Bishops

Catholic Bishops Caught in Conflict of Interest Over Immigration

Deal W. Hudson
March 30, 2017

Since Donald Trump became president, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has released ten statements regarding immigration. Each of these statements oppose the policies of the new administration regarding travel restrictions, building a security barrier, immigration resettlement, deportation, and sanctuary cities.

However, what none of these statements disclose is this: The USASpending.gov website reveals that the USCCB received more than $91 million for resettlement programs for Syrian refugees. The average Catholic who reads about the bishops’ ardent opposition to President Trump on immigration issues is not aware of this startling conflict of interest. It’s fair to assume, also, that when the USCCB claims to help resettle “approximately 30 percent of all refugees entering the U.S. each year,” American Catholics assume their donations are funding this effort.

It might fairly be asked, does it matter whether or not the USCCB’s resettlement program is funded in part, or in full, by the federal government? Assuming the program is fully in line with the Church’s teaching on immigration, what does it matter where the money comes from as long as the job gets done? How else would over 100 Catholic dioceses in the U.S., Guam, and Puerto Rico have refugee resettlement offices?

Doesn’t the Church compromise its prophetic voice when she becomes dependent on the state for not only programs but also maintaining infrastructure? And what becomes of bold proclamations by the bishops for or against immigration and resettlement policy, when they have a vested interested in keeping those monies flowing. Finally, why aren’t Catholics made aware that when the plate is passed annually for donations to the USCCB, Catholic Charities, and CRS, they are being asked to pay a second time, assuming they are taxpayers?

Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services received $202,000,000 and $426,943,000 respectively in 2016. For CRS, federal monies accounted for 64.70 percent of its total annual budget, for Catholic Charities, 11 percent. In total, Catholic institutions in the United States received over $500,000,000 in federal funding in 2016. (It’s interesting to note that Planned Parenthood received nearly the same amount of government funding in 2016.)

With these amounts of money flowing through Church budgets, it’s hard to know where the Church ends and the State begins. The Obama years, by the way, added to the largess: there was a $120,000,000 increase in CRS funding during Obama’s first year in office, and the $91,000,000 paid directly to the USCCB was unprecedented.

The Catholic bishops’ latest release from March 22 is a “pastoral reflection” from the Administrative Committee of the USCCB calling upon Catholics to, “Call, write or visit your elected representative and ask them to fix our broken immigration system in a way that safeguards both our security and our humanity through a generous opportunity for legal immigration.”

But to tell the truth, the bishops have shown little or no concern for border security, which is one of the reasons Catholic voters supported Trump/Pence 52 percent to 45 percent. A common argument being used against border security is that the “first duty” of the government is not to protect its citizens but, “to welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the human person. Persons have the right to immigrate and thus government must accommodate this right to the greatest extent possible, especially financially blessed nation.”

This explanation of immigration policy from the Office of Migration and Public Affairs of the USCCB, to my mind and many other Catholics, describes exactly how the United States has been trying to accommodate immigrants and refugees for many years. America has been generous with its bounty, not out of duty but out of its identity as a nation of immigrants.

What the bishops fail to realize is that what they call the “second duty is to secure one’s border and enforce the law for the sake of the common good” has been ignored for too long. That’s why there are both duties, to make sure that generosity does not become a danger, or that national security does not close our open arms. It was Donald Trump, not the bishops, who recognized this imbalance and is seeking to correct it. And it was voters, especially Catholic voters, gave President Trump the mandate to “enforce the law for the sake of the common good.”

After the election, instead of reaching out to the new administration, the bishops began their barrage of press releases, but even worse, this past February twenty-four bishops signed what was called the “Message from Modesto.” This statement was nothing less than a declaration of activist war on the Trump administration. It quotes Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego at length, calling for a grassroots strategy of “disruption” against those, “who would seek to send troops into our communities to deport the undocumented, to destroy our families.”

The Catholic Bishops should stop for a moment and reevaluate whether this is the posture they want to take against a president who doing precisely what they describe as the “second duty” of government. They also need to ask themselves whether after the $91,000,000 from the Obama administration in 2016 they retain the high moral ground to address the immigration issue.

