In John Jay Study: A $2 million exercise in political correctness, Catholic writer Louie Verrecchio argues that the new report on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church — which did “did a remarkable job of gathering an unprecedented amount of information” — avoided the matter of the homosexuality of the great majority of abusers. Although the researchers of Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010 reported that
81 percent of the victims were post-pubescent males, [they] downplayed the homosexual connection by suggesting that this simply reflects the fact that offenders had greater access to boys. The report also proposes the possibility that, “Although the victims of priests were most often male, thus defining the acts as homosexual, the priest did not at any time recognize his identity as homosexual.”
A less politically correct conclusion, it would seem, is to acknowledge that the offending clerics were perhaps unwilling to take “ownership” of their struggle with homosexuality. In any event, this line of argument appears to be little more than a red herring.
According to Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a consultant to the Vatican Congregation for Clergy and a leading expert on clerical sex abuse, how an abuser may “recognize” himself is not entirely relevant; rather, the homosexual acts alone testify to “deep seated” homosexuality.
“We are identified by our behavior,” Dr. Fitzgibbons said in a recent telephone interview. “The attempt to distance the homosexual acts in question from a personal struggle against SSA (Same Sex Attraction) on the part of the abuser is inconsistent with clinical data.”
The problem with this avoidance is that it prevented the John Jay College study from doing what it was supposed to do, and what very much needed to be done:
[U]ltimately they were contracted to identify predictors that can be used in developing guidelines that might substantially lower the risk of similar instances of abuse in the future. Thanks to their stubborn refusal to address the very obvious link to homosexuality as made explicit in the data, however, the report’s officially drawn conclusions and recommendations are of questionable value.
There is a point at which political correctness goes from being annoying or amusing to destructive, and this is one of those times. Even granting all the qualifications that should be made — that homosexual desires are not necessarily hebephilic or pedophilic, for example — “The ordination . . . of homosexual men or men with homosexual tendencies is absolutely inadvisable and imprudent and from a pastoral point of view, it is very risky,” to quote the then-prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.