Clergy Sexual Abuse: Questions Remain

The original John Jay statistics state that the sex abuse crisis was the overwhelming work of a very small number of clergy, targeting young males as their victims … the one reform not addressed: screening out clergy candidates with same-sex attractions.

Bishop Cupich, and Dr. Karen Terry of the John Jay College, discuss findings at the USCCB Spring 2011 meeting.

In 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned a 1.8 million dollar study, popularly known as the “John Jay study,” to uncover the patterns and causes of the sex abuse crisis since 1950. The National Review Board—the entity designated to implement the study—gave the first John Jay report in 2004. In this report, which describes the “Nature and Scope” of clergy sexual abuse, the board pointed out that more than 80 percent of the victims were teenage boys and young men.

This conclusion, in itself, should have been a solid roadmap for truly correcting the sex abuse problem.

Indeed, the bishops quickly responded. They issued guidelines for tough diocesan policies, such as the immediate reporting of abuse to civil authorities, and better oversight of children’s safety.

However, despite those good reforms, clergy with sexual abuse histories were still active in public Church ministry. In early 2011, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia revealed it was involved in yet another major “roundup” of sex abuse cases, a majority of them (82%) involving the original category of identified victims—male teens and young men.

Also in 2011, the Vatican called on bishops and local dioceses to develop comprehensive plans to stop sex abuse. It urged “an even greater importance in assuring a proper discernment of vocations.” Clearly, the Vatican still sees a need to encourage more thoroughness when screening priesthood candidates.

These developments—still surfacing seven years after the original John Jay findings—suggest that reforms have not been wholly adequate. Why? I would suggest that, from the start, reforms concentrated on defensive measures—protecting young people from predators who may be lurking in the clergy. That is well and good. However, a more important question remains unanswered: why should the Church allow predators to be lurking among the clergy in the first place?

The fault is not with the original John Jay data. It pointed to the predator issue by identifying the overwhelming victim demographic as young men and male teens. Here are the statistics, in Part 4.2 of the study: “four out of five (80%) alleged victims were male,” and “the majority of alleged victims were post-pubescent (87.4%), with only a small percentage of priests receiving allegations of abusing young children.”

This statistic paints a vivid picture: the sex abuse crisis was the overwhelming work of a very small number of clergy targeting young males as their victims.  This fact suggests one reform that has yet to be addressed: the Church must screen out clergy candidates with same-sex attractions.

At first, this reform appeared to be on the radar. In 2004, the National Review Board stated that while the sex abuse crisis had no single cause, “an understanding of the crisis is not possible” without reference to “the presence of homosexually oriented priests.” The board cited the data: “eighty percent of the abuse at issue was of a homosexual nature.”

Dr. Paul McHugh, a former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a member of the National Review Board, put it more strongly. Quoted in an August 25, 2006 National Catholic Register editorial, he observed that the John Jay study had revealed a crisis of “homosexual predation on American Catholic youth.”

But that warning soon disappeared from the public perception. The John Jay conclusions began to be explained as an “environment” problem. This new interpretation was made official in a 2011 John Jay report, “Causes and Context.”

Two years earlier, Dr. Karen Terry, the lead spokesperson and coauthor of the John Jay study, offered this interpretation at the bishops’ November 2009 meeting in Baltimore. According to the account in the National Catholic Reporter, Dr. Terry inferred that the sexual orientation of the predators didn’t matter. In Dr. Terry’s words, “It’s important to separate the sexual identity and the behavior … Someone can commit sexual acts that might be of a homosexual nature, but not have a homosexual identity.”

Quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the National Catholic Reporter, Dr. Terry said the problem was that clergy “had access to boys” rather than because they had “a homosexual identity” or a “homosexual orientation.”

But “access to boys” avoids one glaring issue: the data reveals that a very small contingent of clergy did most of the sexual exploiting, and they overwhelmingly chose same-sex victims.

Dr. Terry’s own interpretation notwithstanding, it is absolutely crucial to examine who these exploiters are. At the very least, it’s a cop-out to blame the crisis on the “field” of victims, and the implication is potentially dangerous: It suggests that future crises could be avoided if the Church bans “access to boys.” This inevitably would include banning: priests from all-male high schools; priestly vocation retreats; and any gathering designed to specifically encourage young men in the pursuit of a Christian way of life. These kinds of gatherings have raised generations of good Catholic men for centuries—and, rest assured, morally strong and healthy priests have never had any interest in sexually stalking young men at these gatherings.