Read Newsmax: Catholic Bishops Caught in Conflict of Interest Over Immigration | Newsmax.com
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Bishops, Vatican Cardinal Declare War on Trump

Deal W. Hudson
February 19, 2017

On February 19, 24 bishops and a cardinal from the Vatican published and signed the “Message from Modesto,” which in practical terms amounts to a declaration of activist war on the new administration of President Donald Trump. This is no exaggeration. The document explicitly calls for “Disrupting oppression and dehumanization.” And just what do the bishops have in mind? The document quotes Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego:

“We must disrupt those who would seek to send troops into our communities to deport the undocumented, to destroy our families. We must disrupt those who portray refugees as enemies. We must disrupt those who train us to see Muslim men and women as a source of threat rather than children of God. We must disrupt those who would take away healthcare, who would take food from our children.”

In short, the bishops and a high-ranking Vatican cardinal have signed a pledge to “disrupt” the Trump administration over immigration, the fight against terrorism, and healthcare. The cardinal who signed, Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the new Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development is a close adviser to Pope Francis, who is quoted at the beginning of the “Message from Modesto,” who describes the “system that causes enormous suffering to the human family, simultaneously assaulting people’s dignity and our Common Home in order to sustain the invisible tyranny of money that only guarantees the privileges of a few.”

Cardinal Turkson and the 24 U.S. bishops attending the event consider this an “urgent message to popular movement members, and leaders in the United States and globally, and to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Pope Francis.” At the time of this writing, no specific response has been made by any individual bishops, the USCCB, or Pope Francis. But given Turkson’s relation to the Holy Father, it is safe to assume Pope Francis is in full agreement with the strategy to cause disruptions.

In fact, Pope Francis wrote a lengthy letter of congratulation prior to the meeting, which was remarkable for two phrases:

“I know that you have committed yourselves to fight for social justice, to defend our Sister Mother Earth and to stand alongside migrants.”

“I feel is important to say it again: no people is criminal and no religion is terrorist. Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist.”

As a longtime student of Catholic theology, it has been my assumption that deifying the Earth was the habit of pagan polytheists. And, as someone who reads the news daily, it has also been my observation that Muslim terrorists have cut off the heads off fellow Muslims, at least one Catholic priest, and slaughtered thousands more in acts of violence around the globe, always proclaiming “Allahu Akbar,” Allah is the greatest.

The same bewilderment of thought is found throughout the “Message from Modesto.” Thus, it comes as no surprise that more and more lay Catholics are growing increasing bewildered themselves by this pontificate.

As I wrote last week, it is my urgent hope that individual bishops and cardinals repudiate the document for what it is: a distorted use of Catholic social teaching to not merely challenge the policies of the new administration but to engage as activists in disruptive protests and, presumably, lawsuits. John Zmirak has written a scathing analysis of Modesto document, but adds his own particular flavor to the argument: “What’s asserted in the Message from Modesto is madness, plain and simple. It is shrill, moralistic nonsense you might expect from an angry teenager who’d been reading Marxist websites and going through hormone surges.”

Other signers include Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin (Newark, New Jersey), Bishop Shelton J. Fabre (Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana), Bishop Oscar Cantu (Las Cruces, New Mexico), Bishop David Talley (Alexandria, Louisiana), Bishop Stephen Blaire (Stockton, California), Bishop Armando Ochoa (Fresno, California) and Bishop Jaime Soto (Sacramento, California), and Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez, however, tried to caution the attendees not to become “just one more partisan voice on this issue.” I hope the good Archbishop realizes there’s is absolutely no chance it will turn out any other way. And the Soros-funded Catholic Left is, predictably, thrilled with “Disrupting the Donald.”

What I find particularly disheartening are the opening words of the “Message from Modesto,” “We believe that every human is sacred…” when a supporter of infanticide, Barack Obama, was elected president in 2008, and again in 2012, there was no outcry from the bishops. When President Obama set out immediately to dismantle all the protections of unborn life put in place by the administration of President George W. Bush, not a single bishop or cardinal talked about “disrupting” the most pro-abortion administration in American history. When Obamacare included federal funding for abortion, the USCCB published a pro forma complaint but supported the legislation behind the scenes.

As a Catholic, I cannot explain or justify the treatment of President Trump, especially when President Obama got a “free ride” from the bishops on his abortion policy and $500,000,000 of funding for Planned Parenthood. It’s nothing less than shameful. The moral authority of our bishops is being lost, and if the “Message from Modesto” is not publicly repudiated that authority will erode even further.

