NORTH HAVEN, CT., In its current issue, the National Catholic Register publishes a series of articles on its assessment of the church clergy sex scandals.
The Register states that “people with an ax to grind and lawyers with a buck to make” have been exploiting the scandals to advance their own anti-Catholic or financial agendas. While many would agree with that assessment with good cause, another thesis of the Register is likely to be more critically received by others who have researched or lived the scandals. In its editorial the Register states, “Catholics, shaken by the scandal, exaggerated how widespread it was. To hear many tell it, you would think that the biggest problem facing the Church today was the safety of children in parish halls.”
Many Catholic critics, as LifeSite has reported, have acknowledged from the beginning that the percentage of pedophiles among the priesthood has actually been very small. It has been suggested that there are likely still numerous abuse cases that will remain hidden because the victims have been thoroughly intimidated or cannot bear to face the painful past. Still, even these hidden numbers are unlikely to significantly raise the percentage.
What the Register does not deal with is the evidence of far greater abuse of teenagers and young adults and even adults by homosexual clergy and the high incidence of past, although likely currently less common, homosexuality in many seminaries and dioceses. This has been at least as shocking as the smaller number of pedophilia incidents and has also caused victims great anguish.
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus stated in First Things “Some still complain that the entire crisis…was manufactured by the media and motivated by anti-Catholicism…but without the deeper crisis of the infidelity and negligence of bishops, the media could not have produced the public and, consequently, episcopal sense of crisis. The scandal was in the chanceries, parishes, and seminaries before it was on the front page or television news. ”
In an earlier article Neuhaus stated, “Homosexuality is very close to the center of the crisis. At the epicenter is the grave negligence of bishops. Not all bishops, to be sure, but too many.”
Professor Charles Rice wrote in the Aug. 1, 2002 Wanderer, “The bishops evidently are concerned only with sexual abuse by clerics of minors 'below the age of 16,' although an estimated nine of every ten reported cases involve boys of 16 and older.”
Dr. Rice, Fr. Richard Neuhaus, and others, while emphasizing that most priests are faithful and deserving of support and encouragement, have also been emphatic that the crisis is huge, it is widespread and will not be resolved until infidelity to moral teachings and the issue of homosexuality within the clergy are dealt with.
(This update courtesy of LifeSite News.)