Instead, we owe it to generations of Catholics to get to the heart of the issue, and examine what kind of man would sexually pursue post-pubescent males.

Before going further, let’s be clear: sexual predators come in both homosexual and heterosexual orientations. In either variety, sexual predation is evil, and homosexual behavior isn’t the only sexual sin, or the only problem. All sexual sins can gain strength unless the clergy formation process includes an emphasis on spirituality, prayer, and asceticism. But the data from the John Jay study strongly suggests that a homosexual influence in the clergy is a key factor in the sex abuse crisis.

And yet, this factor has been consistently ignored in the reform process. In fact, in the John Jay report issued in 2011, homosexuality was definitively discounted as an issue.  The study cited “organizational” (and institutional) causes among the explanations for the sex abuse crisis. It concluded that perhaps the real causes are the result of “certain vulnerabilities” accompanied by “opportunities to abuse,” as in “access to boys.”

The second report did not suggest screening anyone from the seminary. Rather, the “Conclusions and Recommendations” suggested that the solution lay in “education,” “situational prevention models,” and “oversight and accountability.” The report stated: “By regularly surveying priests, administrative staff, and parishioners about their responses to, and satisfaction with, the priests with whom they have contact, dioceses are more likely to be alerted to questionable behavior that might have been undetected in the past.”

In effect, now all priests will be considered guilty until proven innocent! More insidiously, the report calls for closer surveillance or “oversight” of the activities of all priests. According to a July 22, 2011 article in the National Catholic Reporter, this means “ensuring at least one adult is present whenever clergy and children (young men) are together.”  Big Brother, welcome to the Church.

Significantly, this second John Jay report was challenged by a top psychiatrist who treats sexually abusive priests. Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons told the Catholic News Agency on May 20, 2011, that “he is ‘very critical’ of the latest findings because they avoid discussing important causal factors in clerical sex abuse cases, namely homosexuality.”

Of course, anything critical of homosexuality offends modern standards, even the standards of some within the Church. But those are not the standards of the Catholic Church, and her teaching.  Pope Benedict XVI, for example, says in his recent book, “Light of the World,” that one of the “disturbing problems” in the Church today is that “homosexuality exists in monasteries and among the clergy.”  He goes on to say that “homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation.”

The Pope’s statements are backed by the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” (#2358), and other documents which declare that homosexual behavior is “objectively disordered.”

The question is: will objective data, like the John Jay study, be interpreted by Church standards, or by other standards?

So far, the answer is unsettled. Unfortunately, what should be the Church’s primary concern seems to be currently off the table. Instead, the study’s new direction and warning about “access to boys,” carries a subtle, but troubling, challenge to the Christian formation of young men—including the male-only priesthood.

When it comes to “access to boys,” the Church should have only one goal: to protect every young man who has discerned a call to religious life, and any male who sees, in priests and deacons, worthy role models of Christian values. For now, this vast demographic of human souls is still vulnerable to sexual targeting within the very walls of the Church.

We must face facts. The data overwhelmingly identifies the main victims of the sex abuse crisis as young men. Furthermore, what critics call “access to boys” is a natural consequence of Church life, and the male priesthood. Therefore, true reform should not be to question “access to boys,” but to reconsider, with compassion and wisdom, whether clergy roles are appropriate for any man who finds “access to boys” a sexual temptation.

Until this human problem is addressed, we cannot expect a complete solution to sexual predation within the Church.

Fr. Regis Scanlon, OFMCap About Fr. Regis Scanlon, OFMCap

Fr. Regis Scanlon, OFMCap, was ordained in Aug. 26, 1972. He is currently in the process of developing the Julia Greeley shelter for homeless, unaccompanied women in metro Denver. He is spiritual director and chaplain for Mother Teresa of Calcutta's Missionaries of Charity in Denver, as well as being one of the spiritual directors for the Missionaries of Charity in the western United States. He was director of prison ministry for the Archdiocese of Denver, from 1999 to 2010; a chaplain for Missionaries of Charity at their now-closed AIDS hospice, Seton House, and at Gift of Mary homeless shelter for women in Denver from 1989 to 2008; and in 1997, he was sent by Mother Teresa to instruct Missionaries of Charity in Madagascar and South Africa on the subject of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist . His articles have been published in Homiletic & Pastoral Review, The Catholic Faith, Soul Magazine, Pastoral Life, and The Priest. He has also made two series for Mother Angelica's EWTN: "Crucial Questions," "Catholic Answers," and "What Did Vatican II Really Teach?"


