No More Timidity

The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, hints recently at the malice directed against us.  He urges that we respond with repentance when, as today, the world reminds the Church of her sins.

Most of the attention in the media has been on our sins of commission.  But let me focus here on repentance in the Church for particular sins of omission.  We have good reason to be sorry for responding weakly and naively to the malice directed at Christians generally, and at Catholic clergy in particular.  With a wimpy defense we have emulated Neville Chamberlain at Munich, rather than deliver robust counterpunches a la Winston Churchill.

Scripture tells us to fight the good fight with the wisdom of a serpent.  Instead we have gone tiptoeing around the militant homosexuality movement, confusing timidity with the virtue of being guileless as doves.

At last, hopefully, things are changing as per St. Paul’s admonition (Titus 2:15), “let no one despise thee.”  Much to the chagrin and outrage of influential people in the so-called advanced nations (like the French Foreign Ministry), the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has decided to call a spade a spade, or rather to identify abusers of adolescent boys as homosexuals – a common sense association unmentionable in polite society.

So much for polite society.  As Admiral David Farragut put it at Mobile Bay, “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”  This is exactly the correct contradiction to infiltration, especially infiltrators into the priesthood.  Webster’s unabridged dictionary defines the word, infiltrate, as follows:  “To move into an organization… surreptitiously and gradually, esp. with hostile intent.”  Surely we have the right and duty to defend the sacred ranks of the clergy against the entry of practicing sodomites.  Relevant here is St. Paul’s admonition (1 Corinthians 5:13), “expel the evil man from your midst.”

St. Paul had no qualms about calling out seducers who infiltrate households, to “capture silly women” (2 Timothy 3:6).  Or as Matthew 23:14 quotes Jesus, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers.”

The influx of practicing homosexuals into Catholic seminaries too involved a sin of omission.  Lowing our guard against the intrusion allowed gay “comrades in harms” to become priests who preyed on vulnerable people, including children.

Bishops, including the Bishop of Rome, are besieged for being too slow in defrocking pedophiles after the fact.  (I’m not sure we can do anything about the stubborn ignorance of the media insisting that a priest has to be “defrocked” in order for his active ministry to come to an end.) But the critics of the Catholic Church say little about our guarding the gates with vigilance beforehand.  What about preventing homosexual rakes from infiltrating the clergy in the first place?

The infiltrators are guiltiest of committing abominations against adults and children.  To them the principal blame is due.  Humanly speaking, they are the chief culprits.  And yet whenever the Church applies just discrimination against practicing homosexuals (in adoptions, for example), it gets labeled “bigotry.”

Our cultural commissars urge us to worship at the altar of a much-touted triune ethic – tolerance, diversity and choice. This secular trinity militates against the influence of righteous indignation.  It demands that people who express disgust at sexual sins be reprogrammed.  Teach them to reconsider their negative attitudes.  Show them that a tendency to look down on homosexual sex is wrong in itself.  Brow beat them with the notion that such a critical attitude is condescending and judgmental.

Of those who would thus revamp our spiritual instincts, the Sermon on the Mount warns: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15).   In the spirit of St. Paul (Titus 2:15), let us “speak, exhort and rebuke with all authority.  Nemo te contemnat.”

By

writer, retired history teacher, practicing cradle Catholic, lecturer for Knights of Columbus, council 1379. Knight of the Month, October 2008, February 2009.

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  • Terri Kimmel

    Mr. Struble,

    One of my siblings has been seduced by the “much-touted triune ethic”. I try to provide scientific and logical information, an effort which motivates my question: Has there been a study that demonstrates that the priests who have abused adolescent boys were already actively homosexual before they were ordained? Were they sexually active homosexuals before they abused the boys? In my estimation thus far, the relevance of homosexuality is only to demonstrate just how small a minority the abusing clerics are (80% of the small 4-5% of those accused of abuse). I’m trying to build an understanding of the issue from the ground up.

    To put it bluntly, what is the relevance of the fact that the abusers are homosexual? Again, I want understanding. I don’t seek to refute.

    Many thanks.

  • http://www.tell-usa.org Robert Struble, Jr.

    Dear Terri K,
    Please follow the link under the word “identify” in the 4th paragraph of my article. I think you’ll find the insights provided by Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons quite helpful.

  • http://www.tell-usa.org Robert Struble, Jr.

    I have a family member who is an ordained Protestant minister. He sent me the following by email:

    Bob,
    To what degree do you think that a celibate clergy feeds this problem? I
    know that the strict requirements of the priesthood have made the recruiting
    of new priests exceptionally difficult, so that many parishes have to share
    ordained clergy just to get by. It seems to me that celibacy is a very high
    hurdle and screens out very many potential applicants.

