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Signs of the Beast Print E-mail
By Robert Royal   
Monday, 04 February 2013

The sexual abuse of children by American priests, which became a national scandal after a series of Boston Globe articles in 2002, is now entering its eleventh year. The satanic reality, of course, goes back much further. And the recent revelations about what happened in the Los Angeles archdiocese call for yet another effort at some sort of plausible explanation for this particularly repugnant instance of what St. Augustine called the “mystery of evil.”

A little background on those new revelations, before we get to a startling chart below.

If you haven’t been following the news, last Thursday, L. A. Archbishop José Gomez suspended his retired predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, and an active auxiliary bishop, Thomas Curry, from any further “administrative or public duties” (their priestly faculties, however, have not been suspended). Unsealed archdiocesan documents clearly show that both men conspired – the only accurate term – to keep known pedophiles from being arrested by the police.

Archbishop Gomez, a good and courageous man facing many other challenges in an archdiocese long mired in chaos and dissent, said in his official announcement about the abuse documents, “I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed.”

He hasn’t spoken as directly, yet, about the involvement of the cardinal and bishop – the kind of thing that drove Cardinal Bernard Law permanently to Rome, one step ahead of what would no doubt have been humiliating public prosecution of his own failure to stop several predatory monsters. But Gomez’s action tells us all we need to know until the documents are more fully examined.

Cardinal Mahony’s reaction also tells us something, something we might well rather not have known. He’s defended himself saying:  “Nothing in my own background or education equipped me to deal with this grave problem.” Okay, also true of many people. And let’s stipulate that the ethos was different back then – and not only for Catholics. Religious leaders and police did operate with a kind of unspoken agreement to try to avoid scandal in cases involving clergy of all kinds.

But Mahony didn’t stop there. He took the extraordinary step of replying in an open letter to Gomez: “When you were formally received as our Archbishop on May 26, 2010, you began to become aware of all that had been done here over the years for the protection of children and youth. . . .You became our official Archbishop on March 1, 2011 and you were personally involved with the Compliance Audit of 2012 – again, in which we were deemed to be in full compliance. . . .Not once over these past years did you ever raise any questions about our policies, practices, or procedures in dealing with the problem of clergy sexual misconduct involving minors."

All this is probably true, technically. But it’s the kind of legal parsing of the situation – not the open moral self-examination one might expect – by a member of the hierarchy who is in grave trouble precisely for this kind of self-exculpatory rationalizing.

Leftist Catholics have for years been denouncing the “clerical culture” that permitted the cover-ups, and there is some justification for the charge – though not for the way they use it to try to discredit the very principle of an authoritative Catholic episcopate.

On the right, there have been varied attempts to blame the ongoing mess on the cultural revolution of the 1960s and the unchecked influx of same-sex attracted men into the priesthood. There’s something to this, too, though that’s far from being the whole story.


This chart is taken from a much fuller L.A. Archdiocesan webpage that puts out all the files they have on the abuse cases. The sharp rise in cases from 1968 to the 1980s is not surprising. That tends towards support for the conservative case that the loosening of morals also set loose sexual aggression against children.

But let it be noted: it more clearly confirms the Cardinal’s claim that he sharply reduced incidents of abuse – and those in years closer to us when the reporting would be much better.

What I find most surprising is the large bump in the late 1950s, the pre-Vatican II years. Some reports claim that as many as 10 percent of the students at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo CA – Cardinal Mahony’s own alma mater – are known to have gone on to sexual abuse troubles. Is this evidence of the pre-Conciliar clerical culture or something else?

I’ve talked with some people who have worked on these kinds of problems for years and several seem to think that we’ve underestimated the cultural influence of American optimism in the post-World-War-II era. The very success that American Catholics always wanted earlier, and that translated within the Church to large numbers of vocations of all kinds, may have led to a deep complacency – and failure to adequately police the kinds of men entering seminaries long before the disorders that followed the Council.

This cuts across our usual assumptions that wealth and peace make virtue easier – but those are American and secular assumptions, not Catholic or philosophic ones. The reported numbers from the 1950s – high as they are – are probably on the low side, too, given that many victims have probably died or are too old now to want to revisit painful experiences from half a century ago.

No one element, of course, can explain evil of this kind and scale. But it would be wrong to ignore what those earlier numbers may tell us. Complacency is a perennial temptation.

We may be seeing here a confirmation of the line from the Psalms: “Man living in wealth and not in understanding is like unto the beasts that perish.”


Robert Royal
is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is
The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, now available in paperback from Encounter Books.
 