Read Newsmax: Bishops, Vatican Cardinal Declare War on Trump | Newsmax.com
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San Diego Bishop Tells Catholics to ‘All Become Disrupters’

Deal W. Hudson
February 20, 2017

Both the Catholic bishops of the United States and the Vatican have now virtually endorsed the strategy of “disruption” being used across the nation to oppose the new administration of President Trump. Held in Modesto, California, the U.S. Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements (WMPM), was sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Vatican’s Department of Integral Human Development to address issues of “land, labor, and lodging,” as well as racism and immigration.

The 700 attendees applauded and cheered as Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego told them, “President Trump was the candidate of disruption. . . . Well now, we must all become disrupters.” Bishop McElroy, along with Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Blaise Cupich, has emerged as a leading voice among “social justice” Catholics determined to rally the Catholic Church to reject President Trump’s leadership and policy agenda.

Bishop McElroy specifically cited the deportation of the illegal immigrants, the “undocumented,” the plan to dismantle Obamacare, and “those who train us to see Muslim men and women and children as sources of fear rather than as children of God.” McElroy decried the use of “alternate facts” and the “industries [that] have arisen to shape public opinion in destructively isolated and dishonest patterns.” Finally, the bishop urged attendees to, “Let all the world know that this economy kills.”

The message delivered by the Bishop of San Diego would not be so notable were it not for the context and its sponsorship. Vatican sponsorship came from the newly-created Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (IHD), headed by Cardinal Peter Turkson, one of the closest advisors to Pope Francis. Cardinal Turkson was the primary author of the papal encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si. It was Turkson who delivered the keynote address in Modesto. Under Turkson’s leadership similar conferences of “Popular Movements” have been held in the Vatican and other regions around the world.

Not only was the Modesto Conference co-sponsored by the Vatican and the USCCB but also by groups such as the PICO National Network. The PICO logo is displayed on the conference website alongside that of the Vatican, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and Terra Domus Labor. In addition to PICO — People Improving Communities through Organizing Service Employees International Union — the organizing committee included representatives from the Gamaliel Foundation. It has been widely reported and documented that both PICO and Gamaliel are recipients of funding from George Soros through his Open Society Foundation. PICO took Soros funding specifically aimed at controlling the media coverage of the visit of Pope Francis to the U.S. in April 2015.

Given Bishop McElroy’s message, the context, and the sponsorship, two questions must be posed to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and to each Bishop individually: Do you support Bishop McElroy’s message of “let us disrupt and rebuild”? Are you content with participating in events, protests, and “disruptions,” that are supported with funding from George Soros, whose Open Society Foundation is directly opposed to the Church’s teaching on abortion, contraception, and marriage?

With President Trump already well on his way to keeping all of his pro-life promises, it’s shocking that the Catholic bishops would align themselves with such of strategy of disruption and with allies sworn to oppose the core of the Church’s moral teaching. Lay Catholics, and many clergy, across the nation are not merely shocked, but disheartened and beginning to wonder if a formal schism is in the making.

The USCCB should, in my opinion, issue a press release distancing itself from the remarks of Bishop McElroy to make sure Catholics know he was expressing his individual opinion and not that of the bishops collectively. At the same time, the USCCB should reconsider its partnership with groups like PICO and Gamaliel for the simple reason that they do not share the moral vision of the Catholic Church on basic human rights and duties, and the connection to George Soros has become a highly visible scandal.

Dr. Deal W. Hudson took over Crisis Magazine in 1995, leaving in 2010 to become president of Catholic Advocate. While at Crisis, Hudson led the Catholic voter outreach for President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, and later advised the campaigns of both John McCain and Donald Trump on Catholic outreach. In 2014, he began his weekly two-hour radio show, “Church and Culture,” on the Ave Maria Radio Network, and launched http://www.thechristianreview.com in 2015. His books include “Happiness and the Limits of Satisfaction” and “Onward Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States.” To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

Read Newsmax: San Diego Bishop Tells Catholics to ‘All Become Disrupters’ | Newsmax.com
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Bishops Losing Their Moral Authority With Trump Rhetoric

Deal W. Hudson
February 6, 2017

During the 2016 election, I watched with disbelief, as all but a few Catholic bishops said nothing — in complicit silence — as Hillary Clinton, aggressively pro-abortion, ran for president. All the bishops did was attack Donald Trump on immigration and his promise to build a wall on the Mexican border.

