Better screening of seminary applicants. What?
What the Benedict Groeschel interview might have done.
I mentioned it to a few friends who questioned me on my posts in defense of what Fr. Groeschel had to say in his interview regarding the sexual abuse of minors. Remarking on the immediate criticism and subsequent apology by Groeschel, I said:
There is a possibility - a strong one - that many of these abuse cases Groeschel was thinking of were homosexual in kind - not pedophilia - yet that interpretation is shunned and politically incorrect. Why? Perhaps, because there are so many ssa priests in the Church. Likewise, there remains a willingness to ordain ssa men who are themselves convinced and have convinced vocational screens and superiors they have integrated their sexuality and are able to function from their wellness and not their 'pathology'.*To another correspondent I had this to say:
... as far as the ordaining of ssa men, the Holy See permits it so long as the person is detached from gay culture, is stable, chaste, faithful, and so on. (At least that is what I have been told by spiritual directors, vocation directors, priests and at least one bishop. Just last week another priest repeated it to me. As I always say - the discernment of a vocation lies ultimately with the Church and is between the person and his legitimate superiors. I just pray, pay and obey - and blog.)At any rate, I think the Groeschel interview shed some light on how things 'used to be' handled, and how Church authorities want to move on and put all of that behind them. Rightly so, however, the elephant is still in the room, isn't it.
"Of course, anything critical of homosexuality offends modern standards, even the standards of some within the Church." - Regis Scanlon, O.F.M. Cap.
Providentially, Fr. Regis Scanlon has an article discussing the scandal, stating questions still remain. he is specifically addressing the presence of homosexuals in the priesthood. If I remember correctly, fr. Scanlon once argued that the vow of celibacy could not be taken by a homosexual due to the fact it refers to abstaining from marriage - conjugal love, as well as the fact that the homosexual is already bound by moral law to abstain from homosexual acts. In short, it wouldn't be valid since the person's sexual orientation is objectively disordered. I'm not visiting that argument here - experts can debate that - I'm not qualified to do so. However, I located the text and will publish here Scanlon's theory:
The celibate homosexual male, therefore, doesn't need a vow to give up sex with men. He already has a divine law obliging him to do so."One of the 'disturbing problems' in the Church today is that 'homosexuality exists in monasteries and among the clergy.'” - Benedict XVI
Because the homosexual is already bound by the natural and divine law to renounce sexual relations with other males, he cannot renounce sexual activity with other males as a free gift to the Lord. And because he does not have a full and healthy attraction to women, he cannot renounce the possibility of sexual relations with women. One cannot renounce what one does not have! - Source
I don't know - I'm sure there are those who would like to argue Father Scanlon's positions. Myself, I've never heard anyone else propose such a notion that ssa men can't make a valid vow of chastity. To me that is almost like saying a destitute person couldn't make a vow of poverty if he entered religious life. I accept his POV for what it is - his point of view. That said, Fr. Regis is apparently not at all in favor of ordaining ssa men. However, the point of my post here is to call attention to his argument that the presence of ssa men in the priesthood may pose a problem, and in my opinion, was the problem which led to the cover-ups and the sanctioning of transfers rather than laicization. Anyway - what follows is Fr. Scanlon's most recent views on the matter. (My apologies this post is so long - I always like to get my 2 cents in as well. It's why I blog I suppose.)
... [T]he Vatican still sees a need to encourage more thoroughness when screening priesthood candidates.So there you have it. As I said to another person, Fr. Benedict's statements really betray a vulnerable culture which believed men based on sacramental graces and displays of sincere penitence, giving them the benefit of the doubt, permitting second and third chances. Every one makes mistakes, sometimes pricey ones - we just hate to admit it or let it be known. Personally, I believe men with ssa can move away from that identity and be ordained or admitted to religious profession. Nevertheless, it is up to the Church and the appointed authorities to make that decision. What is impossible for man, is possible for God.
Why? I would suggest that, from the start, reforms concentrated on defensive measures—protecting young people from predators who may be lurking in the clergy. That is well and good. However, a more important question remains unanswered: why should the Church allow predators to be lurking among the clergy in the first place?
... the sex abuse crisis was the overwhelming work of a very small number of clergy targeting young males as their victims. This fact suggests one reform that has yet to be addressed: the Church must screen out clergy candidates with same-sex attractions.
At first, this reform appeared to be on the radar. In 2004, the National Review Board stated that while the sex abuse crisis had no single cause, “an understanding of the crisis is not possible” without reference to “the presence of homosexually oriented priests.” The board cited the data: “eighty percent of the abuse at issue was of a homosexual nature.”
Dr. Paul McHugh, a former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a member of the National Review Board, put it more strongly. Quoted in an August 25, 2006 National Catholic Register editorial, he observed that the John Jay study had revealed a crisis of “homosexual predation on American Catholic youth.”
But that warning soon disappeared from the public perception. The John Jay conclusions began to be explained as an “environment” problem. This new interpretation was made official in a 2011 John Jay report, “Causes and Context.”
Before going further, let’s be clear: sexual predators come in both homosexual and heterosexual orientations. In either variety, sexual predation is evil, and homosexual behavior isn’t the only sexual sin, or the only problem. All sexual sins can gain strength unless the clergy formation process includes an emphasis on spirituality, prayer, and asceticism. But the data from the John Jay study strongly suggests that a homosexual influence in the clergy is a key factor in the sex abuse crisis.
Of course, anything critical of homosexuality offends modern standards, even the standards of some within the Church. But those are not the standards of the Catholic Church, and her teaching. Pope Benedict XVI, for example, says in his recent book, “Light of the World,” that one of the “disturbing problems” in the Church today is that “homosexuality exists in monasteries and among the clergy.” He goes on to say that “homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation.”
The Pope’s statements are backed by the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” (#2358), and other documents which declare that homosexual behavior is “objectively disordered.”
We must face facts. The data overwhelmingly identifies the main victims of the sex abuse crisis as young men. Furthermore, what critics call “access to boys” is a natural consequence of Church life, and the male priesthood. Therefore, true reform should not be to question “access to boys,” but to reconsider, with compassion and wisdom, whether clergy roles are appropriate for any man who finds “access to boys” a sexual temptation. - Source
*I'm not suggesting that such conviction is necessarily inauthentic either.