 
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

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Comments (56)Add Comment
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written by Michael Paterson-Seymour, February 04, 2013
It does not surprise me in the least that young men of aberrant sexuality, who knew that marriage was not an option for them, because they were emotionally incapable of forming an intimate relationship with another adult, should choose a career offering security and prestige which, in the 1950s, the priesthood did.
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written by Manfred, February 04, 2013
Thank you for an excellent article, Dr. Royal. Yesterday, Abp. Gomez issued a "clarification" stating both Cdl. Mahony and Bp. Curry are in "good standing" and "can minister to the faithful without restriction". What is lost in most reports is that Cdl. Mahony, who had stonewalled any investigation by the civil authorities for years, consented in 2007(?) to have the Archdiocese release $660 million to the litigants just days before he, Mahony, was scheduled to testify. Another practice of Mahony was to allow accused priests to flee to countries where the U.S. had no extradition treaties. Therefore, I would question what appears to be low reportage of incidents during Mahony's reign.
Let's be frank. Simply put the Church is corrupt to Its core and It is incapable of healing Itself. The civil authorities have had to step in to protect American CITIZENS. P.S. And we did not mention Cdl Mahony v. Mother Angelica!
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written by Fr. Bramwell, February 04, 2013
Very useful column. Thank you. It is not as clear that Cardinal Law would have faced judicial proceedings. He has come back to the States a number of times and not been held for anything.
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written by Clement Williams, February 04, 2013
Thank you Mr. Royal for this very illuminating article. The secrets do come out and Satan has been active throughout history. Let us remember what Jesus said about the sign of Jonah and, we. the Church put on Sack Cloth and Ashes and repent as the Ninevites did this Lenten season and leave it to the Lord's Judgment!
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written by Lauri Friesen, February 04, 2013
I don't know how profitable it is to focus on root causes of the sexual abuses by Catholic clerics in the 20th century. To my mind, anyway, it is clear, based on the documents released by the LA archdiocese and the open letter written by Cardinal Mahoney, that individuals behaved in gravely sinful ways and refuse to hold themselves to account for it. We, as a society and the Church, can look for root causes until the Second Coming, but only the actions of individuals can protect the vulnerable and forestall the wicked. Cardinal Mahoney failed and continues to fail to take a righteous stand and do the right thing. Why clergy did what they did really doesn't matter.
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written by Sue, February 04, 2013
Rockefeller-funded Kinsey is a very likely cause for the whole timing of the bump.

Also look for Rockefeller's tentacles in the American Church hierarchy throughout the last century. "Libido Dominandi" by E. Michael Jones has much to say on this.
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written by Sean, February 04, 2013
The modernization of the Church that exploded in the 1960s was decades in the making. The sudden public appearance of the liberalizing approach only manifsted what had been going on behind closed doors at the seminaries for many years. By 1900 the modernists had become too bold, and St. Pius X made a series of public corrections; after that they went underground, and they operated that way until a more opportune time. They got a weak pope elected in 1958, and they pushed him around pretty well; the next pope was positively liberal and an open collaborator. But that was late in the game; the foundation had already been laid.
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written by LoyolaAlum, February 04, 2013
Let us see how fast Roger Mahony starts slithering back into official duties in the Los Angeles Archdiocese.
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written by Margaret, February 04, 2013
I think that the large bump in the late 1950s might be due to a bump in the overall growth of the archdiocese. The graph just shows abuse reports, with no reference to the size of the populations involved. What would the graph look like if it showed abuse reports relative to the number of parishioners or number of clergy?
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written by Kay Goodnow, February 04, 2013
I am a female survivor of abuse by a Catholic "priest" in 1952. For years I remained silent, convinced that I was the cause of his "problem." Now, much later in life, I believe that the sheep are brainwashed from birth to PREY, pay and obey. Analysis of why is of no value to those of us who were used as toys until broken and then thrown away. Shame on this church and the damage they have done for centuries.
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written by Achilles, February 04, 2013
"liberalism is a sin"
Lauri, of course we ought to talk about root causes, even until the second coming, what we ought not to do is to let Freud influence our thinking, but refer to the Logos for our dim underdsanding of human nature, and of course we are always called to defend the good, true and beautiful, especially innocent children! It is not the protestant either or, it is the Catholic both. Mohoney's words and actions are scary signs! My old and new msgr's are out of St. John's in Camarillo. Please pray for my parish.
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written by petebrown, February 04, 2013
Very nice piece Bob. As many usually forget the changes wrought in the 60's were well underway in the 1950's--this certainly seems to be true of clerical sex abuse too. Maybe the 50's weren't all rainbows and unicorns after all.

The question you pose as to why the surge in this particular evil began in the 50's is definitely one worth exploring. My own seat of the pants just so hypothesis is that it is a combination of several factors all at once. One is that there were many vocations after 1945 and many priests of that age were of the Thomas Merton generation who after WWII and the depression were drawn to the priesthood out of a longing for deeper spiritual meaning. Not bad of itself of course but the kind of thing that could often lead to a kind of spiritual wanderlust as it sort of did in Merton's case by the very late 50's and early 60's. WHen this is coupled with an American religiosity in general that put a high premium on duty-bound stoicism, maintaining respectability, and always doing what was best for the institutional Church, it made it easier for certain people to lead double lives and continue doing so for years.

