Monday, February 26, 2007

'Blame The Gays For CSA In RC Church' Time Again (USA)

The U.S. bishops are undertaking a second study of the priest abuse scandal.

Those conducting the research say hot button issues such as homosexuality and dissent will be part of the study.

The first phase of the study, conducted in 2004 by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, was considered a landmark in its field.

John Jay’s first report called for a more searching examination of the effects of homosexuality on the priesthood. It stated, “For those who choose to ordain homosexuals, there appears to be a need for additional scrutiny and perhaps additional or specialized formation to help them with the challenge of priestly celibacy.”

The bishops in November allocated funding for a follow-up on causes and context. It’s expected to be similarly groundbreaking.

Teresa Kettelkamp, executive director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, pointed out that in the first phase of the study John Jay proved its “open, objective, thorough, impeccable and professional.”

She said the follow-up wouldn’t pull any punches when it comes to tough issues like homosexuality.

“Their reputation is on the line at a very high level, and they are not willing to risk their reputation by getting steered by external forces of political correctness,” Kettelkamp said. “I’m convinced they are seeking truth, and know how to find it.”

Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist and the author of the book Homosexuality and Hope, said that, after the first study, “the facts speak for themselves: Seventy-five to 80 percent of victims in the sex abuse crisis were adolescent males, so the cause is primarily the homosexual predation of adolescent males.”

He said John Jay researchers “were a good choice for that study of statistical data, and those findings are what confirmed for us that this is a homosexual crisis.”

The first report by John Jay, which is part of the City University of New York, found that at least 10,667 boys and girls were abused by Catholic clergymen in the United States between 1950 and 2002, and between 75 and 80 percent of the abuse involved adolescent male victims.

Margaret Smith, data analyst for John Jay on the causes and contexts study, said John Jay would look at every factor.

“I’m a researcher,” she said. “I have no interest in being politically correct.”

It was Smith’s analysis of church personnel files and complaint files by parents and grown victims of prior sexual abuse that established the statistics regarding adolescent male victims.

Yet Smith takes issue with Fitzgibbons’ assertion that homosexuality is a cause for major concern. Smith said sexual preference or inclination may be largely “irrelevant” to the causes and contexts of sexual abuse of children.

“In secular society, the majority of men treated for sexual abuse of adolescent boys consider themselves heterosexual, so you cannot make this problem go away by saying the problem is homosexual priests,” Smith said. “That’s overly simplistic. Very many heterosexual men engage occasionally in homosexual behavior.”

Smith said while some psychologists and psychiatrists see a distinction between adults having sex with children and adults having sex with adolescents, the law sees it all as child abuse.
“If the victim is under the age of consent, it’s child abuse. That simple,” Smith said. “When someone abuses a child, it usually has little to do with sexual preference. It’s about abusing a child.”

In the study, however, Smith and other researchers will try to determine how many priests who have abused children identify themselves as homosexual.

Karen Terry, the principal investigator on the causes and contexts study, responded that there is “nothing in our data to indicate that this is or is not a crisis of homosexuality.”

“Although 81 percent of the victims in our study were male, it is not clear whether this is due to a sexual attraction to the male victims or whether the priests primarily abused males because this is the population to whom they had access,” she said.

“For instance, in prison,” she said, “many individuals of the same gender have sexual relationships even though most would identify themselves as heterosexual.”

The bishops’ conference has committed to spending $1 million on three phases of the causes and contexts study. At their November meeting in Baltimore, the bishops voted to draw down $335,000 for the first three segments of the six-segment study.

John Jay is also seeking outside funding, and the institution has contacted more than 100 foundations and funding organizations to help fund the study.

The first three research components, to be funded by bishops, include the historical context and influences, the institutional response by church leadership and a clinical/psychological component.

Patricia Ewers, chairwoman of the National Review Board, said in response to concerns about John Jay being “only” a criminal justice college, not a medical or psychiatric research institute: “We received over 20 proposals to conduct the causes and contexts phase, and John Jay’s proposal was by far the most thorough and impressive. John Jay will work with other appropriate institutions in this study. John Jay is coordinating this effort, not undertaking all of the research on its own.”

Role of dissent

In November 2005, the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education issued an “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.”

The Vatican instruction states that “the church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’”

“Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women,” said the document. “One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”

In a 2002 speech, Pope John Paul II linked the abuse scandals with seminary instruction and called for the exclusion of seminary candidates with observable “deviations in their affections.”

“It would be lamentable if, out of a misunderstood tolerance, they ordained young men who are immature or have obvious signs of affective deviations that, as is sadly known, could cause serious anomalies in the consciences of the faithful, with evident damage for the whole church,” the holy father said.

His words echoed a 1961 instruction to the superiors of religious communities on “Careful Selection and Training of Candidates for the States of Perfection and Sacred Orders” that barred homosexuals from ordination.

Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, cited the report’s “bombshell” discovery that the abuse crisis wasn’t pedophilia but “homosexual predation on American Catholic youth.”

He told the National Catholic Register: “I’m astonished that people throughout America are not talking about it, thinking about it, and wondering about what the mechanisms were that set this alight.”

In his address to U.S. cardinals called to a special summit on abuse at the Vatican in 2002, Pope John Paul II said Catholics “must know that bishops and priests are totally committed to the fullness of Catholic truth on matters of sexual morality, a truth as essential to the renewal of the priesthood and the episcopate as it is to the renewal of marriage and family life.”

The “historical context and influences” portion of the study will look at the church and society “to frame our analysis of sexual abuse by priests.” One hypothesis researchers plan to explore is whether social changes of the 1960s and ’70s increased sexual attraction by adults to children.
Among four hypotheses researchers will explore while examining the response by church leadership is that a “higher tolerance for non-traditional sexual behavior (adult heterosexual and homosexual relationships) will have a higher tolerance (and slower response) to abuse of children.”

Researchers also want to know if beliefs opposed to church doctrine played a role in sexual abuse.

“We seek to ask priests who have abused about their thoughts and understanding of how they viewed their actions in relation to their roles as priests,” Smith said.

“If you’re asking me whether we’ll look for correlations between abuse and priests who dissent from church teaching on, say, birth control, then that’s not relevant. I say that because 94 percent of priests didn’t abuse children, and certainly they don’t all agree with 100 percent of church teachings.”



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