  1. Avatar David Sharples says:

    If one were to say that homosexual men are attracted to young pretty girls, people would laugh. Why is it that the opposite, heterosexual (healthy) men are attracted to young men and boys is not laughed at? For one reason, and one reason only. It’s not politically correct.

    There are more demons hanging on the wall in a Seminary than anywhere else. While I do believe that it is not impossible for a man with same sex attraction to be a priest. I do believe that a man with some spiritual or physiological malady ought not to be admitted. Whether it be alcoholism or anything else. There are other reasons to why homosexual attraction is not compatible with the priesthood: effective leadership, oneness with his Church and I think that such a man will not do as effective a job in bringing other men to Christ. And in a real way He came after us, women have kind of a natural religiosity – men do not.

    • Avatar 9thCenturion says:


      While I like your “There are more demons hanging on the wall in a Seminary than anywhere else.” for its wisdom and truth, I find your “And in a real way He came after us, women have kind of a natural religiosity – men do not.” troubling.

      First, what is “religiosity”? Does it find its meaning in context to emotion? I think one of the most frequent errors made today is to give credit or find virtue in a person where it is not the person but the nature of the person which is seen. For example, to follow your male/female line, is there more “parentiosity” in women than men because women, before a man’s child is born, have a greater affection for children and the idea of a child than men? Do you see the issue?

      Second, if the graveness of sin is to be judged by God according to the criteria taught by the Church, should not the same application of Natural Law applying when seeing and trying to understand in proper context one’s will and human state regarding acts of virtue? If so, how does the clearly stronger instinct in men for principles above sentimentality or empathy come into play regarding this “religiosity” you point to?

      I think the one great error, and one great lesson coming out of the clergy sexual abuse scandal is the role of placing His Law, the clarity of His Word regarding Commandments, etc., above the central thing celebrated during the Vatican II counsels and after; the emotionalisms of empathy and sympathy.


      • Nice response to David. As a woman, I never for once thought I am more religious than any man. I believed that man and woman have supplemantary and complementary roles in this world and not taking each other’s role. Otherwise, God should have made all men or all women from His perspective of who is better.

        From the result, the church teaching is affrimed that homosexual behavior is “objectively disordered”.

        My question is: what will our sheperds (bishops) do?

  2. Avatar Doug Sirman says:

    Hello Fr. Scanlon,

    I genuinely appreciate your article and have no dispute with the assertion that men dealing with persistent or deep-seated same-sex attraction should not enter the priesthood. However, in addition to knowing the lower age limit for the majority of male victims (11 yrs), should’t we also know the upper limit? That would give us an actual picture of those who were targeted by predators rather than the implied one of post-pubescent males most have been going with. Isn’t the upper age limit for the majority of victims (80%) 13 years of age? Meaning that the vast majority of male victims were not, as so many claim “young men,” but rather barely pubescent boys? After all, the average age of onset of puberty for boys in America is currently 12; 50 years ago it was 13 to 14. Generalized homosexual exploitation of young men was certainly not the issue, homosexual abuse of the very young was.

    • Avatar Steve Cianca says:

      To answer your question about the age range of the victims: According to the John Jay Report (p10), 57% of the male victims were between the ages of 11 and 14; 27% were between the ages of 15 and 17. So while I think it is rather misleading to cast the victims as “young men”, it is also misleading to characterize the victims as “the very young.” The vast majority of the male victims (84%) were pubescent or post-pubescent.

    • Avatar Deacon Jason Miller, Ph.D., M.P.A. says:

      I am not sure it is worthwhile getting into the discussion of “young men” vs. the “very young.” The majority of the identified victims did not meet DSM-IV criteria for pedophilia – i.e., prepubescent. So objectively speaking, this wasn’t pedophilia. And the fact that it was overwhelmingly male to male, objectively adds to the scenario. It is well know in the homosexual community that older men typically like the very young men – “boy toys” is what they are referred to. Very large age differences are extremely common. Homosexual radicals (not all homosexuals, but the radicals) have also been repeatedly attempting to lower the age of consent in numerous countries. There are many well established assessment methods of screening these individuals out. What I have seen though is that seminaries are ignoring the results of their psychological assessments and accepting them anyway. No point of even giving the assessments if they aren’t going to use the data.

