Skip to comments.Critics say new study misses real reasons for priest abuse crisis
Posted on 05/19/2011 8:17:28 AM PDT by GonzoII
Critics say new study misses real reasons for priest abuse crisis
By Marianne Medlin
Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons
.- A $2 million study commissioned by the U.S. bishops is not likely to put to rest questions about the causes of the sexual abuse crisis in the priesthood.
Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a top psychiatrist and authority on treating sexually abusive priests, told CNA that he is very critical of the findings because they avoid discussing important causal factors in clerical sex abuse cases, namely homosexuality.
The study began to receive criticism on May 17, the day before it was released, in both the secular press and from Catholic experts who have studied the issues involved closely.
The study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York cites the sexual permissiveness of the 1960s and poor seminary training as the root causes of the crisis. The report is the third commissioned by the U.S. bishops since the break of the scandal in 2002 and was intended to address the patterns and pathologies behind the abuse.
Despite the report showing that nearly 80 percent of victims were post-pubescent and adolescent males, the study concludes that clinical data do not support the hypothesis that priests with a homosexual identity ... are significantly more likely to sexually abuse.
Fitzgibbons disputed that conclusion, saying that analysis of the research demonstrates clearly that the major cause of the crisis was the homosexual abuse of males.
This, he underscored in a May 18 phone interview, was the heart of the crisis.
Statistics from the recent John Jay report show that less than 5 percent of abuse took place with prepubescent children, making pedophilia a fraction of the core issue and sexual activity with adolescent males the primary occurrence.
One can conclude that these priests have strong same-sex attraction, he said. When an adult is involved with homosexual behavior with an adolescent male, he clearly has a major problem in the area of homosexuality.
Priests and seminarians with deep seated homosexuality have a serious responsibility to seek appropriate help to protect adolescents, he emphasized.
Fitzsgibbons praised the John Jay Criminal College for their work in previous studies, which he said gave accurate statistics on sex abuse. However, he was critical of the college being chosen for the third study analyzing underlying factors, saying that criminologists lack the professional expertise to comment on causes of sexual abuse.
The earlier conclusions were very accurate, but the present analysis the attempt to identify causes and context I would completely disagree with.
If the (U.S. bishops) conference wanted an analysis of the causes of complex sexual behavior with adolescents, he said, don't turn to criminologists.
They are not trained to understand those causes that training is given to mental health professionals.
They can report on the statistical analysis of the behavior but in terms of causes, they've crossed a line, in my view.
The John Jay researchers also clarified in their study that priestly celibacy was not a factor in clerical sex abuse and said that the offenders chose to victimize boys because clergy had greater access to them.
Bill Donohue, president of The Catholic League for Religious Liberty, reacted to the notion of accessibility to boys over girls, saying the there are so few incidents of abuse these days an average of 8.3 per year since 2005 that it makes no sense to compare the percentage of male victims at the peak of the scandal to what has happened since altar girls were allowed.
The latest study on abuse notes that 83 percent of the allegations made in 2010 were by males, and the bulk of incidents took place in the early 1970s, he said.
Besides, priests had nothing but access to male altar servers before the 1960s, and the report notes that sexual abuse was not a problem then.
Thats because there were fewer gay priests then, Donohue argued.
A homosexual is defined by his actions, not his identity, he said.
Despite the disagreement incited over the particulars of the report, the numbers ultimately show a drastic decline in sex abuse occurrences within the Church over time.
The peak of the crisis has passed, the report noted. Because the Church responded, abuse cases decreased and sexual abuse of minors continues to remain low.
Researchers said data show that abuse incidents were highest between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s.
Ninety-four percent of the abuse incidents reported to the Catholic Church from 1950 through 2009 took place before 1990, the study said, adding that currently, fewer new reports are brought forward each year.
Come on, what do you expect from the Catholic church except for a huge CYA?
This is a group that killed off competeing sects, ran the church like a mafia (literally in many cases) and threw out whole books from the bible simply because they didn’t fit their version of events (God forbid we empower women, Mary, cough) and demonized the Jews even though they are God’s chosen people.
Don’t get me started.