Catholic voters repudiated the bishops’ view of the election, voting 52 to 45 percent for Trump-Pence. As an election issue, immigration was “trumped” by national security, ISIS terrorism, jobs, NAFTA, abortion, religious liberty, but most of all, by patriotism. Most Catholic voters had finally had enough of Obama’s America-bashing and saw Hillary as continuing to blame America for the world’s ills.

There was no group of leaders more shocked by the election outcome than the U.S. bishops and their primary supporters on the Catholic left, including Catholic colleges and universities, most women and men’s religious orders, liberal Catholic media, Catholic Democrats in Congress, and Soros-funded groups such as Catholics In Alliance With the Common Good.

But post-election, it appears the Catholic bishops have taken no lesson from the election results. They have virtually ignored the fact that President Trump wasted no time in keeping his pro-life promises: re-affirming the Mexico City Policy, banning the use of federal funds for abortions overseas, nominating an ostensibly pro-life judge for the open SCOTUS seat, and encouraging Congress to bring a bill defunding Planned Parenthood to his desk for signing.

Instead, the bishops continue bashing Trump, now POTUS, over immigration. As a prominent theologian and journalist Thomas Williams wrote a few days ago about Chicago Cardinal Blaise Cupich:

“Saying this is a ‘dark moment in U.S. history’ . . . undermines the moral authority of the episcopate that should know better than to issue careless statements of the sort. Catholics, and indeed all citizens, deserve better.”

Cardinal Cupich, along with San Diego Bishop, Robert McElroy, has emerged as the leaders of the Catholic Left among the bishops. It was Bishop McElroy who took the pains to point out how Catholic voters would be justified to ignore Hillary Clinton’s pro-abortion stance. Those who focus on “intrinsic evil,” he wrote are “simplistic” and “misleading.”

At the time, I missed the irony that McElroy’s column was published only days after the canonization of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Given that St. Mother Teresa is considered by Americans the “most admired person” of the 20th century, Bishop McElroy’s attempt to scoff at pro-lifers not only failed but has also contributed to the bishop’s loss of moral authority.

When bishops as popular as Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia and Cardinal Dolan of New York City continue to pound on President Trump about immigration, ignoring his pro-life achievements, just as in the election, the bishops will be the loser.

Read Newsmax: Bishops Losing Their Moral Authority With Trump Rhetoric | Newsmax.com
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It’s Not About Celibacy

Deal W. Hudson

The recent pedophile problems in various U.S. Catholic dioceses, especially Boston, have led – predictably – to a new wave of questions about priestly celibacy. Let us be clear: There is no relation between the vow of priestly celibacy and the incidence of pedophilia among Catholic priests.

How do I know this? There is less likelihood that a Catholic priest will be a pedophile (0.3 %) than a married man.

This statistic comes from the best and most current study of this issue, Pedophiles, and Priests by Philip Jenkins (Oxford University Press, 1996). Jenkins shows that true pedophilia, that is, sexual contact between an adult and pre-pubescent child is very rare in the Catholic priesthood.

Jenkins also explains how the media artificially exaggerates these numbers in their reporting. One U.S. Cardinal told me recently that many of the reported incidents of “child abuse” are actually complaints going back many years about the forms of corporal punishments administered by clergy in days-gone-by. Data about actual sexual contact and routine spanking or paddling are being thrown together.

The whole argument against a celibate, male clergy based on the pedophilia problem is, at best, impressionistic and, at worse, totally disingenuous.

Catholic dissidents who advocate married clergy and women priests are trying to take full advantage of this present situation. Never once do they mention that if a priest is faithful to his vows sexual relations of any kind will simply never occur. Just how allowing clergy to marry, presumably members of the opposite sex, will reduce pedophilia, is never explained.

The media is scrutinizing the Catholic Church on this issue in a way they have never looked at other institutional leaders, such as public elementary schools teachers, for example. The mere fact that the statistical incidence of pedophilia is the less than married men with children should give the media pause, but it does not and will not.

I can’t think of a single mainstream media outlet, with the possible exception of Fox News, that does not demonstrate a consistent bias against the Catholic Church. This is not to point a finger at every reporter and editor, but to underline the constant tone and drift of their reporting.