      • The “read between the lines” message I am getting with the John Jay report is simply that due to the prevalence of high ranking homosexual priests/bishops we have had and still do have, the chance of ending homosexual ordinations is very low. Thus, the solution presented to the lay faithful is to lock up their boys and warn them against being alone with priests. Sad, but it seems to me that the hierarchy is stating that homosexually active priests are here to stay and it’s “buyer beware” for parents.

  3. Avatar A.A. Cunningham says:

    The solution is simple, homosexuals and pederasts cannot be ordained. Enforce the 2 February 1961 ban and purge the priesthood of those who never should have been ordained to begin with. The attack on the Bride of Christ by the intrinsically disordered, including many in the episcopacy who are aiding and abetting same, has to stop.

  4. I agree that if the 1961 guidelines that Blessed John XXIII were strictly enacted and enforced that maybe the issues we have been having would not be so bad now. The problem is that they ignored the John XXIII directives and allowed homosexual men to be ordained in the seminaries anyway because the belief was they have a “right” to be ordained. The current Pope had a investigation of seminaries after his election and put out new guidelines in November 2005. But in spite of this the same attitude of dissent, that started with Pope Paul’s 1968 encyclical, still is going on in certain places, and many bishops and prelates appear to condone and accept this lifestyle.

  5. Avatar Phillip S. Cronin says:

    Many of our seminaries had been seriously infiltrated by homosexuals who preyed upon and made life miserable for young, virile men who sought only to conform their minds and hearts to that of Christ – to become alter Christus, not unlike young men aspiring to be formed in the “Semper Fi” tradition of the Marines. This clique infiltrated the faculty and the hierarchy, especially bishops and some cardinals who protected their own from exposure, expulsion, and prosecution.

    Why should we be shocked that we have such problems in the Church today? Our Church mirrors our society: morally weak, doctrinally ambiguous, and culturally uprooted. Our families are in disorder, our education is pathetic, and our moral formation on life support.

    Pastors and preachers seem more interested in “getting along” than in preaching against vice and for virtue. Instead of excommunicating so called Catholic politicians who support and promote abortion, homosexuality and same sex marriage, bishops have muted their criticism in order keep federal funds flowing for their social justice programs. Few preach that salvation is only through Jesus Christ and His one true Church. Instead we get the kind of ecumenical drivel from the likes of Cardinal Kaspar that the Church is no longer devoted to “conversion,” but only to “convergence”‘ and that all religions worship the same God and can lead to salvation. Another canard is that the Catholic Church “subsists” in the Church of Christ as opposed to the traditional doctrine that the Church is the Church of Christ. We have embraced the ultimate heresy, Modernism, and are suffering its effects.

    The point is what do we as Catholics stand for and what are we willing to suffer to uphold those convictions. To condemn homosexuality is not to be a “homophobe,” but to uphold God’s law as traditionally taught by the Church. The problem is not that the Church is doctrinally ignorant, but that it is pastorally ineffectual. Men do not follow an uncertain trumpet into a battle. When the crowds turned away from Christ in disgust at His words that “unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you will have no life in you,” Christ did not apologize or offer to “dialogue” with them or say that He was misunderstood. No, He laid out the Mystery of the Eucharist: take it or leave it. The Church should follow the example of Her Founder.

  6. Avatar Bill Foley says:

    From Bill Foley:

    The following is clear evidence that the Holy See does not want men with same-sex-attraction-disorder ordained. If a transitory problem must be clearly overcome for at least three years before ordination to the diaconate, then a deep-seated problem would logically prohibit ordination.

    Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with Regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in View of Their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders

    Congregation for Catholic Education
    Different, however, would be the case in which one were dealing with homosexual tendencies that were only the expression of a transitory problem – for example, that of an adolescence not yet superseded. Nevertheless, such tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate.
    The Supreme Pontiff, Benedict XVI, on 31 August, 2005, approved this present Instruction and ordered its publication.
    Rome, 4 November, 2005, Memoria of St. Charles Borromeo, Patron of Seminaries.

