Sexual abuse in the Catholic church is an uncomfortable topic. It is even more uncomfortable to talk about the same sex abuse of young men and boys by priests. We’d like to avoid that topic. Unfortunately, we have. We took the easy way out too many times before. Once again, the predators want us to look the other way so they can go on with their abuse. The problem won’t go away on its own.
Sexual abuse claims have already cost the church four billion dollars. That explains why so many church properties were closed and sold. That explains why church activities were cancelled. The payments will increase as more victims come forward. Paying the victims while leaving the predators in place is only enabling the abuse. Here are some relevant facts.
A small fraction of priests is sexually attracted to men and boys. That is broadly true across similar occupations such as school teachers, ministers, rabbis and priests. The vast majority of the sexual abuse recorded in the recent report is man-on-young-man or man-on-boy. That means that the small minority of same sex attracted priests are causing the vast majority of sexual abuses. Those are the facts, and you can read the reports for yourself. (here, here and here)
Yes, some opposite sex attracted priests abused women and girls. Got it. That is bad, but solving that problem leaves the vast majority of the abuse unaddressed and unchecked. Let’s fix all of it, but let’s look at the larger problems first.
Priests and bishops who were attracted to young men and boys were fifteen times more likely to commit sexual abuse than priests who were attracted to the opposite sex.
Now wait a minute. How can that be? We were told that men and women are alike. We’re told that homosexuals and heterosexuals are the same…only different. That marked propensity of same sex attracted men to abuse others has to be a sexist lie. Only, it isn’t.
It is one thing for people to desire sex. It is another thing altogether for them to go so far as to think they are entitled to any sex they want. Sexual predators groom vulnerable partners so they can have the sex they desire on their own terms. Abusers use their positions of power to coerce their victims and to hide their actions afterwards. That is true for men and women, for opposite sex attracted and for same sex attracted abusers.
Same sex attracted priests and bishops are not different than the abusers we’ve seen in Hollywood. They are corrupt men who sought power over others so they could fulfill their sexual ambitions. It wasn’t pretty when Woody Allen did it, when Harvey Milk did it, when Bill Clinton did it, when Harvey Weinstein did it, or when Matt Lauer did it. The ongoing abuse in the Catholic Church is ugly.
The abuse inside the church will be very hard to correct. It will be impossible to stop if we look away. The victims deserve better.
I gave you 500 words for free. Please share and comment. RM
Image: CCO Creative Commons; Excerpted from: https://pixabay.com/en/cry-barbed-wire-caught-kneeling-1919491/