Why, for example, would MSNBC spend an evening inviting people to call in and vote on whether Catholic priests should be allowed to marry? Would MSNBC do a poll on whether Jews should be allowed to eat pork on their holy days?

As Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has shown for years, the media has no fear of offending Catholics because Catholics evidently don’t care if their faith is put up for a vote.

A statistical defense of the Catholic clergy, however, is not enough to address the present crisis. There must be serious rethinking of how to identify potential pedophiles before they enter the priesthood, and how to deal with them once an incident occurs. It is clear such a priest can never again to be assigned to duties that put children at risk.

The Church will get its house in order without the help of those who want to knock it down and start again.

10 Myths About Priestly Pedophilia

Deal W. Hudson

Myth #1 – Catholic priests are more likely to be pedophiles than other groups of men.

This is just plain false. There’s absolutely no evidence that priests are more likely to abuse children than are other groups of men. The use and abuse of children as objects for the sexual gratification of adults is epidemic in all classes, professions, religions, and ethnic communities across the globe, as figures on child pornography, incest, and child prostitution make abundantly clear. Pedophilia (the sexual abuse of a prepubescent child) among priests is extremely rare, affecting only 0.3% of the entire population of clergy. This figure, cited in the book Pedophiles and Priests by a non-Catholic scholar, Philip Jenkins, is from the most comprehensive study to date, which found that only one out of 2,252 priests considered over a thirty-year period was afflicted with pedophilia. In the recent Boston scandal, only four of the more than eighty priests labeled by the media as “pedophiles” are actually guilty of molesting young children.

Pedophilia is a particular type of compulsive sexual disorder in which an adult (man or woman) abuses prepubescent children. The vast majority of the clerical sex-abuse scandals now coming to light do not involve pedophilia. Rather, they involve ephebophilia – homosexual attraction to adolescent boys. While the total number of sexual abusers in the priesthood is much higher than those guilty of pedophilia, it still amounts to less than 2 percent – comparable to the rate among married men (Jenkins, Pedophiles, and Priests).

In the wake of the current crisis in the Church, other religious denominations and non-religious institutions have admitted to having similar problems with both pedophilia and ephebophilia among the ranks of their clergy. There’s no evidence that Catholic prelates are more likely to be pedophiles than Protestant ministers, Jewish leaders, physicians, or any other institution in which adults are in a position of authority and power over children.

Myth #2 – The celibate state of priests leads to pedophilia.

Celibacy bears no causal relation to any type of deviant sexual addiction including pedophilia. In fact, married men are just as likely as celibate priests to sexually abuse children (Jenkins, Priests and Pedophilia). In the general population, the majority of abusers are regressed heterosexual men who sexually abuse girls. Women are also found to be among those sexual abusers. While it’s difficult to obtain accurate statistics on childhood sexual abuse, the characteristic patterns of repeat child sex offenders have been well described. The profiles of child molesters never include normal adults who become erotically attracted to children as a result of abstinence (Fred Berlin, “Compulsive Sexual Behaviors” in Addiction and Compulsion Behaviors [Boston: NCBC, 1998]; Patrick J. Carnes, “Sexual Compulsion: Challenge for Church Leaders” in Addiction and Compulsion; Dale O’Leary, “Homosexuality and Abuse”).

Myth #3 – Married clergy would make pedophilia and other forms of sexual misconduct go away.

Some people – including a few vocal dissenting Catholics – are exploiting this crisis to draw attention to their own agendas. Some are demanding a married Catholic clergy in response to the scandal, as if marriage would make men stop hurting children. This flies in the face of the aforementioned statistic that married men are just as likely to abuse children as celibate priests (Jenkins, Pedophilia and Priests).

Since neither being Catholic nor being celibate predisposes a person to develop pedophilia, a married clergy wouldn’t solve the problem (“Doctors call for pedophilia research,” The Hartford Currant, March 23). One has only to look at similar crises in other denominations and professions to see this.

The plain fact is, healthy heterosexual men have never been known to develop erotic attractions to children as a result of abstinence.

Myth #4 – Clerical celibacy was a medieval invention.