So, a vow celibacy does not attract one who identifies homosexual urges in himself as ungodly and wishes deny them, so they never result in physical action? And that denial is an effective means of containing a compulsion?
You cranked yourself up.
??? I think you're confusing us with someone else.
The rest of your screed demonstrates that anti-Catholic bigotry is alive and well.
If you want change in the catholic church convict and sentence a few archbishops and cardinals for conspiracy to obstruct justice....just a few will do.....the rest will get the message.
you certainly seem to have hit the nail on the head to me, but what do I know.
This is a somewhat misleading article.
It is perfectly true that two of the major causes of abuse, which almost all took place several decades ago, were the “sexual permissiveness” of the 60s and poor seminary training—i.e., seminaries that had been infected by the culture of the 1960s.
Both those points are perfectly true.
The third point, that homosexuality was mainly responsible, should have been added. I would imagine that it may have been left out because the bishops are still afraid of offending the liberal establishment and being accused of homophobia.
Donohue make the essential points; that it was almost all in the past, and it was largely homosexual in nature. Why did it suddenly erupt in the 60s and 70s, and not earlier? Thats because there were fewer gay priests then, Donohue argued.
In other words, one solution is to keep gay men, even if they promise to be celibate, out of the seminaries, if possible.
I expect we’ll see more of the Catholic haters on this thread, but it might be a good idea to consider rationally where the bishops’ report is sound, and where it goes astray. It is sound in what it says, but it goes astray in not making that third point more openly.
But the Vatican has already said that gay men should not be admitted to the seminaries. The most prominent gay bishops such as Rembert Weakland have already been weeded out. It was not known at the time they were appointed that they were gay, or at least it was all kept in the closet—unlike the Episcopal and other mainline Protestant churches, where gay bishops were deliberately and openly appointed. Still, the Church has to deal with the problem, and in fact has proceeded to do so, to the point where sexual abuse by priests is now extremely rare.
Unlike the public schools, where it is increasingly common, and where gay teachers are said to be a good thing, and where small schoolchildren are being taught to be gay.
St. Peter, the rock upon whom the church was built, was married, but what do I know.
Heads up. The Church did not write the study and it did not draw and release any conclusions from the study. That (pay attention now) was the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. You would know that if you read the article.
You are misinformed leading you to write an erroneous statement. Please name the books of the Bible that were thrown out by the Catholic Church. If you mean nonsense such as the Gospel of Thomas or other such Gnostic rot be aware that no Christian sect views those as being in anyway Canonical and indeed are viewed as heretical by Reformed sects as well.
One obvious glaring example of ignoring the elephant in the room is that the sexual hedonism of the ‘60’s included a growing tolerance and acceptance even encouragement of homosexual behavior.
“I expect well see more of the Catholic haters on this thread, but it might be a good idea to consider rationally where the bishops report is sound, and where it goes astray. It is sound in what it says, but it goes astray in not making that third point more openly.”
The instances of abuse have decreased very sharply since the late 70s early 80s. I think part of that is also due to the homosexualists not having a reason to turn to the priesthood in order to hide as it became more acceptable to be an open homosexualist in general society, especially in a group that officially teaches what they do is a sin. Heck, they can get married in several states, many companies give benefits and have strict anti-discrimation policies, there are gay cruises and gay days at theme parks.
“And that denial is an effective means of containing a compulsion?”
One, anyone who has that compulsion is unfit for the priesthood.
Two, everyone has desires that they deny themselves. Are you suggesting that it’s healthy to act on your compulsions?
I think it has more to do with the fact that the Church indentifies them as homosexuals before they are ordained and rejects them.
That could be true too, I hear that some bishops have started following the Vatican’s mandates on that more closely. But do you see my point that there is less reason to even try to join an organization today that officially condemns their actions while the rest of society pretty much embraces all that is gay, like it didn’t 40 years ago?
Yeah, that’s the problem.
Quite the opposite. Look at what’s happening to the Episcopalians, Lutherans and now the Presbyterians.
I don’t understand, homosexualists are now welcomed and accepted in parts of those groups; they don’t have to hide what they do, like they would have to do as a priest in the Catholic Church. They can have open partners in “relationships” in those groups, that is never going to happen in the Catholic Church.
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