Clerical Sexual Misconduct
There are four parts in this book. The first looks at the data on clerical sexual abuse. The
second seeks to examine problems in the larger society that has contributed to this. The third looks at the legal
aspects and the fourth very importantly identifies the Catholic solution towards an authentic renewal.
Both turn out to have been sexual deviants themselves. Indeed so many of the "expert"s turn out to have had their own very personal agenda. Also of great interest was the effects of cultural Marxism in the Church, universities and other institutions. This movement sought to eradicate traditional sexual morality especially by promoting sexual activity in young people.
Some of the findings noted are well known but fully worth reiterating: rates of pedophilia in the Church are much lower than in the wider society. However, the majority of victims in the Church are adolescent males. In the wider society they are young females.
In my own, now sadly dated, CTS booklet on the subject, I suggested that homosexuality was at least part of the problem. For saying this, I was criticized in the liberal Catholic media. I was therefore particularly interested in the chapters on homosexuality by Paul Sullins. It would appear that in the last decade, seminarians are more likely to be orthodox in belief and less likely to be homosexual. As a result, there are less current reports of sexual abuse of young males within the Church. His conclusion appears straightforward: both homosexual Catholic priests and the spate of male-on-male abuse have come and gone, in twin waves that crested 30 years ago and have now receded to almost nothing. We can but hope he is correct: some excellent young Catholics told me recently about their negative experiences in a well known seminary not too far from Britain. Less dramatic but more enduring is the sexual abuse of females, which over the same period of time has taken place at a relatively constant rate that persists undiminished to the present day.
It is also noted elsewhere in the book that gay men are more likely to have been sexually molested as boys and to have experienced other forms of family disruption. The abusers of children are more likely to have been abused themselves as children. Gay men see these experiences as less harmful than heterosexual men. They may not fully realize the damage caused.
The book ends with a discussion of how the Church can recover from this tragedy. We need masculine priests who image the person of Jesus Christ. We have met them, loads of them and thank God for them. Towards the end of my own booklet, I asked the question: how can we get to heaven without priests? Masculinity and tenderness can and ought to go together. I have noticed that priests who have a strong devotion to Our Lady are particularly good in the confessional. We see this combination of masculinity and tenderness in the saints, Saint Francis de Sales, for example. There also needs to be an orthodox formation in the seminaries. So much of the seventies theology turned out to be useless psycho-babble. The authors also call for a return to a Catholic morality that is solidly scriptural.
In summary, this is by far the best book on the subject.