Remember when the apostles James and John, the sons of Zebedee, commissioned a post-Judas investigative report on the causes of treachery? Neither do I.
Bishops also agreed to spend up to $1.5 million from a $20 million endowment fund to partly fund a massive study on the causes of priestly sexual abuse. The USCCB hopes to raise the remainder of the cost of the study, slated to cost between $3 million and $5 million, from private foundations.
Is there a single Catholic on the planet -- and I include the bishops' own mothers in the question -- who really believes the purpose of this study is to discover -- and not to camouflage -- the causes of priestly sexual abuse? Bishop Howard Hubbard's private investigator charged him $2.4 million to come to the conclusion that allegations of sexual misconduct made against him had "no merit" -- and nobody laughed. Here too we can be sublimely confident that the scholars whom the bishops commission will find the principal "cause" of sexual abuse to be insufficient attention to the notions of the scholars whom the bishops commission. * Expect multiple appendices detailing improved reporting procedures, seminary screening for doctrinal rigidity, and recipes for Rice Krispie Marshmallow Treats.
In the same spirit of confidence, let me foretell some conclusions the researchers won't draw.
- Apostolic pro-Nuncio Jean Jadot (1973-1980) significantly damaged the U.S. episcopacy by the appointment of young, gay-friendly bishops who formed a self-defense network still in force.
- The institutional "occasion" of the crisis is not secrecy, but blackmail, in which secrecy is merely instrumental. A clergyman with dirt in his past -- whether hetero or homosexual in nature -- is blackmailable and incapable of acting against the crimes of other clergy except under duress.
- Psychotherapists don't fix sins.
- Too many individuals employed in priestly formation were and are in the business because they like to be around young men. This is not unconnected with the grossly defective instruction common in post-WW2 seminaries.
- "Between men who want to have sex with adolescent boys and men who do not want to have sex with adolescent boys, the former are more likely to have sex with adolescent boys." (Richard Neuhaus)
- Blackmail is not eradicated by systemic change or bureaucratic adjustment: firings (or firing squads) are necessary.
- While Bishops Dupre and O'Connell are still refusing to testify about their own sexual abuse -- with their brethren at least tacitly consenting -- $1.5 million plus is going into the pockets of those who will almost certainly not tell us what Dupre and O'Connell can tell us about "the causes."
Trust restored, yet?
This is one of the first articles I have seen from a respected Catholic publication which mentions "blackmail." About time; there's never been a doubt in my mind that blackmail has been the 1000 pound monkey in the living room.
One also wonders how long (and how much more money) it will take for the Bishops to arrive at the MOST obvious conclusion: DO NOT ORDAIN HOMOSEXUALS!!!
* Courtesy of Terrence Berres, following is a report on the "Study Authors" from Peter Iseley, the local SNAP honcho:
Most alarmingly, a new study is being commissioned at the urging of Dr. Paul McHugh of the National Review Board.
McHugh, once head of the department of psychiatry at John Hopkins, has a long and controversial history of taking anti-law enforcement positions on the treatment of child sex offenders. McHugh was appointed three years ago by the bishops to the lay National Review Board.
While the chair of psychiatry at John Hopkin's university, McHugh's subordinate, sex disorder clinic head Dr. Fred Berlin admitted that he covered up for sex criminals and violated state law.
Dr. McHugh said that the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic was correct to conceal multiple incidents of child rape and fondling to police. This, despite a state law that required that staffers report these crimes against children.
The Sexual Disorders Clinic was founded by Dr. John Money, who openly defends pedophilia and once gave an interview to Paidika, the Dutch journal of pedophilia. In his interview, Money said that a relationship between a boy and a man would not be pathological in any way-as long as it was by mutual consent.
McHugh, along with priest psychologists from St. Luke's Institute in Maryland, Frs. Steven Rossetti and Canice Conners, have long advocated the return of "some" child abusers to ministry. Both Conners and Rossetti are members of the bishop's ad hoc committee on sexual abuse.
Rossetti, the current president of St. Luke's, has been cited by Maryland authorities for never reporting a child sex offender cleric while head of he St. Luke's institute.
Indeed, against the majority of clinicians and scientists working with sex offenders, McHugh, Conners and Rossetti have all championed to bishops the idea that most child priest sex offenders are not "real" pedophiles.
In an alarming development last year, the Vatican hosted a symposium on pedophilia, which, of course, included Frs. Conners and Rossetti. Both men continued to urge the Vatican to drop zero-tolerance for all acts of criminal child sexual abuse.