own good name. Likewise, eliminating the statute of limitations in church law was an egregious error; ironically, though, dioceses fought tooth and nail against eliminating the statute of limitations in civil law! In short, hysteria prevailed.

I am writing this editorial shortly after the death of Cardinal Bernard Law, a churchman who, unfortunately, is totally identified with missteps of his in regard to clergy abuse. He was a leader in the civil rights struggle, a promoter of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, the man most responsible for Pope John Paul’s decision to commission a catechism, a staunch defender of Catholic orthodoxy. Truth be told, as Phil Lawler points out in a recent First Things essay, Cardinal Law did nothing different from many bishops in the country:”Law was not unique—nor even unusual—in his approach…” Law was merely the scapegoat. As a matter of fact, he did nothing different from every other entity in society. I hope that God’s judgment of him is more just than that of so many human beings.

Hollywood and Humanae vitae
Now a new round of hysteria is in evidence. Not a few of the current accusations in society-at-large border on the absurd. A media mogul invites you to his hotel room at ten o’clock at night to discuss your bright future. Did you really think you were going to be praying the rosary there? A congressman opens his office door in his underwear. Did you really think he wanted you to pick up his slacks at the cleaner’s?

The legitimate accusations, on the other hand, should come as no surprise. The current drama of Hollywood stars, media types, athletes and politicians is the fruit of the hyper-sexualization of society as a whole for decades at every level. As I have written before, when the Catholic Church of the fifties and sixties counseled against suggestive language and jokes or “dirty” books and magazines and movies, the Church was ruthlessly mocked as being grossly out of step with modernity. In the present moment, a puritanism is surfacing which will make the Catholic approach of an earlier era look permissive. Further, when Blessed Paul VI in Humanae Vitae warned that a contraceptive mentality would bring in its wake the degradation of women, along with a rise in fornication and adultery, he was classified as a Cassandra. In 1981, St. John Paul II, in his landmark document, Familiaris Consortio, offered the antidote: “. . . husbands and wives should first of all recognize clearly the teaching of Humanae Vitae as indicating the norm for the exercise of their sexuality and they should endeavor to establish the conditions necessary for observing that norm” (n. 34).

It is perversely humorous to recall that clerical sex abuse was blamed on celibacy. How many of the current crop of the accused are celibate or even know what that means?

When priests sought legal assistance from their dioceses, they were told it would be unseemly for the diocese to assist them; they were on their own. We now discover that the Congress of the United States has had a slush fund all along to provide funding on behalf of accused members of Congress both for legal assistance and compensation for accusers.

Self-righteous Hollywooders currently express amazement and disgust at what has been uncovered. Really? Hollywood has had a reputation for licentiousness as far back as my boyhood – and they have certainly produced every kind of filth imaginable for decades. The advertising industry has also promoted smut for years on end. As I write, Dolce & Gabbana has a commercial in which a woman is undressing a man. Is this not dehumanizing? Is this not making someone an object of one’s passions? A new film, a winner at the Cannes film festival, “Call Me by My Name,” glorifies a relationship between an adult male and a teenage boy. IMDB (International Media Data Base) proffers this bland assessment: “In Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father’s research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape.” Other reviews are even effusive about it all.

Indeed, the Catholic psychiatrist Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons has opined on this matter based on years of observation of patients demonstrating what he terms “sexually aggressive behaviors” (SAB). He concludes that “this personality disorder is widespread in our time and results in the belief that one has the right to use others as sexual objects.” He regards this reality as “definitely of epidemic proportions.” How has this happened? The leading cultural factor in this epidemic is the media – particularly television shows and movies whose goals are celebrating sexual ‘freedom.’ Hostility toward Judaeo-Christian morality among politicians, educators, celebrities and public figures is also a contributing factor to SAB.”

Who’s obsessed with sex?
How pervasive is this problem? Allow me to share but four of many possible anecdotes from my personal experience.

