Protecting the Lavender Mafia?
One of the requirements of teaching CCD in the Diocese of Scranton is attendance at a diocesan-sponsored training course on sexual abuse. So in November I attended one and watched the video Protecting God’s Children at a local Catholic school.
Protecting God’s Children, produced by The National Catholic Risk Retention Group Inc., achieves its main objective: raising the awareness of diocesan volunteers and employees about the widespread problem of sexual abuse of minors in our society. What troubles me, though, about Protecting God’s Children is that it misses the mark by diverting attention away from the root cause of the clergy sex abuse scandal, which was the catalyst for this course in the first place.
Arguably, the intention of the training course is not to find the exact coordinates of the scandal’s epicenter, but rather to give Church workers a set of tools to identify and prevent sexual predators from causing harm to children. I think the course does this. However effective the course might be, I would argue that Protecting God’s Children will fail to stop clergy sexual abuse. In order to solve a problem, one must understand its root cause. Knowing the root cause, one can then take corrective action that goes to the root of the problem. The best approach to problem-resolution is usually the most direct approach, the one that aims at the target and hits it. Using a hunting analogy, if I am hunting for a spring gobbler, I would not take aim at a hen. As I sat through the two-hour training course that night, I could not help thinking that the Church had shot the hen.
What is the root cause of the clergy sexual abuse scandal? Reading Michael S. Rose’s Goodbye, Good Men reinforced my growing realization about the nature of clergy sexual abuse: It was the work of homosexual predators in the priesthood. Were there cases of priests molesting girls? Yes. Were there cases of lay employees molesting young people? Yes. But, the reason some 50 Church workers in my Diocese were attending a training course that night was because of homosexual priests.
As I watched the video recounting the stories of four abuse victims (two girls and two boys), I recalled one glaring statistic from the John Jay study, provided for the Church: 81 percent. Eighty-one percent of the victims in the Church’s sexual abuse scandal were boys molested or raped by clergy. The following is a quote from the National Review Board’s report on the crisis: “That 81 percent of the reported victims of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy were boys shows that the crisis was characterized by homosexual behavior.”
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