  7. To Bill Foley,
    I agree with the instruction of the Vatican. But the problem here is whether or not homosexual priests were the cause of the abuses. So, what is the final judgment of the bishops? The first part of the John Jay Study said that the cause was related to homosexuality. The later interpretation said that the clergy abuse was not related to homosexuality. They said that the cause was in the situation, “access to boys.” So, the real question is: Why is there a disagreement between these two interpretations? Also after spending so much money you would think that the bishops would want a clear answer to this serious question.

  8. Avatar Bob Gallegos says:

    Steve and Doug, It is amazing what putting together a certain set of facts can do. I agree with both of you to some extent but I think the problem of clergy sexual abuse is clearer than you are making it out to be. If you examine the statistics of the “Victims age at the Time of Event” Graph 4.3.2 of the “Nature and Scope of the Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States” by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, you will discover that the percentage is as follows: First of all about 80% of the victims were male. The majority of cases were from ages 11-17.Next the victim’s age at the time of the event is listed in the graph as follows: 11- (10%), 12-(14.7%), 13-(12.8%), 14-(13.2%), 15-(11.6%), 16-(8.6%), 17-(6.5%). While 12 year olds were the largest single percentage at 14.7% the percentage from 14-17 is about 40% and from 13-17 it is about 53%. So it sounds like a case or sexual abuse of older boys and young men or at least sexual predation of young males.
    No matter how one looks at these statistics, normal heterosexual males can be sexually aroused by an attractive well-developed 8th grade or high school girl. Indeed, it is not unusual for Human Traffickers to import prostitutes from other nations to begin prostitution at ages 13 -16 years. However, a heterosexual male is not normally (if ever) attracted to a boy or young man from 8th grad or above. It may be difficult for the Catholics to admit but the abuse of older boys or young men or young males was caused by homosexual clergy. But one cannot deny the statistics or common sense.

  9. Avatar Ron Erken, Md says:

    An associated problem is the persistent and incorrect use of the term, pedophile, in referring to the abusers, by the John Jay interpreters, the media, and most importantly, those in the Church at many different levels of the hierarchy. This seems to mislead people into exempting homosexuals from the abusers. Is this another subtle matter of political correctness?

    • Ron, there is nothing “subtle” about it. When we do stand up and state the truth that this crisis was largely a homosexul crisis you will see a violent backlash.

  10. So,the root problem has been identified and the solution; where do I look for the results?

  11. Homosexuality is NOT the same thing as pedophilia, though this is a concept too subtle for some people to grasp.

    In my city, a respected pediatrician was indicted for having sexual contact with over 100 of his underage female patients. Would anyone be so stupid as to call this “heterosexuality”?

    And before some of you start talking about “homosexual vs heterosexual pedophilia”, know that these are NOT categories used by therapists who work with pedophiles, their vicitms, and their families.

    • Avatar Deacon Jason Miller, Ph.D., M.P.A. says:

      You are confusing legal classifications with psychiatric classifications. The DSM-IV objectively classifies pedophilia as occurring with prepubescent children. One can violate the law by having sexual contact with a minor but NOT meeting DSM-IV criteria for pedophilia. I actually see this culturally all the time. In Mexico, older Mexican males often pick adolescent wives. Mexican immigrants often run into problems with the law when they do the same here – they are NOT pedophiles. With all due respect Father, I am a clinical psychologist and have 10 years of work doing forensic assessments, including sex offenders. We do indeed make the distinction between pedophilia and the legal violation of sexual contact with a minor You are also incorrectly using the term heterosexuality – that means a sexual inclination toward the opposite sex. So yes, in the profession we state “heterosexual contacts with minors” or “pedophilia with predominantly the same sex. I don’t think you mean to class us “stupid” by doing so – but please still refrain from using such provocative language.

    • Fr. Basil,
      Did you not notice the statistics from the John Jay Report, it stated that 53% from the 13-17 age group were abuse? The term “pedophilia” is used for individuals with a primary sexual interest in prepubescent children aged 13 or younger. This is a HOMOSEXUAL problem, FATHER BASIL. If that is truly your name.

    • “Pedophile priests” has a nice smooth ring to it and is used by the Church hating media to smear all priests; it is difficult to see that taboo word,’homosexual’ in most of media reporting. After all,we don’t want to give practicing homosexuals a bad name,do we?