Wrong. In the Western Catholic Church, celibacy became universally practiced in the 4th century, beginning with St. Augustine’s adoption of the monastic discipline for all of his priests. In addition to the many practical reasons for this discipline – it was supposed to discourage nepotism – the celibate lifestyle allowed priests to be more independent and available. This ideal also called diocesan priests to live out the same witness as their brothers in monastic life. The Church hasn’t changed her directives for celibacy, because over the centuries she has realized the practical and spiritual value of the practice (Pope Paul VI, On the Celibacy of the Priesthood;, Encyclical letter, 1967). Indeed, even in the Eastern Catholic Church – which includes a married clergy – the bishops are chosen only from unmarried priests.

Christ revealed the true value and meaning of celibacy. Catholic priests from St. Paul to the present have imitated Him in their total gift of self to God and others as celibates. Although Christ raised marriage to the level of a sacrament that reveals the love and life of the Trinity, He was also a living witness to the life of the world to come. The celibate priesthood is for us a living witness to this life in which the unity and joy of marriage between a man and a woman is surpassed in the perfect, loving communion with God. Celibacy properly understood and lived frees a person to love and serve others as Christ did.

Over the past forty years, celibacy has been an even more powerful witness to the loving sacrifice of men and women who offer themselves in service their communities.

Myth #5 – Female clergy would help solve the problem.

There’s simply no logical connection between the deviant behavior of a tiny minority of male clergy and the inclusion of women in their ranks. While it’s true that most statistics on child molestation show that men are more likely to abuse children, the fact is that some women are also child molesters. In 1994, the National Opinion Research Center showed that the second most common form of child sexual abuse involved women abusing boys. For every three male abusers, there’s one female abuser. Statistics on female sex offenders are more difficult to obtain because the crime is more hidden (Interview with Dr. Richard Cross, “A Question of Character,”, National Opinion Research Center; cf. Carnes). Also, their most frequent victims (boys) are less likely to report sexual abuse, especially when the abuser is a woman (O’Leary, “Child Sexual Abuse”).

There are reasons why the Church cannot ordain women (as John Paul II has explained numerous times). But that is beside the point. The debate about women’s ordination is completely unrelated to the problem of pedophilia and other forms of sexual misconduct.

Myth #6 – Homosexuality isn’t connected to pedophilia.

This is plainly false. Homosexuals are three times as likely to be pedophiles as heterosexual men. Although exclusive pedophilia (adult attraction to prepubescent children) is an extreme and rare phenomenon, one third of homosexual men are attracted to teenage boys (Jenkins, Priests and Pedophilia). The seduction of teenage boys by homosexual men is a well-documented phenomenon. This form of deviant behavior is the most common type of clerical abuse and is directly connected to homosexual behavior.

As Michael Rose shows in his upcoming book, Goodbye! Good Men, there’s an active homosexual sub-culture within the Church. This is due to several factors. The Church’s confusion in the wake of the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the tumult following the Second Vatican Council, and the greater approval of homosexual behavior in the culture at large created an environment in which active homosexual men were admitted to and tolerated in the priesthood. The Church also came to rely more on the psychiatric profession for screening candidates and for treating those priests identified as having problems. In 1973, the American Psychological Association changed its characterization of homosexuality as an objectively disordered orientation and removed it from the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual IV (Nicolosi, J., 1991, Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality, 1991; Diamond, E., et. al., Homosexuality and Hope, unpublished CMA document). The treatment of deviant sexual behaviors followed suit.

While the Church’s approach to those who struggle with homosexual attractions has been compassionate, she has been consistent in maintaining the view that homosexuality is objectively disordered and that marriage between a man and woman is the proper context for sexual activity.

Myth #7 – The Catholic hierarchy has done nothing to address pedophilia.

While we can all agree that the hierarchy hasn’t done enough, this claim is nevertheless false. When the Church’s Code of Canon Law was revised in 1983, an important passage was added: “The cleric who commits any other offense against the sixth precept of the Decalogue, if the offense was committed with violence or threats, or publicly or with a minor who is under 16 years [now extended to 18 years], must be punished with just punishments, not excluding expulsion from the clerical state” (CIC 1395:2).