A few years ago, I was on a shuttle bus to Newark Airport. A family of husband, wife and three children boarded. Apparently the thirteen-or-so-old boy was not enamored of the trip to Florida for a winter vacation. The father tried to improve his attitude by saying, “Hey, kid, listen: You’ll be able to find all kinds of hot girls there. You won’t want to leave!” Seeing me across the aisle, the father said, “Well, padre, you know how kids are today!” To which, I responded, “My problem is not with the kids but with their parents.” The response of silence was deafening.

A mother approached me with great concern and fear that her daughter was a lesbian, and she wanted to send the girl to a therapist (the father opposed the plan). Naturally, I asked what made her think that. “She’s the only girl in her class who doesn’t have a steady boyfriend.” “I would thank God for that, if I were you,” I replied. “How old is she?” I inquired. “She’s in third grade,” came the response. “Ah, I agree that psychotherapy is indicated. For you, not for her!”

An eighty-year-old woman confessed adultery – the one and only time of her sixty-year marriage. “Why would you want to ruin such a wonderful record of fidelity?” asked I. “Well, Father, when my grand-daughter tells me about all her sexual experiences, I begin to regret everything I have missed out on.” And these are the people that Pope Francis tells us whom young people ought to be consulting and emulating!

For a number of years, I was the “go-to” guy for Larry King. Whenever he had some Catholic deviant scheduled, he had me come on to provide “the Catholic response.” One day, Larry said, “What’s with the Catholic Church’s hang-up on sex?” I replied that I was unaware of any. He pressed: “The Catholic Church is obsessed with sex.” I thought it was important to provide an intelligent rejoinder. “Larry,” I asked, “have I ever asked to be on your show?” “No.” “When asked to be on, did I ever suggest a topic?” “No.” “I have been on six or seven times to date. For the first show, we had a Jesuit womanizer from Los Angeles, who was expelled from his order. The second show featured a Jesuit psychiatrist who was a dissenter from Church teaching on same-sex relations and who revealed that he had been living with his male lover for years. On the third show, we heard about the former Archbishop of Atlanta and his long-term relationship with a woman. The fourth show highlighted a Michigan priest who had been secretly married to a woman. Who’s obsessed with sex?” Silence.

With all the sectors of society being dragged out of their closets of sexual aberrations, bishops and Catholics in general ought to offer society-at-large our experience of how to deal with this epidemic (after all, out of roughly 48,000 priests in our nation, fewer than a dozen accusations surfaced last year). Of course, the untouchables to this moment have been public school teachers, who have been shuffled around school districts for decades. In New York City, a credibly accused teacher is not fired; he or she is sent to “the rubber room” to record attendance figures, all the while collecting the same salary. Lest we forget, all too many accused priests were given two hours to vacate their rectories and often left penniless (until not a few bishops decided to bribe them with a few thousand dollars into seeking laicization, so as to make the problem go away).

What now?
One of the mandates given Pope Francis by the cardinals who elected him was to deal with clerical sex abuse around the world. His handling of the situation has been underwhelming. Bishops who have protected errant priests have been promoted by him; priests who had been laicized were reactivated by the Pope (who eventually had to be re-laicized!). Members of the pontifical commission for the protection of minors have resigned because of his ambivalent signals.

With all the above said, what some people have failed to understand is that abuser-priests (like all other abusers) come from sick families and a sick society. What can and should be done by committed believers? Speak out against the sexualization of every aspect of life. Insist on public portrayals of children and adults as subjects, not objects for self-gratification. Promote and defend the tried and true Christian view of marriage, family and sexuality. Live those norms yourself.

About Peter M.J. Stravinskas 72 Articles
Reverend Peter M.J. Stravinskas is the editor of the The Catholic Response, and the author of over 500 articles for numerous Catholic publications, as well as several books, including The Catholic Church and the Bible and Understanding the Sacraments.

47 Comments

  1. Looking at all of the available public records of the Church sex-abuse cases – male on male contact in more than 91% of those accused- and taking a look at the people who comprised the seminary boards in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, the homosexual aspect is the elephant in the room.

    Rarely spoken of but much appreciation to the Reverend Peter M.J. Stravinskas for not only speaking of it but for an excellent column on the root causes of our progressive sexual license.