  12. Interesting but still overly simplistic. Human sexual orientation and behavior are far more complex than the article suggests.

  13. Fr. Basil,

    You would have a point if 50% of the abuse was on girls. But the data clearly show that the problem is homosexual abuse. Yes, its abuse, just like the heterosexual example you cited. It is abuse. But it is also HOMOSEXUAL abuse. Pederasty is not committed by heterosexual predators. Also, you are forgetting that there is a big difference between homosexuality and heterosexuality: one is a sickness and the other is not. Homosexuality is caused by problems in childhood where the father resents the boy and the mother coddles him at the same time. Hence, there is a connection between homosexuality and childhood. That many homosexuals are tempted by pederasty is part and parcel of their sickness. It’s a psychological disorder centered on childhood. Many of these predators say they are “helping” the children. They think this since they believe that they too needed this “help” to find their true sexual identity. The answer is to keep homosexuals out of the priesthood. The data prove it.

  14. Avatar joe mc Faul says:

    The reason why 80% of abuse victims identified in the Jay Report were male is becasue the Jay Study was limited in scope. By defintion, it was not designed to uncover the causes of clergy sex abuse.

    If it had, I predict that the victim ratio woudl have been skewed more towards the female side. The Jay Report, however, was limited in scope and did not consider clergy sex abuse of church members over the age of 18, and those are mostly female. The Jay report was intended not to address the underlying cause–Celibacy or lack thereof, but intended to identify homsexuality, which is only part of the problem.

    “the bishops quickly responded. They issued guidelines for tough diocesan policies, such as the immediate reporting of abuse to civil authorities, and better oversight of children’s safety.”

    No, I don’t think so. The bishops said that’s what they were going to do, but few actually followed through. Many unilaterally disabled theoir own guidelines. See Bishop Flinn and Cardinal Rigal for two very recent examples.

  15. I would suggest that the convents also need deep scrutiny.
    This problem is not only priest and boys – It’s nuns and girls, too.

  16. So generally males under the age of 18 were abused by male priests. Homosexuality or tendencies anyway seem to be explained away by simply saying these priests had greater access to boys. But aside from altar boys (the figures show the boys were too young for the seminary don’t they) wouldn’t these priests have had equal access to girls.

    Do we know what percentage of those abused were altar boys???

  17. It is simple to understand: centuries of male-guided education and guidance did not do what we have seen from the 1960s to 1980s. The lead researcher either knows nothing of the Church or is imcredibly politically correct…or worse. May Mary,Mother of the Clergy guide and protect us.

  18. I am just a simple man, who looks to the Church for light in a dark world. Primordial urges might never be understood or controlled by human understanding.
    Children have no defense or experience to keep them from giving unconditional love to people they trust or admire. To emulate a child is to give unconditional love to people we trust that in turn brings light to a dark world.
    If a wolf comes in the gate the first thing they look for is a small child or a defenseless animal. Wolves will not come in a open gate if there is a light inside.
    The problem of child abuse will go away if we leave a light on in the courtyard. The wolves will eventually eat each other when the light has diverted their food source.

  19. Well said, Phillip Cronin above. You hit the proverbial nail on the head. Sound doctrine is the foundation for good morals, as in the structure of the Ten Commandments. After Truth comes Goodness and Beauty. If one can be saved outside the Church, then the Church is not infallible in her definitions, and living in the mystical Body of Christ may be the “best” way to salvation, but not the only way. That is heresy and the most uncharitable of all lies.

  20. The latest statements from the national review board reveal that we have developed a national blind spot regarding homosexuality and activist homosexuals are only too willing to facillitate this. We do not want to recognize the obvious as indicated by the original John Jay report. It is like the redefinition of what happened at Sodom and Gomorrah as a problem of punishing exclusively bad hospitality. Homosexuals are in need of healing and the Catholic sponsored Courage organization has one of the best programs around. The testimony of ex gays and those who still have same sex attractions but have achieved a state of chastity speaks to the possibilities of living on the oppposite side of being a practicing homosexual and the success of programs like Courage. Otherwise we will live as a house spiritually divided: One free and recognizing the truth about homosexuality and its causes and another slave to this sin directly or indirectly as a supporter and trying to force it on everyone else through the courts, legislation, education in school, and finally coercion as seen in Massachusetts for example. We have forgotten that God classified homosexual behavior and another sin as abominations in the Old Testament. Given the insidiousness of homosexual activism and their goals of trying to turn our society into a sexual free for all, I think we are beginning see why God was so judgemental on homosexuals and that other sin in the Old Testament. We wisely do not punish as then but the danger of this sin on society has not changed. As an abuse victim who did not sue the Church, I urge that we need to continue if not intensify our screening of candidates for the priesthood so as to prevent these kind of people from being priests. In Vermont the payouts for the priest abuse crisis (almost all for same sex abuse) have been very damaging to diocesan finances and the plaintiff’s attorney has at least 5 more people suing for damages and if successful, churches or the Catholic high school might have to be sold.

