D Gregory Smith

Report: Gay Priests No More Likely To Abuse

Filed By D Gregory Smith | November 19, 2009 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Catholic church, church and sex, gay priests, sexual abuse, Sexual abuse by priests, Vatican

A preliminary report commissioned by the U.S. Catholic Bishops in response to priest sex abuse scandals finds no evidence that gay priests are more likely to abuse minors than their straight counterparts.

This is in rather striking contradiction to a Vatican statement issued September 28 of this year, placing the blame for the sex abuse scandal squarely on the shoulders of gay priests.

Once again, reality and science have come to the rescue of the persecuted- whether it will have any effect is another story.

I've written on this before on my blog, and I believe that priestly sexual abuse is mostly an issue of shame, impotence (sexual and institutional), and psychological repression. Many priests are caught in the middle. Gay? Maybe. But more importantly, the glaring and unspoken issue for me is this: What goes through the mind of a man who (ostensibly or obviously) cares for people, in order to justify the systematic dismembering of a child's innocence, and what is its cause? The church seems uninterested in this question.

There has never really been a healthy attitude about sex in the church - to my mind, nor a realistic one.

As an example: the genuine experience of hundreds of thousands of LGBT human beings has been dramatically shelved in favor of principle - an argument that only makes sense if the church isn't really very interested in the experience of human beings in the first place. Ironic, huh?

These findings may begin to heal some of the wounds created by ignorance and willful repression, but without full participation and investment by the hierarchy, it will mostly be ignored. Unfortunate and sad, but probably true if the past is any indication.

This report justifies what therapists and psychologists have long known and understood. This particular form of abuse is a disease of repression: repressed anger, frustration, etc. - emotions that the church has done little to address, by the way - not of sexual orientation.

And with the guilt and shame that will be created by more forceful suppression or willful avoidance and denial, it's not going to get any better.

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The Catholic Church has a history of ignoring science in favor of it's own proclamations - facts be damned. Do you have any feeling that this will be different? Will it actually have an impact or will it be summarily ignored?

It's so hard to tell, Bil.
For some enlightened individuals (maybe even some bishops), it will be a reason to no longer turn down qualified gay men for the priesthood (why gay men want to be priests is another question). For others- those who need to be better than someone else in order to feel good, to look down on LGBT people as freaks- it will be ignored.
There is still so much suffering here- suffering by those abused, suffering by psychosexually stunted/repressed priests and bishops, and suffering by those who have very little power to make things better. It will probably have to get to a much higher level of suffering and pain before it will ever be addressed fully, if ever.
My hope is that if we keep saying the truth out loud, it might eventually keep gay men from being scapegoated further, which would be great. I plan on doing that as much as possible. But it won't solve the problem of gay men who are or become priests and have to deal with the direct and indirect condemnation of their sexuality- which often leads to a radical loss of self-esteem and depression, and can, in turn lead into episodes of rage, psychosis and even suicide.
I have counseled gay men contemplating priesthood to consider very carefully entering an institution that finds you "fundamentally disordered,"and tells you so day after day. It can wear a person out and cause damage it takes years to repair. This I know from personal experience.
I also know so many gay priests who would leave but who feel "too old and poor to start over," to quote an active priest I know.

If I win the lottery, I'm going to start a fund for those guys.

One of my favorite bumper stickers says "Abstinence makes the church grow fondlers."

By the time the lawsuits are settled the roman cult will spend between 2 and 3 billion dollars. None of the enablers and promoters of sexual abuse like Boston cardinal Law are in jail and some like Law are hiding from prosecution in the vatican.

Papenfuehrer Ratzinger is one of those enablers and if he sets foot on US soil he should be arrested. We should insist that Obama's DoJ, who went after Polanski, should be indicted and extradicted from his hideaway in the vatican.

We need laws and regulations that forbid priests, imams, preachers, rabbis, mullahs or pastors near children without armed guards being present to prevent more rapes.

We need laws to confiscate the wealth of the roman cult and the other cults that promote child abuse and rape to compensate their victims. It’s time to reenergize the fight to tax the cults, secularize their schools, hospitals and universities and close their seminaries.


Thanks for a (mostly) rosey analysis. I don't trust ANYTHING the Catholic Bishops come up with.
If they suddenly proclaimed: 'Gays are God's chosen sub-culture!' I'd be dubious to the Nth degree. As a product of 12 years of Catholic education, as a former 'alar boy extraodinaire', (NOT abused) I distrust anything tainted by the hand of Satan (he said, chuckling).
As one who has slept with priests a half-dozen times? As a former mental health worker with a modicum of pyshological insight and hazy diagnosis? I can assure you these freaks are 'repressed'. The majority are into 'frottage' - only - which is an arrested form of juvenile sexuality. Most are not capable of fucking. Most are not capable of kissing. They are arrested at - approximately - the age of 13; trapped by endless boners, idealism, and the good intentions that a 13 yr old boy posseses. SAD!!! They don't deserve pity, just because they are trapped. The rest of us endured self-examinaton, didn't we?! The rest us pushed thru to an adult sexuality; ripe with moral dilemna, a tad of courage, and moral accountability.
These cowards did not. They are Ray Cohn's in white collars - living off the meager fat of their parishioners. They deserve to be exposed - and you can frame them as sacrificial lambs, or the criminals and hypocrites they often are?

Galileo Galilei was condemned by the Catholic Church and died in 1642. On 31 October 1992, Pope John Paul II expressed regret for how the Galileo affair was handled. 350 years.

Joan of Arc burned at the stake 1412. She was made a saint in 1920. 508 years.

In 2002, Pope John Paul II apologizes to the Jewish people for blaming them for killing Christ. Just about 2000 years.

Given this historical track record of the Catholic Church, we may get an apology from the Church about accusing gay priests for molesting children in, say, 2795.

To be fair, the ENGLISH burned Joan at the stake because they were pissed they lost, they were offended she was a woman, and the witch thing was an excuse. The order didn't come down from Rome or anything, this was truly local politics.