  2. Spot on, Father.
    And a bit more closer to Rome, the recent incident at a Vatican residence of the “party” of loud, naked men fueled with coke and booze and (maybe) boys. The party hosted by a Monsignor, an assistant to an inner circle Cardinal of the pope. Is the good Monsignor still in his detox facility? What were the repercussions of this abomination to all involved?
    I should not kid myself. Nothing has happened. Crickets. Nada. And that is exactly where we are, dear pewsitters

  3. Father Stravinskas,

    Thank you for devoting your life to Christ and His bride. Two Chesterton quotes come readily to mind after your wise and truth filled counsel. The first, “ the moment sex ceases to be a servant it becomes a tyrant. “ The second, “ many critics say that confessing is a morbid thing; but to him it is a morbid thing to keep things secret within you and let it eat away at your soul. “

    God Bless and Merry Christmas!
    Jim Gill

  4. Much the best analysis I have read on this issue. The Church was right in the 50s and 60s. Then — silence. The result is that Catholics, who should be counter-cultural and the “leaven in the mass” are indistinguishable from the general — and non-Christian — culture. Father Stranvinskas, you are an exception to the silence. Thank you.

    • I totally agree with your estimate of Father Stravinskas’ article, but I take a different view of the Church in the ’50s & ’60s. Its doctrines were right then as now, but its policies were perhaps implemented for some of the wrong reasons. “Family values” were not counter-cultural at the time. Patriotism was perhaps thought totally compatible with Catholicism and that love of country was perhaps conflated with admiration for government policies. The Church was not as socially despised as it had been, so lay and clergy alike perhaps tended to be a bit smug, a bit careless. The Catholics who went wild in the ’60s (I was there; it began then.) were products of those supposedly halcyon times.

  5. Thank you Fr. Stravinskas for your courageous article. In citing my article, a point of clarification is that the personality disorder that fueled the 2002 and the present sexual crisis is narcissism, profound selfishness (
    https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2017/12/…/about-our-epidemic-of-sexual-aggressio…)

    Rather than addressing this major cause of the use of others as sexual object and of divorce, chapter eight of Amoris Laetitia supports narcissistic thinking by its allegiance to situational ethics. http://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/psychiatrist-amoris-laetitia-is-a-grave-threat-to-families.-john-paul-ii-go

  6. Thanks, Father, for still applying your well-balanced Catholic knowledge and reason to current predicaments. One cavil: Blessed Pope VI was indeed a Cassandra in the original sense of the word. He was doomed to prophesy correctly–and to be disbelieved.

  7. You have to feel for all those people who left the Church because of the clerical sex abuse scandal. Now they can’t even go to the movies!

    • I must say that I have never encountered a single person who left the Church because of the clergy abuse situation. Indeed, my experience is that anyone who left around that time, used the “crisis” as the excuse for a departure that had taken place psychologically years before. Surely, that was the case in Ireland as well.
      On the other hand, I have met hundreds who left the Church because of horrific liturgical experiences and heresies taught from the pulpit or in the classroom — yet we hear nothing about that crisis.

      • Thank you for your excellent article. As a result of abuse by a priest, I did not officially leave the church but went from being a young person on the liturgy committee of my parish to attending only on Christmas and Easter. I did not sue the church if that needs to be said. That abuse launched a lot of religious exploration but also bad behavior on my part from our Cathoiic point of view which also hurt other people. Fourteen years later I did respond to the Holy Spirit to come back to the church and 18 years after the abuse I was back to regular Mass attendance. It took more than 40 years after the abuse to more fully realize the impact the abuse had. I thank one priest in particular for his very patient listening and offering very wise counsel. And I thank the Holy Spirit for granting insights about what happened and its impact on my life.

        • Welcome home. Your account of the healing that God can bring about—though a long and painful journey—is the only uplifting note in this sad saga being discussed. It is a bright light in the enveloping darkness. Thank you for your generosity in sharing it.