Anyway thanks for a thought-provoking article.
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written by Ernest Miller, February 04, 2013
When I attended a well-known Catholic high school Cdl Mahoney was BIshop; a loved and respected caretaker of his flock. Still, it so happened that several of the priests approached me and some of my classmates. Even though we were aged 13-16, we took matters into our own hands and deflected unwanted attention.

Moreover, there were many pedophiles roaming public forums approaching young boys at an alarming rate. We took the same strategy to protect ourselves. The common thread of self-protection that ran through our group of friends turns out to be "good, sensible parenting".

Admittedly my graduating class of +1,000 is a small sample, however not a single student had fallen victim. Which brings me to this question, "Are there more gold-diggers than wayward priests?" Perhaps the pain Cdl Mahoney suffered is recognizing two sinners, the false witness and the predator.

As a reference, one might look into all the alleged abuse at the hands of day care centers in the 1990's; bizarre behaviors with children and now silence. Makes one wonder and at least cautioned against casting stones.
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written by Maggie-Louise, February 04, 2013
"I don't know how profitable it is to focus on root causes"

One can have a certain sympathy for this point of view in one's more detached moments, but sooner or later the words come bursting forth, "What happened? Why is my son dead? Don't say to me 'What difference does it make?'." My country is in its death throes now, and I want to know What Happened.

I date the eruption of the revolution as 1968, but obviously it started long before. Perhaps the first tremors were felt in 1956, when Elvis appeared on TV for the first time, and Ed Sullivan said, "I can't figure this darn thing out. You know. He just does this [Ed shakes his legs] and everybody yells." It's true that the country had grown weary of Bing Crosby and The Three Stooges and wanted something new, but I don't think that obscenity was what they wanted. That performance was the first step in the infantilization of culture. What previously would have met with giggles in the boys bathroom in grammar school was cheered with adolescent screams in public by a generation about to enter adulthood. And, as mentioned above, the Kinsey report on women had come along just a couple of years before to set the country's imagination tingling..

There was a lot going on in the 1950s but, unfortunately, the optimistic mood of the country was not on the lookout for threats to its existence It certainly did not expect that, in a few years, their adored children for whom they had lived and died in Europe and the Pacific would turn on them with contempt for their values and authority and immerse themselves in drugs and sexual promiscuity, under the tutelage of institutions that they, the veteran generation venerated and saw as the gateway to a prosperous future and unlimited opportunity for their children. "Recruit in the universities," Lenin said.

So, it is not surprising that all this began to rear its ugly head in the late '50s. It was a naive generation, for all its experience of war. "Men living in wealth an not understanding . . ."

Thank you Dr. Royal. Maybe if I live another lifetime (heaven forbid) I'll being to understand "what happened".
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written by Stephanie Barlow, February 04, 2013
I think it is reasonable to point out that those most frequently charged with pedophilia, who ran the cover-ups, and the generation that produced the "clown mass" and misguided morality were all educated with the Baltimore Catechism, and were completely formed with the "Latin Mass" and pre-Vatican II morality.

On the other hand, those who experienced the "clown mass" and "feel good" religious education are the ones who as priests, religious or laity are driving the "reform of the reform" and are demanding faithful adherence to the Magisterium and true liturgy.

I think two conclusions can readily be drawn:

1) The "golden days" of Catholicism in the pre-Vatican II era that many long to return to was at the very best a thin coat of guilding that covered a very rotten foundation.