  21. Fr. Scanlon:
    In a Catholic Answers Special Report “The Priest Scandal”, they report that Al Rantel, a talk-show host on KABC in Los Angeles stated on CNN “Talk Back Live” “…I happen to be gay myself…This is not a pedophile issue,…You have predatory gay men…And these gay men have gone after young males…”

  22. Let’s face the truth, gay homsexual influence infiltrated educational institutions, public schools, the entertainment industry, the public media, government institutions and even the Church and seminaries. All one has to do is read the newspaper reports of homosexual practices by some bishops, priests, and at seminaries. Homosexuality and lesbianism is now considered an individual equal right under constitutional policy. Anyone denying these “equal gay rights” will be accused of discrimination. People are now very careful to speak politically correctly when it comes to discussing homosexuality and lesbianism. I suspect that is why in interpreting the data of the Jay John report, homosexual influence in the clergy, and barring indiviuals with homosexual tendencies from the clergy, are not considered as a solution to the problems of child abuse. The report is being judged not by Church traditional standards, but by the current public opinion standards about homosexuality.

  23. Avatar Deacon Augustine says:

    Fr. Scanlon is quite correct and also courageous to bring this matter up again in the current environment. I think more should be said, though, about the interpretation of the criminal data which gave us “accessibility of boys” as the explanation for the predominant victim profile. Surely this is just another variant of the “blaming the victim” mentality which got another priest into hot water recently. To ascribe the nature of the crimes to the availability of victims is to remove responsibility and culpability from the criminal – a tendency which is too prevalent among the purveyors of political correctness. It also ignores the fact that victim profiles have remained largely the same in more recent times when females have been increasingly accessible to clergy. It is a continuing disgrace that a significant cause of these crimes is still being covered up for fear of offending people who suffer from a disordered sexuality. The very fact of such a disorder would be an obvious pointer to cause and effect in any other field of behavioural anthropology. But this blaming the availability of victims must stop – it is immoral, it is cowardly and it is unChristian.

    • Exactly-Dr. Terry’s conclusion means all-male schools, sports teams and so forth should have sexual abuse! My goodness, a sports program has more interaction between adults and minors than most Church. We see the dishonesty in the conclusion. May Mary open her and all minds and hearts to the Truth, to Christ.

  24. This is a timely article. Kudos to Fr. Regis. The infiltration into the seminaries by the gay agenda has had a great run. It is time to clean house. The way to get started is to adhere to the real truth of the matter.

  25. Avatar Ted Heywood says:

    Excellent posts — excellent observations. Too bad they fall on the deaf ears of the Cardinals, Bishops, Pastors and other clergy. The Bishops are not shepharding their flocks properly, as Christ accused the Jewish religious authorities of His time. Just look at the youtube video of Cardinal Dolan celebrating the gay mass at that rebuilt Jesuit church in New York, or being waltzed out the door by Obama as he futiley works at building bridges to the most anti-religious administration in the history of the country. It’s all a horror show at which the evil one dances in glee!.

  26. Avatar David Craig says:

    Many men under the influence of intoxicating drink are drawn to pornography, masturbation and other sins. Ask any priest who hears confessions frequently. Men will do things while high on drink they would never think of when sober. Did the John Jay report ever look into the correlation of abuse and drinking? If I were a seminary rector I would be watching carefully for any sign of this excess.


  1. […] Clergy Sexual Abuse: Questions Remain – Fr. Regis Scanlon OFM Cap, Hmltc & Pstrl Rvw […]

  2. […] essay first appeared August 30, 2012 in Homiletic and Pastoral Review and is reprinted with […]

  3. […] essay first appeared August 30, 2012 in Homiletic and Pastoral Review and is reprinted with […]