  8. Except for his recommendations at the very end, it was a very good article. But he writes, “What can and should be done by committed believers? Speak out against the sexualization of every aspect of life. Insist on public portrayals of children and adults as subjects, not objects for self-gratification.”

    Really? This is the timeworn, tried and untrue advice that has gotten us nowhere for the past sixty years and more: Write to the producers, write to the advertisers, write to the FCC… and on and on. We did that. It did not work.

    Think about the premise that underlies this recommendation. Please Mr. Producer, Mr. Advertiser, Mr. Network Executive, do not stream your hyper-sexualized content into our homes. Please do not corrupt and seduce us, for we are too weak to throw you out of our lives altogether. You see, we are used to sitting in front of the TV x hours a day, addicted really ( I am sure you understand), and can hardly be expected to shut it off or throw it out of our lives altogether. You have us right where you want us, neutralized Christians who will buy an ever bigger entertainment center every few years all the while complaining about the culture that you into our own homes, and then we will run out to buy whatever product you are flogging and and absorb the values that you push. The Catholics who applauded the priest who recently revealed that he is homosexual have minds that are your creation. Surely you must realize that

    As far as I am concerned Father’s advice is very much part of the problem. Never, and I mean never, have I ever heard a Catholic priest, bishop, cardinal or pope suggest that we Catholics throw the secularizing media out of homes altogether. It is a total failure of leadership. Great leaders such as Napoleon, Pershing, Eisenhower, Jesus Christ, are not shy about asking the supreme sacrifice of their followers, but ours cannot even ask us something as reasonable as smashing our television sets and sending the pieces to our media seducers. The result of this criminal silence and the bad example we as a Church have set for our spouses, children, neighbors, society as a whole, is the hyper-sexualized society we see all around us. If we are supposed to be the lantern set on a lampstand to give light to the world, then our dimness is responsible for ALL the moral darkness we see around us, not excluding Harvey Weinstein, Dustin Hoffman, etc. What kind of example did we give them? An example of almost total compliance with what St. Paul calls the old man.

    We have yet to grasp that the entertainment industry is essentially a two trick pony: sex and violence. Suppose we take Fr. Stravinkas’s advice seriously, when he says, “Speak out against the sexualization of every aspect of life. Insist on public portrayals of children and adults as subjects, not objects for self-gratification.”

    We know what they will do, because we have been through this before. They will soft- pedal sex and and emphasize violence. Then some media critic will react in horror and say, “Enough of the violence, bring back sex, please!” And on and on.

    No, Father does not ask nearly enough. We have to get secularizing media out of our homes altogether, and then we will see clearly enough to remove the splinter from the eye of sexual predators and media moguls.

  9. The recommendations we offered for the 2002 crisis in our psychological analysis of the (homosexual) sexual abuse of youth (adolescent males) by clergy are even more timely today given the aggressive attempts to normalize homosexuality by those in the Church, including in the Vatican.

    “Also, priests and seminarians with deep-seated homosexual tendencies have a serious responsibility to pursue appropriate treatment and spiritual direction in order to protect adolescent males, in particular, and the Church from further damage.”

    http://priestlyhealing.com/sites/default/files/images/Linacre-SexAbuseByClergy.pdf

    Also, here is the direct link to my article on sexually aggressive behavior.
    https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2017/12/16/about-our-epidemic-of-sexual-aggression/

  10. Sex sells, and it’s the “American way”. The rise of the “American Catholic church” following the American misinterpreted of Vatican II, left “Romanism” far behind. It seems American Jesuit education has also had it’s influences in the Vatican. Thus God springs a new Romanism in Africa and other countries who send missionaries to America.