2) There is no rational, human explanation for why the 1970's era US Catholicism would produce individuals with great faith and devotion to the Church and it's Magisterium - but it did. Perhaps that is the reminder that it is not about us, but rather the working of the Holy Spirit that truly guides and nourishes the Church.
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written by Figulus, February 04, 2013
What you say here is fine, but gives the impression that we know about everything that happened before 1950. Do we? It is probably true that as the world changed, and curates no longer had to ask the pastor's permission to leave the rectory, the opportunity for sexual encounters of whatever variety increased, but the lack of publicity and trials in an earlier era may reflect nothing more than the secrecy for which the church is justly famous, and the power which religious institutions could wield in the political realm. Good Irish Catholic police did not arrest Fr. anybody. Has it been proven that there existed a time when there was not a substantial number of clerics abusing their roles for sexual satisfaction?
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written by Sue, February 04, 2013
"The Kinsey Reports are two books on human sexual behavior: Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953)" Look at the first and most significant two upticks on curve.
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written by Fr Rick, February 04, 2013
This article is very well written and thought-out. I am a diocesan Catholic Priest in Colorado and use to be a Legionary of Christ. One thing I have harped on is that for the fallout of the 1960s'- to have happened, there had to be some buildup to it. If you read Fr Karl Rahner and Fr Edward Alfonsus Schillebeeckx's early writings, it doesn't compare to the amount of dissent that arises in the later writings. Mind you these two theologians had the greatest influence on many of Vatican II bishops and Cardinals, who according to Cardinal Ratzinger whom I personally heard him say this in a conference, who were completely "awed" by these two priests. And yet within 15 years or less after the council, they did not believe in the Real Presence, at least that is much clearer in Schillebeeckx's writings. I do agree with the comment above that Modernism has something to do this, but I also believe that Modernism, directly or indirectly, helped usher in some of the negative tenets of the enlightenment, especially that our reason should be able to explain everything, thus no open door is allowed for any mystery (the Trinity, transubstantiation, grace etc.) Now having said this, it would seem that the average person up to World War II didn't fall under the invisible and tangling web of the enlightenment. But certain protestant groups were, especially when the Episcopalian Church accepted contraception did in the 1930s and you can bet your bottom dollar that indirectly at least, this aspect of our gift of reason affected this, that by reason and by controlling my own destiny, I can therefore decide my own destiny and that is a God-given right.
What happens is where I totally agree with the author's argument: post world war II and growth in this country led us to become complacent. Sometime, google the documentary, rock and roll the early days and one thing they mention is that teens in the 1950s had something they never had as a demographic group before, "free time". Now, please don't comment that you worked on the farm and never had free time; I believe you but as a group in cities and suburbs on the whole, free time was a growing phenomenon. We all know that leading up to Humanae Vitae, the Catholic Church was becoming more an island in not allowing Catholics to use birth control. Protestant families had 1-3 kids generally speaking and much more appliances, vacation money etc. The complacency can definitely affect our overall desire and thirst for God. Even most dioceses had their biggest growths from post world war II (also with the baby boomers) right up to the Council. When things are going well, we tend not to "cry out" like in the Psalms; we tend to forget that we are all the "prodigal son"; we tend to forget that we are weak and therefore don't have the same gratitude and purity of heart like St Therese. But even though, I am slowly being struggled by this religious and secular culture , and part of it like Cardinal Mahoney, I can never lose sight of what is justice and mercy, and when I allow terrible sins like pedophilia to happen, even if I am a "product" of a culture, I still must answer to that personally. Personally, I would say, it would be nice if Cardinal Gomez was able to take on Cardinal Sodano who had a big part with Fr Maciel of the Legionaries, but Gomez has never been part of the Vatican from what I know. See, complacency and that lack of thirst even allow us to overlook our fellow Cardinal's and bishop's act of injustice. Gomez, might now be unpopular with some or many of his colleagues, but if we say first the Christian (baptism) and then the bishop/Cardinal (ordination) then we need to logically follow the same path with justice.
Finally, a big factor in this whole area of sexuality is Pope John Paul II's contribution with the theology of the body. Think back to 1962 when he wrote these premises down as a bishop in his work, Love and Responsibility. How did people see matter/the body back in 1962? It definitely still had philosophical Platonic influences and puritanical religious influences too. I guarantee that many American catholics back in 1962 and probably other areas of the world, would have rejected bishop Wojtyla's book. Then, we had some drastic responses by some seminaries allowing seminarians to even see porn, at least that has been reported. So, this has been a bit long winded, but thank you again, complacency is such a huge factor in all this.
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written by Other Joe, February 04, 2013
The entertainment business is an interesting laboratory to test the idea that wealth and peace (in this case the removal of most causes of anxiety) make virtue easier. And the answer is...no, rather the opposite. Not only is virtue more difficult, but a sense of proportion seems impossible to retain. The opposite of love isn't hate, it is self-regard. When the victims of sexual predation have less reality in deliberations than the preservation of appearances, corruption is firmly rooted. The preservation of appearances is the great driver of utopian (secular) politics. The dead offspring, the unemployed workers, the uneducated graduates and the addicted of all kinds must be sacrificed in the name of the shining few. The whiff of sulfur is ubiquitous.
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written by BradW, February 04, 2013
The cause of Pope Leo XIII's composition of the prayer to St. Michael Archangel in the 1880s:

"When asked what had happened, he explained that, as he was about to leave the foot of the altar, he suddenly heard voices - two voices, one kind and gentle, the other guttural and harsh. They seemed to come from near the tabernacle. As he listened, he heard the following conversation:

The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasted to Our Lord: "I can destroy your Church."
The gentle voice of Our Lord: "You can? Then go ahead and do so."
Satan: "To do so, I need more time and more power."
Our Lord: "How much time? How much power?"
Satan: "75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service."
Our Lord: "You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will."
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written by Walter, February 04, 2013
We've come a long way since 2002, when Cardinal Law left the Boston archdiocese in shambles over the issue and the Vatican's response was to award him a prominent honorary position in Rome. That being said....

