The vast majority of cases of clerical sex abuse is homosexual in nature rather than pedophilia according to an analysis published Saturday in the National Catholic Register.
In recent weeks, the Catholic Church has been shaken by revelations of extensive sexual abuse in six dioceses of Pennsylvania, in the major seminary of Tegucigalpa (Honduras), in Chile, and on the part of a prominent American cardinal.
While much of the abuse dates back to several decades ago, it has provoked anger, frustration, disgust, and cries for justice and accountability by those responsible and those who knew something and failed to act.
According to Saturday’s widely cited and circulated analysis by Msgr. Charles Pope, the Church must urgently address the problem that lies at the root of the scandals: a widespread homosexual culture among clergy and bishops.
The problem of active homosexuality in the priesthood is “the most-avoided topic related to this scandal,” Pope writes, and yet an honest discussion of the current crisis “cannot avoid addressing the issue — shouts of homophobia, intolerance, bigotry and scapegoating notwithstanding.”
“It is evident that the vast majority of the cases involving both the sexual abuse of minors and of adults involve male victims,” Pope writes, citing the comprehensive 2004 John Jay Report, which found that 81 percent of the victims of clerical sex abuse were male and 78 percent of all victims were post-pubescent.
“So, the large majority of cases involved attraction by homosexuals to young men who, though legally minors, were physically and sexually mature males, not little children,” he writes.
“This is not pedophilia. It is homosexual attraction,” he writes, adding that the statistical evidence of the recent scandals also shows “a highly disproportionate level of homosexual involvement.”
According to Msgr. Pope, the logical conclusion from the studies is that seminaries and the priesthood are not good places for those with deep-seated same-sex attraction.
“Putting a man with same-sex attraction in a seminary is no more advisable than putting a heterosexual man in a woman’s dormitory where he shares shower facilities and close quarters with women,” he notes. “A man with same-sex attraction is going to face temptations in all-male settings that would test the strongest.”
“Add to this the possibility that other men of same-sex attraction are there and soon enough a subculture sets up where temptations are fierce, and compromises and liaisons soon emerge,” he writes. “And this is what we have seen in the ‘gay’ subculture that is demonstrably existent among a significant number of clergy in the Church.”
Msgr. Pope has suggested that an honest discussion of the recent crisis must address and analyze these facts clearly and straightforwardly.