  11. Brilliant article! Also very pleased with the observation of the “under-reporting” of NYC Public Schools although I have read some stats from that school system with regards to teacher child abuse, its shocking. I am a life-long Boston resident and member of a parish that had a former priest that I knew, that make headlines with his abusive behavior with one young boy. He fooled his Pastor, his parish, his own family with this hidden side, that he is homosexual. One other note, I worked at the newspaper that broke this story and produced the Spotlight stories highlighting and escalating the crisis and I did notice that the Catholic Church was the only target in this investigation as did the subsequent film by the same name. My question was why are we only seeing stories of Catholic Priests when that accounts for less that 1-2%, where are the other 97-99% of abusers? The remaining are teachers, coaches, boyfriends of live-in couples, parents, other religious organizations, mentors and all the while receiving very little or zero coverage. I am blessed to know many priests that are good and holy, we will continue to pray for them and our church as well as any victims that need our support. Thank you for your work Father Stravinskas

  12. As indicated by the comments, Fr Stravinskas is right on point. His points are clear and precise. The solutions to the problems are the difficulties. The solutions need to come from two areas.
    First- Church Leadership.- The Church has a weekly opportunity to catechise we pewsitters. Never have I heard a homily, or sermon as clear as Fr Peter’s. Why not?
    Second-Personal Sanctification. We do not have to be fornicators or adulterers to be weakened by the hypersexuality in the media. Dealing with those temptations in the confessional could go a long way to benefit all of us.
    These are serious problems, requiring serious solutions.

  13. I commend and thank Father Stravinskas for such an accurate diagnosis of where we are today in the hypersexualized Western culture that is destabilizing with each passing day. One aspect of this in the Church, the homoerotic agenda, has caused so much damage it is astounding in its proportions, due to the misguided “mercy” toward priests who were actual offenders and were left unchecked. No doubt, it is deeply tragic that there are faithful priests who were falsely accused and have been swept away in error also due to lack of prudence exercised by inept leaders who fueled this crisis from the beginning. A very critical mistake the Church made early on, is allowing the homoerotic language to drive the debate on sexual morality. They hyperlink a sexual orientation or act with the totality of their identity and it eclipses all other more critical aspects of human self-awareness relative to God first and man second, and therefore eliminates the authentic possibility of change or chastity. They do not want chastity and reject it outright, or incredibly believe it only applies to heterosexuals. We have allowed the creation of the homoerotic person to be seen as something other than man and woman with the same intrinsic dignity as all of us, and with the same calling to be docile and obedient to God’s law. The result? Devastation, disease and desolation. Thousands of youthful victims and billions in donations by the toil of the faithful who were robbed of the fruits of that money and of true Catholic teaching on sexual morality and why and how to live it. Yes, Father is right in that it is time for the faithful to rise up and decry this scourge of error. It is also time for priests like this and courageous Bishops to rise up and lead us in this battle, to remind us of the beauty of truth, the dignity of virtue and the freedom of chastity that the world will always mock, but who cares what the spirit of the world says. This spirit is too much in our Church and must be driven out as Christ drove out the money changers in the temple. We must not fear the hyper emotionalized and warped ideologies of men like Father James Martin, and be intimidated into submission any longer. We have truth on our side, and it alone is enough because it is backed by our Lord and Savior, the one who delivers us from sin, not into it.

    • The WISDOM of SOLOMON 14:12-14 – “Sexual immorality began when idols were invented. They have corrupted human life ever since they were first made. Idols have not always existed, nor will they exist forever. It was human pride that brought them into the world, and that is why a quick end has been planned for them.” – Good New Bible (Catholic Study Edition)

  14. Sex has nothing to do with children; and children have become so expensive only the poor can afford them.
    Certainly true of “catholic” high schools.

  15. “Promote and defend the tried and true Christian view of marriage, family and sexuality. Live those norms yourself.” I agree. I think many, if not most Catholic spouses need help (a) knowing and embracing, as well as (b) living the Christian vision, most well articulated by St. John Paul II in 1981, after the first Synod on the Family. 35 years later we needed another one. In my humble opinion, because our bishops and pastors did not heed Familiaris consortio, nos. 65-66, 70-71 where John Paul prescribed a framework for action, i.e accompany couples through their life cycle. The sacramental preparation for marriage, infant baptism, first reconciliation, first Eucharist, and confirmation fit well into his vision of accompanying couples/parents and provide the best opportunity to renew the domestic church.