Presumably, Archbishop Gomez had access to the documents went he succeeded Mahony. If things were so "terribly sad and evil," why did he wait 2 years to censure Mahony until a court forced his hand? At best, it significantly diminishes the impact of his action. At worst, it reinforces the perception that the Vatican and the episcopate only respond to abuse when forced to do so by external pressure.

I look at how many have defended the fairness, efficacy and necessity of the Vatican process with regard to the LCWR. Why can't some Vatican congregation do the same in responding to this crisis?
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written by diaperman, February 04, 2013
@brad w.

So according to this story the "time of Satan" ought to have ended, oh, about 30-40 years ago. But then why are we having this discussion now?

Question: how do anecdotes like this really help us to understand anything about the world? Evidently the "time of Satan" has been extended indefinitely. These revelations just don't seem that reliable or offer much explanatory power at all from where I sit.
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written by Thomas C. Coleman, Jr., February 04, 2013
Dear BradW, Do you have a source for thataccount of Pope Leo XIII's hearing the voices? I love that account, and I want to use it. I hesistate to do so, however, without being albe to cite a surce. One has to be more than one step ahead of the Devil.
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written by Blanche Pensif, February 04, 2013
This scandal is not over yet. The news that the Newark Archdiocese has appointed a priest who confessed to pedophilia (then recanted but had to agree to stay away from children) to the office of priestly formation, is deeply troubling. Why would the archdiocese want him involved in the interviewing of candidates to the seminary and then their training? This mess goes from bad to worse. The emperor has no clothes, get it?
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written by Achilles, February 04, 2013
Diaperman, So how did you acquire the "Author's rights" from "where you sit"? The relativist, the skeptic, the reductionsist all variations of the nihilist can make no sense of Leo XIII's revelation. Your assent or your understanding is not even in the equation of qualificatoins for explanitory power. I hate to be the one to break it to you. You might want to start with Plato's theory of forms, the divided line and learn to see how particulars have been mistaken for universals in this very dark time, made all the darker by Satan and his demons. Leo XIII explains a lot about why we are where we are today.
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written by Fr Rick, February 04, 2013
Walter, your last little paragraph says it all. Too many in the Church don't see that hypocrisy. I do understand the need of cleansing when a priest/lay person/sister teaches new age techniques and using prisms, etc. But when this priest from New Jersey is given this new position or key bishops like Mahoney come out with these letters like he did in rebuttal to Gomez, or that Cardinal Law still has faculties with so many children being seriously damaged under his watch.... it does send a double message to Catholics and I'm not saying they should leave the Church because it's Jesus' Church and not anyone else's. But I can see why people get fed up.
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written by Theo, February 04, 2013
Is it really any wonder, when reading some of the prior comments, why it is that Western culture and Catholicism have now almost been totally destroyed by a perennial enemy? One commenter, Lauri Friesen said that knowing the root causes of the crisis doesn't matter. Really? If one doesn't understand the root cause, how can the individuals upon whom Ms. Friesen is counting to protect the vulnerable and "forestall the wicked", as she wrote it, know or recognize the wicked? And by the way, if people like Miss Friesen don't count themselves among the "vulnerable", she is sorely mistaken. The Catholic Church has been undermined and marginalized by a awfully wealthy, powerful, and relentless force since (at least) the time of Luther.
As for this article: the author states he found "most surprising" the "large bump" in pre-Vatican II reported cases of abuse by the clergy. Any neophyte to this topic knows and can tell you that in order for the Church to suffer the cataclysm of Vatican II, it first had to be prepped and programmed to accept and permit Vatican II which ALSO means, the Church needed to have been infiltrated at all levels of the hierarchy, DECADES before Vatican II occurred. Many, many books have been written about this if one care to seek them out and not refer to blogs such as this for real history and information. Mr. Royal is simply spinning the same tired
Try The Plot Against the Church, by Maurice Pinay; The New Montinian Church by Rev. Joaquin Saenz Y Arriaga; The Homosexual Network by Enrique T. Rueda; Vatican II, Homosexuality and Pedophilia by Atila Guimaraes; and the list goes on. In addition, try reading what Bishop (persona very non grata for a reason) Richard Williamson has said over the years on the topic, as well as The Jesuits, by +Fr. Malachi Martin and his other books. Even the book "AA-1025, Memoirs of an Anti-Apostle" by Marie Carre' is a good start. You certainly aren't getting the facts here...
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written by diaperman, February 04, 2013
@ Achilles

Actually if I recall the episode was the occasion of the composition of the St. Michael prayer. I say the prayer every day myself. No harm in it at all apart from the revelation that occasioned it.

But my point stands. The revelation makes perfect sense. And perhaps it was helpful to people living within the time period covered. But today Plato, particulars and universals aside...not so much.

