One of the things that has been bothering me this past “Summer of Hell” for the Catholic Church – my Catholic Church – is the utter mischaracterization by many in the mainstream press of the true nature of the problem. Noted psychotherapist (former priest) Richard Sipe nailed it. He identified the problem long ago as a problem of homosexual predation – that is, sexual predation on young men, post-puberty, by priests and, very importantly, bishops, of a homosexual nature. The data is clear. The sexual crimes and sins being committed are rooted in same-sex attraction. YES, there are priests who have abused women. YES, there are abuse victims who are under the age of legal majority. But the overwhelming majority of victims have been post-pubescent males. We’re talking about physically mature men being sought out by older men. I would say let’s take the criminal element off the table but we can’t. ANYTIME someone abuses another person of any gender should be considered criminal, though the law has not always treated it as such. But to get to the root of the problem we face now we must have the courage to admit that the victims are mostly the same sex as the predators. When we admit this we can then see that the there is a pool of potential victims in the seminaries of the Catholic Church.
At this moment I could identify to you several priests who are actively engaged in homosexual relationships with other men – priests and laymen. If the “partners” are over 18 and have consented then there is no crime. The hierarchy hide behind this. Even if there is a crime they run out the clock on the statute of limitations. This is why the bishops are careful to craft their “response” as dealing with sexual abuse of “young people and vulnerable adults”. Do they ever consider seminarians “vulnerable”? Nope. Look, there’s so much going on here that it’s hard to sort it out. And yet it always comes back to this. There has been for at least fifty years a cadre, a cabal, a current of same-sex-attracted men engaging in homosexual acts with other men and doing so from the other side of a Roman collar. This ought to concern every faithful Catholic. While the Western world currently holds as a bigot anyone who dares to claim the thousands’ year old belief that homosexuality is an intrinsically disordered condition; the Catholic Church has always held to this belief. I’m not asking you to believe what I just stated at its core. But you cannot deny that the Church has always taught this. Moving on from here we encounter brazen hypocrisy at best.
Sipe, who died literally as this summer was breaking open with its ghoulish revelations of the McCarrick’s and Wuerl’s of the world and their “misdeeds”, believed it. He knew what the problem was. His answer, his solution, was not the one I would have proposed. He thought that things would be better if we just got it out in the open and allowed priests and laymen to be practitioners of a “normalized” homosexuality. But he never denied that the problem in the Church was rooted in the same homosexuality.
So let’s talk about that school where I worked. Remember that I’m not using names. Here’s the story. From the time I was in college seminary I belonged to the Knights of Columbus. I had been told by my rector that it was a good thing to belong because they gave financial support to seminarians. Indeed, over the few years I was active I did receive a few hundred dollars and I was most appreciative. In my time at this particular council I had the opportunity to bring my dad and several brothers-in-law into the group. For Dad, just having retired, it was a great social group and he would bring me with him on occasional Friday nights to have a beer at the bar with the guys. During our conversations the members, who all belonged to the attached parish, talked frequently and in very hostile tones about one of the young priests who had recently been assigned to that parish. The long and short of it? This guy was bad news. They all knew he had abused a few young men. They knew he had been removed from the parish. They knew that he came from a wealthy family. And they knew that the whole thing had been hushed up by the archdiocese.
When I say “they knew” I’m using their words. I had no proof nor did they except what everyone had heard. Remember how when the McCarrick mess first broke everyone said “we all knew”… but no one would tell. Enough of that bullshit.
These men were typical in many ways. When you think of blue collar, Jersey guys you’d think of them. They were mad as hell when they talked about this priest. And they were mad as hell that nothing could be done about him. They spoke as if they knew the victims because they probably did. They wanted to fight but couldn’t.
After I left the seminary and subsequently left the TV industry I started teaching in a Catholic high school. Guess who I encountered. Right there. Teaching. As a priest amidst 800 boys between the ages of 14 and 18. If I told you that the diocesan administrator of schools was of a similar ilk would you be surprised? We know the archbishop was into dudes. The head of the schools office, if he wasn’t gay, was a very convincing actor. And I am NOT trying to imply that every gay man wants to rape teenage boys. What I am trying to do is draw the picture for you. These men entered priesthood knowing they were gay, hiding that fact, and, never intending to live their commitment to celibacy, established a network where they would get their jollies and cover for each other. They protected each other. They lied. They committed demonic acts. They abused everyone in their path who didn’t agree with them and that went for those who favored more traditional liturgical practices as well as those who’s view of marriage and family stopped at mother/father/children. Are you starting to understand what the term “Lavender Mafia” means now? And no, lifting the celibacy requirement for Roman priests will not address this problem. When was the last time that encouraging a gay man to marry a woman changed his orientation?
Look, draw your own conclusions. I know what I heard. I remember the things I saw. And I will no longer pretend it didn’t happen/isn’t happening nor will I remain silent out of fear that people wouldn’t believe.
Pray for the Church.