    Perhaps if our leaders took action in this regard Fr. Stravinskas instead of just defending orthodoxy, our orthodoxy might be revealed to be life-giving in the lives of happy, healthy, on-the-path to holiness couples. Meanwhile, as you have well noted, the father of lies continues to evangelize secularized couples and families on screens daily in hours that far exceed the hours spent weekly in worship or faith formation programs. (Oh, well. At least we stand for the correct moral positions.)

    The renewal of priestly formation after the 2002 scandal was because action was taken out of a crisis. The crisis of Catholic divorce and declarations of nullity since the revised 1983 Code of Canon Law continues. Doesn’t the other Vocation in service to Communion deserve its own renewal? Is not the mission of Christ’s Church at stake?

    • Fr. Stravinskas spends most of his time promoting catholic schools, that in most instances are now un-affordable to anyone with more than one or two children, dare I say anyone not on the Pill, you know the Pill at the root of aborition.. Dare I say any sinner who at least try’s to live out Humanae Vitae, dare I say that today one really can’t tell the difference between most catholic high school brochures and a brochure from Planned Parenthood.
      The stench of hypocrisy lifts itself to Heaven.. yet he continues to ignore, the institutions brick and mortar are more important than actual faith and the having children (plural).

      • This response to my article is befuddling since I don’t recall mentioning Catholic schools at all. That pointed out, “David” makes several leaps of judgment about couples with fewer children. He automatically accuses them of being on “The Pill.” Undoubtedly, some are. However, there is also the possibility that they are practicing NFP, or literally cannot have any more children, or have simply brought their sex drive under control. Let us not forget that Pope John Paul II beatified the Quattrocchi couple who, after having had three children (all of whom entered religious life), abstained from conjugal relations for the rest of their marriage.
        The comment about Catholic high school brochures and those of Planned Parenthood is just bizarre.

        • It’s not bizarre at all. PP recommends only having 1 or 2, with the focus on
          worldly goods, expensive private schools and very expensive colleges.
          Sound familiar?

          You sir turn a blind eye to this and scold those who can’t afford private school and home school. I assure you the overwhelming majority of parents with (1 or 2) children in these now incredibly expensive schools would not stand to hear a sermon on the Humanae Vitae. Their paying top dollar for this private education to get into a top college, not that. If you doubt me, try giving one-

          THIS is part and parcel of the entire sexual de-evolution.
          You and your fellow priests and bishops not only never speak of the root of abortion and sexual immorality, which is contraception.
          You actually reward and praise those who contracept and use abortifacients.

          • Dear Carl, (below)
            Yes, those are very good essays, one being also a sermon given at a general Mass.
            Could Father Stravinskas possibly give a sermon on Humanae Vitae to the parents and children at a local Catholic High School?
            The first step in solving any problem is to recognize that it exists. I believe that opposition to the Church’s teachings is strongest precisely where it should be taught and believed the most.
            If Father gives the sermon, and everything goes perfectly well, I can stand corrected.
            David W. Sharples PE

  16. A good analysis and very worthwhile read so I tried to post to Facebook ( a thing I do only rarely) but the article was banned apparently Infringing Facebook’s community safety standards. I can see their point given the article’s headline. I wish the editors of CWR would be more prudent and less sensationalist in composing headlines.

    • Yes, perhaps more prudent. But not only does Fr. Stravinskas use the term “sexploits” in his piece, it captures some of the nasty, tawdry nature of what is going on.

  17. Connecting money at all with allegations against a priest was the biggest early mistake made: it was simply inviting further allegations from unscrupulous people and seemed very much like hush money, as, in fact, it often was. It is still a matter of confusion for some Catholics as to why the whole Church should be liable to pay ‘compensation’ for the actions of an individual priest.

  18. Father Peter,

    Again, thanks for the excellent article. Do you know anything or could recommend reading material for the following:

    1) An elderly priest commented in my Catholic newspaper that when he was in seminary in the early 1950s, if a seminarian was found to be homosexual, whether active or not, he was automatically dismissed. After the commenting priest was ordained, he later became a vocational director and said that there was widespread thinking in the church in the 1960s that vocational directors were being too restrictive in admitting gay candidates. Was dismissal of homosexual candidates that widespread in the 1950s and what caused the thinking to be changed?