Might I gently suggest more of this coming to light is not really the work of the devil at all but Divine Providence itself to provide the occasion for much needed and overdue ecclesial house cleaning.
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written by R. Joseph, February 04, 2013
While not for one second excusing the unconscionable actions of clergy and religious, a child is still relatively safer with a Catholic priest or in a Catholic milieu than in a public school or governmental program or even a non-Catholic church. Just sayin'...
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written by Achilles, February 04, 2013
You just might suggest that Diaperman. Have it your way. The revelation that occasioned the St. Michael Prayer is the harm? If it reduces the entire of reality into intelligible scientic terms for you? I will remain with the glimpse of the mystery and let it aided by the Holy Spirit explain far more to my little mind than all the historical critical and emperical data the statiticians can gather could ever do. Please pray for me diaperman, Achilles
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written by Achilles, February 04, 2013
Please forgive the horrible sentences diaperman, I hope you understand, I did say little mind. Pax
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written by Chris in Maryland, February 04, 2013
I agree with the numerous observations that this problem is not rooted in the decay of the 1960s-70s. It was compounded by it...but it was always there...an eternal problem.

I am repulsed by the infantile self-exculpation of the kind exhibited by Cdl. Mahony.

We all (laity, clergy and Episcopacy) need to reclaim an adult disposition of gravitas about sexuality. Sexuality is the most serious business there is. We have an infantile secular society (acse in point - last night on the Super Bowl) and are infected ourselves by that infantilism. We must take this out of the dark and submit it to the light. We must learn and teach seriousness, that all Catholics are called to Chastity, and we must learn how to communicate about this as serious adult Christians who are vowed to chaste married life and chaste priestly and religious life. These are vows we take. VOWS.

Part of the answer lies in confronting the ugly truth of what Blanche has pointed to, in seminaries and in Catholic high schools and catholic colleges. While I would encourage my son if he was called to the priesthood, I would never allow him to enter any seminary unless I was dead sure that it was run by orthodox Catholic men and women of charracter...none of this "believing it'll all turn out fine." My daughter's Catholic college is a disgrace...and frankly...our extended family (and let's face it - the whole Church) is largely incapable of facing the truth about this. It's time we face up to it.
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written by Sue, February 04, 2013
Not to be tedious, Chris, but it was *not* always there, the chart shows - it had a VERY definite beginning in the late 40s.

And that the curve tails off should not comfort us - there are still plenty of priests (and bishops) around - remember the date is the date they were ordained, I think. What about the priests who haven't been outed? There is all sorts of room for them to do mischief themselves or foment in others.

But don't forget the most key point that underlines the importance of understanding causes. Kinsey may be dead, but his sponsor, Rockefeller Institute, is alive and kicking, and secretly funding the next holocaust of human souls.
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written by DS, February 04, 2013
Thus far, the men have failed to deal with this issue. Perhaps the Pope should appoint a consultative body of prominent women to by-pass his Curia and help him deal decisively with this issue. Women, precisely because of the all-male priesthood, have no vested interest in protecting dysfunctional portions of the clerical culture. Women also share, as JP-II reminds us, the eternal vocation of motherhood. They instinctively know how to protect children.

Men in the Vatican and in episcopal sees would probably find it unimaginable that women could have insights on the abuse problem, and downright offensive that women could have critical insight about their job performance as it pertains to protecting children. Which is why it is a good idea.
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written by Robertlifelongcatholic, February 04, 2013
The rise in the chart starts in the late thirties and early forties which would coencide with the rise of secular Marxist socialism as well as the rise of the social media such as television and porn. Hello darkness my old friend I've come to talk with you again, because a vision softly creeping,left it's seed while I was sleeping, and the vision that was planted in my brain, still remains within the sound of silence.
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written by Chris in Maryland, February 04, 2013
Sue: I don't believe child sex abuse is a modern phenomena. I agree it had a particular eruption in the 50s-70s.

The comments by observers about the lack of normalizing data as a denominator, and the stabilty/reliability of reported data (the numerator) are valid, and at the same time, do not detract from the observations, I believe shared by most, that the 1950s-1970s were a time of abysmal decay.

DS - feminist ideology is not persuasive and not Catholic.
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written by DS, February 04, 2013
Chris, This is not feminist ideology. It's common sense and brings two things that are sorely lacking right now to the problem:

- Fresh eyes that can examine why existing church structures can't grasp or deal with the problem (over and over and over again). Of course, lay men might have insights here too. The point here is that a reasoned perspective from outside of the clerical culture and power structures is obviously needed. The Pope should want this and ask for it.

- A maternal (not feminist) perspective in protecting children. Again, this echoes JP-II. About as Catholic as you can get.
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written by Dave M., February 04, 2013
Chris's comments on sexuality and DS points on women's intuition and insights are very good points.
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written by Tony Esolen, February 04, 2013
DS -- It's the dratted women who have been preventing genuine men from entering the priesthood, favoring instead the guys who like to gaze at naked men in the showers at the YMCA. We are not talking here about protecting "children," but about manhood and giving boys the clear space they need to become healthy men. Everywhere we turn, feminists are waging war against boys -- witness what they're trying to do right now to the Scouts.