    The scarcity of candidates for the priesthood mitigates against stringent screening on almost any criteria. The fact that many begin the journey toward the
    priesthood at a very young age also may mean that they have not yet
    discovered very much about their sexuality. Do young men on track toward the
    priesthood know if they are homosexual or not? How will those doing the
    screening discern sexual orientation of young candidates who have not yet
    had sexual experience or sorted out their feelings?

    I know that the history of the celibate priesthood goes back at least 1,000 years, and that it came about for various reasons, some practical, some theological, some political, and some spiritual…. The celibate lifestyle
    must be exceptionally difficult and fraught with all kinds of temptations.
    Do you think it is necessary to maintain in the Roman Catholic Church?
    John

    Dear Rev. John Bangs,
    The Catholic League issued a report in 2004, “Sexual Abuse in Social Context: Catholic Clergy and Other Professionals,” which indicates that pedophilia among Catholic priests is between 10% and 60% the level for Protestant clergy. It cites the authoritative work of of a Penn State University professor. See, Philip Jenkins, Pedophiles and Priests (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 50 and 81.

    Elsewhere Jenkins states: “‘My research of cases over the past 20 years indicates no evidence whatever that Catholic or other celibate clergy are any more likely to be involved in misconduct or abuse than clergy of any other denomination — or indeed, than non-clergy. However determined news media may be to see this affair as a crisis of celibacy, the charge is just unsupported.’” (Pittsburg PA, Postgazette.com, 3/3/2002)

    http://www.catholicleague.org/research/abuse_in_social_context.htm
    http://www.post-gazette.com/forum/comm/20020303edjenk03p6.asp

    Finally, John, I would add that we need to address the basic problem, not adjust to the symptoms. The fundamental problem is that in one man’s lifetime American culture has radically degenerated morally. A rotten culture generates all kinds of aberrations, including widespread sexual obsession. Assuming for the sake of argument that celibates find it more difficult to cope with a degenerate moral environment than married people; does it follow, therefore, that the former must change their lifestyle? Or does it mean that we need to restore a healthy culture for celibates and married people alike?

    In my view, the imperative is a counterrevolution to restore America the Beautiful under God’s redeeming grace. This is the indicated reform, not abolition of old time religion so as to adapt to the realities of the postmodernist revolution.

  • http://www.tell-usa.org Robert Struble, Jr.

    My old friend, Ted K. has given upon on the complex process of trying to register with CE. Today he sent me the following email:

    “This is a great article, Bob. Maybe the best you’ve written.

    “Organized religion” may be an oxymoron. It does not take too long before the organization thinks about its own safety, image, and growth; and cares less and less about the people it serves, and the God in whose name they claim to act. Organization is often necessary in order to accomplish much; but perhaps the organized religions should have a sunset clause in their constitutions.

    Dear Ted,
    Jesus said (Matthew 16:18), “thou are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Note that nowhere does our Lord allow that where hell might fail, a sunset clause will succeed.

    Yours in Christ,
    Ted

  • http://www.tell-usa.org Robert Struble, Jr.

    A longtime attorney sent this email today in response to my article:

    Bob,
    Good job.

    Unmasking the homos as part of the evil wind that emanates from the evil hold is very much a good move.

    But note that the evil hold itself is left untouched. That evil hold is identified by you as “the triune ethic – tolerance, diversity and choice.” The siege engine required to break into the evil hold is a solid theory for the duty of Christians to be politically activists. For years I have been searching for such a theory. I continue to search.
    Ed

    Sir,
    I would put it in the form of a simple syllogism, rather than an elaborate theory.

    1. As Christians in this country, we are responsible to God to be good American citizens.

    2. But the founding document of this country states, that in the face of a long train of abuses and usurpations, it not only the citizenry’s right, “it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for our future security.”

    3. Since the citizenry cannot carry out such a governmental duty without being politically active; therefore, Christian citizens confronted with “a long train of abuses and usurpations” are duty bound to be politically active.

  • http://www.tell-usa.org Robert Struble, Jr.

    Terri Kimmel,
    Please add this to my previous reference to Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons’ work. In 2004 the Catholic League reported the following re priestly abuse:

    “Almost all the priests who abuse children are homosexuals. Dr. Thomas Plante, a psychologist at Santa Clara University, found that “80 to 90% of all priests who in fact abuse minors have sexually engaged with adolescent boys, not prepubescent children. Thus, the teenager is more at risk than the young altar boy or girls of any age.*

    “The situation in Boston, the epicenter of the scandal, is even worse. According to the Boston Globe, “Of the clergy sex abuse cases referred to prosecutors in Eastern Massachusetts, more than 90 percent involve male victims. And the most prominent Boston lawyers for alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse have said that about 95 percent of their clients are male.