    2) I read somewhere that Pope John XXIII sent out an instruction in 1961? advising that homosexuals should not be admitted to seminary. What was he seeing that prompted him to say this? Why was this instruction ignored?

    3) Did anyone take Father Fitzgerald’s warnings seriously? Or did he not have sufficient standing?

    Thanks, again.

    Ted

  19. A dilemma dubbed “sexploit”ation [my addendum] by the discerning Fr Stravinskas. Since we’re a morally bankrupt culture the immoral make accusation sans evidence. It’s easy and sates. The Catholic Church’s dilemma transcends the awful diabolic terror of false accusations v clergy. It’s the influx mostly since Vat II of the vast number of men with homosexual tendencies sanctioned by “heretical theology” and morally derelict bishops. Given lip service by the current Pontiff. All the evidence points to his promotion. Man’s strongest natural inclination is sexual. The refusal to assimilate the doctrine on love and transmission of human life in Humanae Vitae is the milestone of no return. Grace jettisoned divinely ordained human love was disassociated from sexual pleasure. The avalanche of promiscuity and deviate behavior. Only Christ’s gift of grace can save us. We can attain that grace by intercessory prayer for the lost. At least to save some. Perhaps many.

    • Lest I be misunderstood what I mean by Man’s strongest natural inclination refers to our sensual nature. Surpassing that in quality and affect is Man’s spiritual nature inclined by God to truth, both in the faculties of intellect [reason is by nature inclined to truth] and the will. Without assent to grace in this life reason and will are inclined to rationalize truth in favor of what is sensual.

    • Father Morello,

      The Church has known this as a potential problem for millennia. St Benedict structured monasteries so that furtive connections could be discouraged. St. Damian warned that homosexual priests were causing damage to the Church around 1050 AD. One former vocational director wrote that seminarians discovered to be homosexual in the early 1950s were automatically dismissed. So what changed? It is almost like there was some demonically inspired irrational push to admit homosexuals to seminaries despite 1400 years of caution, warnings in the early 1960s about admitting homosexuals to seminaries and biblical warnings about this kind of behavior from St. Paul and St. Jude and going back to Leviticus and Genesis. Thanks for your comments.

  20. Thank you Fr. Peter Morello, “Only God’s gift of grace can save us”.That’s very true, however ,we also need role models to show us the way. Unfortunately there aren’t too many good models in the Church today. Starting from the top. When the Catholic Church brings the world into the Church instead of the Church into the world, we are in trouble. And that’s what’s happening today! The Catholic Church is no longer the “ROCK” and for the laity to know how to depend on the God’s only, we need someone like St Paul today to show us the way.

  21. Actually, I’m surprised that the sex abuse crisis was not more severe. Consider the following: there are over 50,000 celibate clergy world-wide. There have been 72 confirmed cases of abuse. Most of those were male-on-male child abuse. Homosexuality is the true culprit, but, even then only a small fraction of the celibate clergy engaged in abuse.

  22. Dec. 28, 2017: Many Bishops listened to the advice of the psychiatrists although they did not believe the reports. It’s time to follow one’s conscience rather than rely on the media or current trends of anything else. In the end, I felt sorry for Cardinal Law who lived in exile as an outcast. Perhaps he was trying to defend the honor of the Church but he sent known pedophiles back to working with children – you don’t send recovering alcoholics to work in a saloon…however, it is true that the majority of cases were homosexual in nature and the Church should have made that known no matter what the response would have been. And then and now they should stand by their Priests until they are proven guilty. Even some lawyers admitted that they knew the accusers were lying but their fees were so high that they were making huge sums of money from their percentage of the payoffs. I believe that Priestly formation is more balanced currently but formation should not end with ordination. Many Priests are overburdened caring for several Parishes and they need support from the Bishops and their parishioners…and they all need our prayers – above all, our prayers.