No, we don't need feminists. They've caused a tremendous amount of trouble. We need men, real men -- and I really cannot think of a problem that women in general know less about, than the problem of turning boys into good strong men. If they did know anything about it, then our inner cities would be regular citadels of manliness.
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written by Carol Cousneau, February 04, 2013
How it happened that many homosexuals entered the priesthood was well documented in Michael Rose’s book, May, 2002, Good Bye Good Men: How Liberals Brought Corruption into the Catholic Church. The book was written after Mr. Rose asked in a chat room if anyone had been turned away from seminary and told he was “too rigid”. He uncovered a conspiracy between liberal nuns and priests in Catholic seminaries all over the country. They successfully conspired to block men “loyal to the Pope and Magisterium” from entering the priesthood, in order to create an artificial shortage, which would lead to ordaining women and homosexuality to be normalized. Rev. John Trigilio Jr., who wrote Catholicism for Dummies and is a well known speaker on Catholic radio, was turned away from three institutions. Order the book on Amazon.
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written by Sue, February 04, 2013
Catholic women would do no better - look at Sister Obamacare Carol Keehan, Sebelius, Pelosi. Look at the many women's orders emptied out by the same sexual revolution that took down the men. Look at the Wiccan nuns and lesbian nuns. They have been allowed to get *too much* power as it is.

And yet, I do think it *will* come down to women, assuming their rightful place in the home. To teach their children in the domestic church. The real truth about the Church and about man's destiny and Jesus' sacrifice and the almighty gift of Love.
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written by Achilles, February 05, 2013
DS's comments on women's insights and intuition are canned feminism and mistaking the particular of the female for the universal human, and possible a solution, and he makes the equally opposite mistake of refering to men, the particular for the universal of human that has failed. It is silly and should not be encouraged.
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written by DS, February 05, 2013
Some of the comments assume that I advocate a radical femninist solution. Mr. Esolen even suggested that "dratted women" are responsible for a cadre of gay priests. A childish comment. Once again, "women" is automatically equated with "feminism" and advocacy of female ordination, a mistake that occurs all too often in Catholic circles.

When I suggested a group of "prominent women", I was not thinking of LCWR types or bomb-throwing feminists. I was thinking more Mary Ann Glendon and Mother Mary Clare Millea-types. In fact, the bishops and the Vatican have called on these women previously to assist the Church in dealing with problems.

Why FAITHFUL women? Anyone who is a father knows the answer. When our firstborn arrived, I was utterly awed by a new side of my wife's personality that emerged, one that was instinctively protective of our child. It is a mother's nature and calling to protect children first....without worrying about externalities like the Church's reputation, financial assets or bad publicity.

I think an institutional maternal reminder to our bishops and the Vatican would be helpful in resolving this crisis: protecting children comes first. I could imagine how a faithful Catholic woman could have gently suggested that Cardinal Law's Roman appointment in 2002 might not be the best way to honor his episcopcal ministry.

Perhaps faithful Catholic women could actually help the bishops to live up to their calling to be, as Mr. Esolen write, "real men" in dealing with this scandal. They seem to be unable to do it on their own.
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written by BenjaminS, February 05, 2013
This is proof that when certain doors are opened that they can be extremely difficult, if not impossible to close, much less close permanently. What has happened here is extremely sad but for those who have true faith, there will be the right type of justice that only God can give. These are the kinds of stories that keep people from the faith.

 

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written by Sue, February 05, 2013
I was less than impressed by "faithful Catholic women"'s response last year to the Komen, and then the HHS Mandate controversy. It seemed to be a lot of email-grabbing/social media hoopla without any substance. And these were matters in which they had more obvious standing to speak on.

No I agree with the faithful Catholic men. Let them lead, and I volunteer Alan Keyes to be right out in front with his sharp, clarion call to the truth.
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written by Louise, February 05, 2013
Carol Cousneau's comment reminded me of something i read by Bishop Keating who was in the diocese of Arlington a number of years ago warning his fellow bishops that they had a big problem with their vocation directors because he was getting so many applications from men turned away elsewhere for being too orthodox. I suppose not too many listened to him...he also wrote a pastoral letter on courage. Then he was taken away by the Lord.