    “In a database analysis of reports on more than 1,200 alleged victims of priests identified by USA Today, 85 percent were males. In another study by USA Today, it was determined that of the 234 priests who have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor while serving in the nation’s 10 largest dioceses and archdioceses, 91 percent of their victims were males.”

    Catholic League report, “Sexual Abuse In Social Context: Catholic Clergy And Other Professionals,” 2004,
    http://www.catholicleague.org/research/abuse_in_social_context.htm

    *Thomas Plante, “A Perspective on Clergy Sexual Abuse,” 2010
    http://www.psywww.com/psyrelig/plante.html

  • Terri Kimmel

    Fantastic! Thank you so much. I’m going to post a link to this column and the comments to my facebook page.

    tk

  • Terri Kimmel

    “In fact, every priest whom I treated who was involved with children sexually had previously been involved in adult homosexual relationships.”

    From the CNA article. That’s what I was looking for. Thanks again!

  • http://www.tell-usa.org Robert Struble, Jr.

    An interesting email exchange took place today between Dr. Thomas Plante and myself. Plante is the author of “A Perspective on Clergy Sexual Abuse,” (April 2010) and a psychology professor at Santa Clara University. He is a practicing Catholic, and his work has been helpful in many respects in clarifying the facts in the ongoing clerical abuse scandals. As I think you’ll see, however, PC thought police are seen to be looking over the shoulder of academics, even on Jesuit affiliated campuses.

    11:52 PM, 4/21/2010, Struble wrote
    I am a writer for Catholic Exchange. In the comments section below my article in today’s CE, I reference your April 2010 work, “A Perspective on Clergy Sexual Abuse.”

    I found your updated version very helpful and balanced. But one paragraph mystifies me:

    “Fifth, a high proportion of homosexual priests do not increase the risks of sexual abuse of minors by priests. Sexual orientation does not predict illegal sexual abuse of children and minors in general. Homosexual men are not more likely to engage in illegal sexual behaviors with children and adolescents than heterosexual men.”

    How can this be? — given that homosexual activity is “intrinsically disordered,” as the Catechism of the Catholic Church indicates (2357), and “contrary to the natural law.” Isn’t it intuitive, therefore, and reasonable (as opposed to empirically established); that having crossed the line into disorderly sexual conduct and disharmony with nature, one would be more prone to explore other illicit sexual realms (like pedophilia)? In other words, disorderly sexual habits sear the conscience, and must diminish one’s scruples about breaking sexual taboos in any direction.
    ________

    6:59AM, Plante wrote
    Thank you for your email and question.

    On the homosexual question, the Catholic Church and the professional mental health community don’t quite see eye-to-eye. Research has been reviewed carefully over the years by the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Pediatric Association, and others who all come to the same conclusion that homosexual orientation (by itself) is not predictive or a risk factor for crimes against children or others. Additionally, we looked at homosexual vs. heterosexual applicants to the priesthood and published a paper in Pastoral Psychology not finding any psychiatric differences of note between the two groups looking at psychological testing measures.

    It is true that 80% of victims of clergy abuse are boys, but we think that this has more to do with co-morbidity & access than orientation per se. Hope that make some sense. You might check my web page (and Psych Today blog) for additional information. Let me know if you need more.

    Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D., ABPP
    Professor, Psychology Department
    Director, Spirituality and Health Institute
    Alumni Science Hall, Room 203
    Santa Clara University
    500 El Camino Real
    Santa Clara, CA 95053-0333