But that certainly isn’t the only thing the Church has done. The bishops, beginning with Pope Paul VI in 1967, issued a warning to the Catholic faithful concerning the negative consequences of the sexual revolution. The pope’s encyclical letter, “On the Celibacy of the Priests,” addressed the question of a celibate priesthood in the face of a culture crying out for greater sexual “freedom.” The pope affirmed celibacy even as he called on bishops to take responsibility for “fellow priests troubled by difficulties which greatly endanger the divine gift they have.” He advised the bishops to seek appropriate help for these priests, or, in grave cases, to seek a dispensation for priests who could not be helped. In addition, he urged them to be more prudent in judging the fitness of candidates for the priesthood.

In 1975, the Church issued another document called “Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics” (written by Joseph Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) that explicitly addressed, among other issues, the problem of homosexuality among priests. Both the 1967 and 1975 documents addressed kinds of sexual deviancy, including pedophilia and ephebophilia, that are is especially prevalent among homosexuals.

In 1994, the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse issued guidelines to the nation’s then 191 dioceses to help them develop policies to deal with the problem of sexual abuse of minors. Almost all dioceses responded and developed their own policies (USCCB document: Guidelines for dealing with Child Sexual Abuse, 1993-1994). By this time, pedophilia was recognized as a disorder that could not be cured, and a problem that was becoming more prevalent due to the increase of pornography. Before 1994, bishops took their cue from experts in the psychiatric profession who believed pedophilia could be successfully treated. Priests guilty of sexual abuse were sent to one of several treatment facilities across the United States. Bishops often relied upon the judgments of experts in determining whether priests were fit for ministry. This doesn’t mitigate the negligence on the part of some in the hierarchy, but it does offer some insight.

In response to the recent scandals, some dioceses are setting up special commissions on child abuse, as well as victims’ advocacy groups; and they are officially acknowledging that any legitimate allegation of abuse must be dealt with immediately.

Myth #8 – The Church’s teaching on sexual morality is the real problem, not pedophilia.

The Church’s teaching on sexual morality is rooted in the dignity of the human person and the goodness of human sexuality. This teaching condemns the sexual abuse of children in all its forms, just as it condemns other reprehensible sexual crimes such as rape, incest, child pornography, and child prostitution. In other words, if this teaching were lived out, there’d be no pedophilia problem at all.

The notion that this teaching somehow leads to pedophilia is based on a misunderstanding or deliberate misrepresentation of Catholic sexual morality. The Church recognizes that sexual activity without the love and commitment found uniquely in marriage undermines the dignity of the human person and is ultimately destructive. As far as celibacy is concerned, centuries of experience have proven that men and women can abstain from sexual activity while living fulfilling, healthy, and meaningful lives.

Myth #9 – Catholic journalists have ignored the pedophile problem.

As any reader of CRISIS knows, this claim is patently false. Our October 2001 cover story featured “The High Price of Priestly Pederasty,” an expose on the scandal that wouldn’t erupt into the mainstream press for another three months. You can read our full article at: http://www.crisismagazine.com/october2001/index.html.

And we weren’t the only ones who have covered the pedophilia/pederasty problem. Charles Sennot, author of Broken Covenant, Rod Dreher of The National Review, CRISIS co-founder Ralph MacInerny, Maggie Gallagher, Dale O’Leary, the Catholic Medical Association, Michael Novak, Peggy Noonan, Bill Donohue, Dr. Richard Cross, Philip Lawler, Alan Keyes, and Msgr. George Kelly have all covered the issue exhaustively.

Just because the mainstream media have chosen to ignore our work doesn’t mean the work hasn’t been done.

Myth #10 – Requiring celibacy limits the number of men as candidates for the priesthood, resulting in a high number of sexually unbalanced priests.

First of all, there isn’t a “high number of sexually unbalanced priests.” Again, the vast majority of priests are normal, healthy, and faithful. Every day they prove themselves worthy of the trust and confidence of those entrusted to their care.

Secondly, those who do not feel called to a life of celibacy are ipso facto not called to be Catholic priests. Indeed, most men are not meant to be celibate. However, some are – and of those, some are called by God to the priesthood.

A priestly vocation, like a marriage, requires the mutual and free consent of both parties. Thus, the Church must discern that a candidate is indeed worthy and fit mentally, physically, and spiritually to commit to a life of priestly service. A candidate’s desire for the priesthood does not constitute a vocation in and of itself. Spiritual and vocation directors are now even more attuned to the character flaws that would make an otherwise qualified man an unfit candidate.