But that doesn't explain Robert's point about the uptick in reported sexual abuse in the 50's in Los Angeles. I guess we should be careful that we not assume LA's problem extends to the rest of the country without evidence that it was so. There's a saying that things seem to start in California and then spread across the nation. Don't know if it is true but maybe only California had the increase in the 50's and it was later in other states. Do you know, Robert?
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written by Walter, February 05, 2013
RIP Bishop D'Arcy who had the courage to warn Cardinal Law repeatedly (in the 1980s!!!) about pedophiles (such warnings went unheeded) and had the courage to lead the boycott of Notre Dame's award to Obama.
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written by BradW, February 05, 2013
Diaperman: you are assuming the period given to the demon began in the 1880s. There is no need to assume that. Ponder Fatima's date. You also assume that the wreckage of this period does not carry over once the period technically finishes. When a tsunami hits, how does the beach look for a long time afterward?
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written by Sue, February 05, 2013
" be careful that we not assume LA's problem extends to the rest of the country without evidence that it was so" - It absolutely extends to the rest of the country. Google "THE NATURE AND SCOPE OF SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS BY CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND DEACONS IN THE UNITED STATES 195O-2OO2" and you will find the full John Jay report. The bell curve is the same for the nation as it is for Los Angeles.

On another note, I did have occasion to email Judith Reisman, author of "Kinsey Crimes and Consequences" and much other research on Kinsey and she agrees that Kinsey was a point source for the curve.

About the aftermath. The curve should not let us rest easy. There are many many aftershocks that imploding our culture and the family because of the priestly sex abuse. Just imagine, if you can, if the most virtuous person took over from Barack Obama, what a difficult job he'd have, rooting out all of the bad people Obama put in place.
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written by Sue, February 05, 2013
Sorry I wrote too fast and misspoke - Reisman thought Kinsey *could* have been a point source for the curve.
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written by Stephanie Barlow, February 05, 2013
On the issue of "orthodox" seminarians: The presence of theological orthodoxy does not preclude the existence of severe psychological abnormalities. Since 2003, if you look at the two most "orthodox" seminarians ordained in my diocese, one left the priesthood and married (fortunately in that order), and the other was convicted of child-rape and was laicized. From what I have heard from others, outwardly ultra-orthodox seminarians (particularly those educated in Rome) have an incredibly high rate of attempting marriage.
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written by diaperman, February 05, 2013
@ Stephanie

Thanks for reminding us of this. Judging from many of the comments there is an undercurrent which wants to blame all the sexual abuse problems on those vaguely termed "liberals" "modernists" "leftists" "homosexuals" and the like. How self-serving. It's all the fault of Catholics that traditionalists already hated anyway.

But in truth, there seems to be no evidence at all of a correlation between incidence of sex offenses and lack of theological "orthodoxy" (read "conservatism") of the perpetrators. This is a problem that makes the whole Church (not any particularly ill-favored faction thereof) look bad.
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written by Betty, February 05, 2013
Stephanie -

I would not characterize a priest who undergoes laicization and subsequently marries as having a "severe psychological abnormality." (I must admit, I laughed a bit at the wording of your comment, because you made "attempting marriage" sound as grave as "attempted murder.") Quite the contrary, as this desire to marry is perfectly normal and human, even for ordained priests. The priest who pursues marriage has a moral quandry given the vows of celibacy that were taken, but the marriage can still be holy and bear much fruit. Anyway, such circumstances are certainly not on par with child-rape!
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written by Chris in Maryland, February 09, 2013
@ Diaperman:

I believe that "Orthodoxy" is about seeing everything through the lens of obedience Christ.

There is no understanding possible when looking at the Church through political lenses.
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written by Juanita, February 12, 2013
Sorry, all of you who are fixing dates in the last 50 years, I am 80 years old and my uncle who died years ago at the age of 90 (and his friends,too) were propositioned by a priest when they were teen agers! They sent him a box of chocolates filled with laxative and so defended themselves. This has been going on for a long, long time!!
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written by Linds, May 17, 2013
Many raise the question of when and why this problem arose? I agree it has always been around but caution that we do not know how prevalent it was in the past. Sexual abuse, like so much else, was a hidden problem in the past, when such things were normally kept hidden and caused shame to the victim. It happened in families and in communities but was either addressed privately or not addressed at all. Today we live in a society that seeks to bring these things out of the dark. The problem is a certain hostility toward the Catholic Church has led to a preoccupation with clerical abuse as opposed to abuse by other professions and groups. It distorts ones perspective. Are priests more likely to abuse children? I do not know. Are there proportionally more homosexual men in the priesthood than society at large? I suspect so. Are most of the cases of non-pedophile abuse same sex related? Yes. Is there something we are not looking at? Yes, adult sexual relations (male or female) among priests. Is this common? I do not know but I doubt that it is uncommon. What conclusion to draw? Is it a product of a hierarchical male Church, clericalism, celibacy? I do not know if or how much influence these have but the most obvious cause is fallen human nature and the power of sex in it. Men especially are vulnerable to the disordered powers of the libido. It can fixate them on some rather strange things (from bestiality to incest to masturbation to homosexuality to whatever) and usually does so fairly soon after puberty. And such men carry this problem with them wherever they go, whether into the priesthood, teaching or medical profession, wherever. Some control it. Some do not. That is the problem.

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