    408-554-4471 (voice)
    408-554-5241 (fax)
    email: tplante@scu.edu
    web site: http://www.scu.edu/tplante
    _________
    06:59 AM, Struble wrote,
    Can you translate the following into layman’s terms for me, please?
    “It is true that 80% of victims of clergy abuse are boys but we think that this has more to do with co-morbidity & access than orientation per se. Hope that make some sense.”
    _________
    At 08:06 AM Plante wrote:
    Sorry. “Co-morbid” means they have other psychiatric diagnoses that contribute to their behavior with children. These are usually personality disorders, mood disorders, impulse control disorders, alcohol and substance abuse disorders, brain injury and so forth. “Access” includes victims are often those who you have trust with, power over, and access to. back in the day, priests had lots of engagement with boys (much more so than girls). Think dorms, camping
    trips, swim teams, and so forth. So, the risk factors for abuse include variables other than sexual orientation alone. Hope that makes better sense.
    _________
    9:24 AM Struble wrote,
    Ok. So if all these “psychiatric” disorders, including “alcohol and substance disorders” contribute to pedophilia, would it be counter-scientific to say that moral and spiritual disorders play contributing roles? To put it into elementary theological terms, doesn’t sin beget sin? One form of sin may well lead to another, yes?
    Bob
    _________
    09:39 AM Plante wrote:
    Great question. Not sure how to answer it however. It is more of a theological question than psychological/psychiatric. Although I’m an active and engaged daily Mass kind of Catholic, my professional training is in psychology so I tend to think this question is better answered from a clergy or theological scholar.
    _________
    12:00 PM Struble wrote,
    I’m afraid our email exchange has reached the demarcation line between the empirical mode of thought and the philosophical/theological. My son is studying Robert Frost in his Literature class, and we were discussing the idea that “good fences make good neighbors.” I’m wondering if that’s really true as regards fences erected in the human mind. Might not such a fence impede fraternal cooperation in the face of a crisis like child abuse? Might not a pedagogically imposed construct serve as a sort of Berlin Wall between revelation and empiricism, preventing religion and science from reinforcing each other in the effort to upgrade society?
    _________
    12:06PM Plante wrote
    I think we all have to stay within our areas of competence but working together having people with different competencies in the same room at the same time helps to move these conversations forward more productively. I work very closely with clergy and religion scholars but they do have to speak for themselves.
    _________
    12:06 PM Struble wrote
    If, “we all have to stay within our areas of competence,” then how dare we vote? Let’s just stay in our compartments and leave our country’s future to the professional politicians.
    _________
    12:33 PM Plante wrote
    But if we don’t stay within our areas of competence, then I lose my license to practice as a psychologist, I’m in trouble with my professional association’s ethics board, and so forth. You don’t want a doctor who is a radiologist doing brain surgery. So, I stay within my area of competence and consult with others as needed.
    _________
    12:42 PM Struble wrote,
    Sorry if I seem a bit exasperated. But if staying in one’s area of competence means a psychologist who is Catholic cannot answer a simple question posed by an historian who is Catholic (see 9:24AM & 9:39AM), then is not this confine a hindrance rather than a help during the Church’s hour of need?
    _________
    1:36 PM Plante wrote.
    Sorry to disappoint you. While I have a personal view like everyone, I try to stay with professional ones on this topic in public forums.
    _________
    1:55 PM Struble wrote,
    I let Daniel, my almost 17 year old son, read this email exchange. His response was this: “Please Dad, don’t pressure this guy into losing his job. He worked hard to get his position and doesn’t want to give it up.”

    Ok, Professor Plante, I think our discussion was instructive anyway. If you aren’t unalterably opposed, I’d like to post our exchange in the comments section below my article in Catholic Exchange. Are you, by chance, a member of the Knights of Columbus?
    _________
    3:42PM Plante wrote.
    Thanks for your email. Sure, you can do what you wish with the exchange (although I’d like to see it first if possible). And no I’m not a member of the K of C.
    PS: Your son is a wise and sensible young man!

  • http://www.harvestingthefruit.com Louie Verrecchio

    The basic problem here is the degree to which homosexuality is being denied as a factor altogether. Thank you for pointing this out, Robert.

    I wrote the CNA article that Terri mentioned. It ran here at CE as well, but an updated version is available on LifeSite News if interested:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/apr/10040104.html

    The notion that males who engage in sexual acts with post-pubescent boys aren’t necessarily homosexual flies in the face of common sense. It’s like saying, “Pay no attention to the veal chop that man is eating, he’s a strict vegetarian.” Oh, and did I mention that the salad bar is right around the corner?

    The priests accused of abuse didn’t live in walled off monasteries; they had plenty of access to females. And even if they didn’t – the presumption that access dictates this kind of behavior is absolutely false because it equates sexual activity with absolute need; on the order of food and water. Don’t buy into the premise.

    Any thinking human being realizes this, but the homosympathetic lobby has no other choice here but to fall back on the ludicrous. Why?

    Follow the logic: IF an adult male who is sexually attracted to a teenage boy is a homosexual (sense of the most common order) AND heterosexuals are just as likely to commit abuse as homosexuals (grant it just for argument’s sake) THEN the demographic data concerning priest-abusers who sought out males vs. those who sought out females would mirror the demographics of the priesthood as a function of homosexuals to heterosexuals. This renders a ratio of 9:1.