  23. Reading these comments leaves me disheartened. You seem to be drawing a distinction in a post pubescent boy who is still under the age of consent and comparing him to one who has adult faculties. Predator priests are no diffferent than predator high school coaches, teachers and anyone who holds some authority over a a young man or woman who may not be over the age of consent and is experiencing confusing sexual feelings. The only difference is that in many of the priestly abuse cases, families were contacted by bishops or agents thereof and settlements reached without due process for the victims and their families. Had due process occurred with investigations, arrests and convictions, I think the damage to the church would not have been as great. Instead many priests were allowed to continue predation. We hold priests to a very high standard, but they are still men who are priests not priests who are men.

    • Jay, you make very good points. I wish more bishops had emulated Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort Wayne – South Bend, Indiana. Once he became their bishop in 1985, after his experience as an auxiliary bishop in Boston, he immediately started the process of removing from ministry the 12 active priests who had credible complaints against them. It is sad that needed to be done and this process I think was completed in 3 years. Speaking of the nationwide numbers according to the John Jay report in 2004, with all due respect to victims and their families, I wish more latitude had been given to the 55% of all priests who were credibly accused just once. If some were dismissed over a mere touch, that would be tragic if the victim was willing to forgive. More tragic is the case of Father Gordon McCrae who is in jail since 1993? and claims he is innocent.

      • Thank you Ted. I have to admit some bias to these crimes as I investigated them in my long LE career. In my experience evry sex abuse case whether intra family or without never had a single credible
        incident. In every case after digging there were always tens and in some cases hundreds (most of those were intra family where access was unlimited) of credible allegations. At some point you had to stop digging and sit down with a prosecutor and go with what achieved a positive result for the victim. I know many good Godly priests. When 2002 happened many of these men were left to watch as the Church struggled with how to correct, discipline and handle the offending priests without painting the priesthood itself with a wide brush. Unfortunately many in the laity were left with profuse apologies from the pulpit that sounded insincere when settlements became public and the good priests were left with the paint brush. The settlements with their NDA’s had allowed the statute of limitations to expire in most of these cases so prosecutions were rare. I maintain if aggressive prosecutions had occurred a lot of damage would have been mitigated and the “justice” part of the gospel would have been upheld.

        • Jay, thanks for sharing your experience and the reality check. As a victim of priestly abuse, I should have spoken up but kept quiet. In retrospect, I should have said something and done the heavy lifting of getting the Church and law enforcement to do something about that priest. To add to what you said, early and aggressive prosecutions would have caused the bishops to act a lot sooner to enact something like they did in 2004. It would have saved the Church a lot of money too. Thanks, again.

          Ted

          • Ted, when you say, “I should have said something and done the heavy lifting of getting the Church and law enforcement to do something about that priest.” you can know, many, many others were also unable at that time to tell. It is a very difficult thing to do alone.
            It is extremely difficult for many survivors of abuse to speak up as there can be so many factors hobbling those who suffered. A frequent consequence of abuse is guilt, and if you bear any guilt associated with the abuse, it is not yours.

        • So true, Jay.
          In the early 90’s, working as a clinical social worker, a client who had been abused by a priest, gave me a document produced by SNAP. The document laid out their estimate of the scope of the problem and warned of the terrible consequences if the complaints being brought to the attention of the hierarchy continued to be ignored. Sad to say, much anguish and many millions of dollars later, their predictions were all too true.

  24. The only thing left that is authentic in the Catholic Church is the Eucharist . The Catholic Church is a corporation and land owner and has assets including real estate in the billions . The sex scandal soar approx 8 billion dollars . Most of the money went to lawyers not victims . The ny diocese has a 100 million dollar loan against its real estate to cover abuse claims . This is not the Church our Lord established but it is the corrupt institution of corrupt men . The Lord will deal with all of when he returns and he will return . People have left the church because they no longer believe in supporting it . The whole thing from Rome down is all about money . The church real estate needs money to keep itself going and the whole thing is sadly tragic because the only life left in the Church is the Eucharist .

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