    Does anyone really believe that homosexuals outnumber heterosexuals 9 to 1 in the priesthood in the U.S.? No. Of course not. So there are only a few possible answers…

    Either homosexuals are in fact more likely to abuse minors, or a large number (as a percentage) of heterosexual priests are guilty of sexually abusing teenage boys. For the homosympathizers (I coined this phrase to describe those who will protect homosexuals at all costs even if they themselves are not homosexual)it’s an easy albeit ludicrous choice.

    They MUST cling to the false idea that heterosexual priests sought sexual gratification from adolescent boys, common sense be damned, because without this they are left with no other choice but to admit that homosexual men are far more likely to engage in sexual acts with adolescents.

    So, bottom line… expect the homosympathizers (including those who influence the USCCB) to fight for this idiotic notion to the death. Shame on them.

    Thanks for speaking up, Robert. We need to let the world (and the USCCB) know that we will not sit still for politically correct nonsense. They want a fight? It’s go time.

  • http://www.catholicexchange.com Mary Kochan

    I think a conversation my husband had with a Protestant friend is very much to the point here: The man made a crack about celibacy in the context of the abuse and my husband asked him, “Have you ever had a period of time in your adult life when you weren’t having sex?” The man said he had. So my husband asked him, “So, then, did you find yourself starting to look at teenage boys?”

  • http://www.tell-usa.org Robert Struble, Jr.

    Thanks Mary Kochan and Louie Verrecchio for the pertinent comments. A Protestant speaker, debater, and religion teacher tried to log on and make a comment, but ran into technical difficulties. So he emailed me the following:

    In his recent article entitled “No More Timidity,” Robert Struble, Jr. effectively gives “the other side of the story” concerning the sexual scandals dealing with the Roman Catholic priesthood. It is too easy for our anti-Christian, politically correct culture to chalk this up as just one more Christian scandal.

    But, Struble points out that what almost always goes unmentioned is that when men sexually molest young boys it is not only a sexual crime, but a homosexual crime as well. Apparently, in our politically correct culture, it is never permissible to mention the word “homosexuality” in negative light—only “Christianity” can be spoken of in negative terms.

    Struble cuts to the heart of the matter: both Catholics and Protestants need to be more vocal in condemning homosexuality as the sin it is. Struble opposes the two-faced “new tolerance” that promotes homosexuality as a healthy lifestyle, but then condemns pseudo-priests for molesting boys without mentioning the word “homosexuality.”

    Struble is concerned that practicing homosexuals are infiltrating Roman Catholic seminaries. These are pseudo-priests, wolves in sheep’s clothing. Now is not the time for Christians to back down to political correctness. Now is the time for Christians to condemn not just pedophilia, but homosexuality as well (as the church has done for 2,000 years). If Christian seminaries (Catholic or Protestant) do not condemn homosexuality as a sin, then we will continue to suffer the consequences of false Christians infiltrating our ranks, abusing others, and giving Christianity a bad name.

    Our country needs more courageous voices like that of Robert Struble. We need men and women of conviction, not people who embody the politically correct tolerance for all sorts of deviant behavior. Now is the time for Christian leadership to take a stand for truth and righteousness without worrying about what the world calls “tolerance.”

    Phil Fernandes, Ph.D.
    President of the Institute of Biblical Defense

  • Barbara Thom

    In reply to your resonder about a theory to back up political activism by Christians. Isaiah 9;6 reads: For to us a child is born to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his govnernment and peace there will be no end. If we are his hands and feet, are we not also HIS SHOULDERS?? It is sad to see how our nation is being decieved by evil, but it is unbelieveable how the church can be. Don’t they read the Bible?

  • http://www.tell-usa.org Robert Struble, Jr.

    Barbara Thom:
    Yours is an insight well worthy of elaboration. It seems to me that “government shall be on his shoulders,” must have an application in terms of what we Catholics term “the mystical body of Christ.”

    As noted in 1 Corinthians 12, the Church has different gifts and functions, just as the body has ears, feet arms, more comely members, and less honorable members. St. Paul leaves the metaphorical implications of “shoulders” to our own reflections, but Isaiah 9:6 would certainly seem to answer Ed’s quest for a rationale to encourage Christians to seek political power.

    If Christ is to exercise government (or dominion) on earth, then as usual he will ordinarily do so through human agency rather than miraculous divine intervention. As Judeo-Christian citizens, therefore, we must be active agents of the Biblical principle, “dominion is the Lord’s and he rules the nations.” (Psalm 22:29)

  • http://www.tell-usa.org Robert Struble, Jr.

    My article contrasting the 2009 electoral results in Maine and Washington State, regarding the same-sex marriage equivalency issue, is in CE for November 9, 2009. See
    http://catholicexchange.com/2009/11/09/123497/

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