On the McCarrick Report

Published November 13, 2020

The REPORT ON THE HOLY SEE’S INSTITUTIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND DECISION-MAKING RELATED TO FORMER CARDINAL THEODORE EDGAR MCCARRICK dropped this week.

It is a sort of autopsy on the hierarchy’s failure (all the way to Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI) to catch a predator who had a mound of anecdotal evidence against him, yet who rose through the ranks under Pope JPII, was ineffectively dealt with by B16 (and by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, of whom more presently), and who finally, in 2018–when Francis got the goods on him due to an American civil investigation–was fired and stripped of his status as Cardinal.

Francis then took the unprecedented step of commissioning this sort of ecclesial Warren Report to try to figure out what in hell happened. It is a very healthy, albeit belated step forward for transparency in the Church, something the global hierarchy has badly needed and something Francis has been bitterly opposed for seeking–by some members of the hierarchy, unsurprisingly. (Though, weirdly, he has also been attacked by Reactionaries because the report took so long–and attacked because the report does not say what Francis-haters want to hear. Moral: Francis-haters just hate Francis, whatever he does.)

It’s important to grasp that Francis has, himself, been on a learning curve here. Recall that a few years back, some laity in Chile tried to bring an abuse complaint to him and he rebuked them in classic clericalist fashion. But then, some bishops (notably Cardinal Sean O’Malley) apparently got to him and said, “You need to listen” and he, to his credit, did. The result was that he actually obtained the resignation of the entire Chilean episcopacy and an investigation of the complaints.

As I say, when I evaluate the actions of my fathers, I don’t start by demanding that they see what I see. I look at how well they advance the ball down the field from where they started. He started from an old school clericalist mindset like pretty much his entire generation. Now he’s advancing the ball and challenging clericalism. Bully for him.

A word about clericalism. It is one of the oldest structures of sin in the Church. What’s a structure of sin? Funny you should ask! I just wrote a book addressing that, among other things:

A Biblical Example of a Structure of Sin

To give an example of what is meant by a Structure of Sin, see Acts 19:23-41. When Paul went to Ephesus to preach the gospel he did not simply threaten a religious system that worshipped Diana, the Moon Goddess. He threatened an entire socio-economic and political system organized around her temple, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Consequently, it was not just a gaggle of random members of the cult of Diana that attacked him. It was a mob organized and spurred on by the silversmiths of Ephesus, who made their living selling Diana trinkets to pilgrims. The gospel threatened (and in good time would eventually dismantle) a religio-economic-socio-political Structure of Sin in Ephesus that stood opposed to the Kingdom of God.

Now we—to the degree we all sin—are all idolaters just like the Ephesians, since sin is the disordered attempt to get our deepest happiness from something other than God. Our Big Four in the pantheon of idols are (and always have been) Money, Pleasure, Power and Honor. And, just as the Ephesian silversmiths did, we too create political and economic systems to support our idols.

This results in the creation of idolatrous political and economic systems that fight against those trapped within them, especially against those who are genuinely trying to do the right thing—just as the political and economic structures in Ephesus fought against Paul.

In short

The point is this: Structures of Sin make it hard to be good and often punish us for trying while blinding us from even being able to see the good. Healthy institutions, in contrast, make it much easier to do the right thing and even reward us for trying.

Clericalism is not the sacerdotal office of the priesthood itself. I am a Catholic and firmly believe in the sacrament of Holy Orders as a good thing since Jesus Christ instituted it and the apostles passed on their authority to bishops in apostolic succession.

But that does not mean (as predatory priests and enabling bishops have done such a bang-up job of demonstrating) that priests, bishops and even popes cannot sin gravely. And one of the biggest sins to which clerics are naturally prey is the notion that, being ordained, they are the Elite and just, well, better than the rest of us. With that comes a whole Company Man mentality in which protection of the Guild is equated with Defending the Faith when, in fact, it just turned out you were defending the Guild from its victims’ cries for justice.

This is not a peculiarly priestly sin, of course. All Company Men are prey to this from educators to the military to corporate life. Anywhere there is an institution, this temptation exists. But when it manifests with priests, we call it clericalism.

The thing is, as disciples of Jesus, Catholics are expected–by God Almighty and by the human race–to be better than this. As Jesus says, “Those to whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). So while the failures here are, in a certain sense, typical human sin, the fact remains that those who failed us were the custodians of a revelation that is not merely human, but divine, and it was their responsibility to act like it, not to act like every other butt-guarding Company Man. Jesus has terrible warnings about millstone neckties for those who so profoundly wound his little ones.

I don’t want to keep you here all day, so I just want to remark on a few things.

First, this is, beyond any possible doubt, JPII’s greatest failure. There is just no way around it. Here, as with his refusal to investigate Maciel, he was presented with credible evidence of a huge danger and he refused to act.

Excuses can be made and have been. He came from a Communist country where accusations of perversion were a common device for attacking the Church and he reflexively rejected them. (The thing is, given the universality of abuse in the Church, it must be stated that, as often as not, the Commies had a real point and were not inventing the charges.)

Another excuse is that JPII just flat liked McCarrick (one of the central ways clericalism propagates is through friendship).

And it was very true that McCarrick was a very able administrator and–from the standpoint of bureaucratic competence in a huge, complex global Church with the US Church as one of its most powerful parts–he did his work very well. (Indeed, one of the countless paradoxes of McCarrick’s career is that he was in charge of overseeing the bureaucratic reform in the wake of the scandal and, like it or not, he did a very good job–except that he made sure to shield himself. One of the weird facts of life is that deeply corrupt people can still be very gifted ones. He is a gifted bureaucrat who crafted a good bureaucratic reform.)

Etc.

But at the end of the day, the excuses pall and the fact remains that, when presented with an urgent moral demand to investigate a dangerous predator, John Paul, on more than one occasion, did not merely passively fail to do so, he actively refused to do so. That’s on him, and it will always be part of his legacy, just as Peter will always be remembered as the disciple who both declared his faith in Jesus as the Son of God and denied him on the eve of his crucifixion. Both Peter’s greatness and his horrifying failure are true of him.

I should note that, as a Catholic, I regard this as utterly characteristic of the Petrine office. Chesterton once remarked:

“When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its cornerstone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward – in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed, because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing, the historic Christian Church, was founded on a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.”

Peter constantly whipsaws between greatness and abject failure. He constantly requires restoration by Christ. He functions as a sign of unity in that way too. Because he shows that “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). The revelation ultimately is not from the Church–whose members abuse children, cover it up and fail to act, and, above all, deny Christ himself in the hour of his crucifixion–but from Christ who refuses to abandon us even then.

That said, the point here is not about the grace Christ extends to Peter. It is about the the justice he demands Peter render to the victims he failed. That is why Peter is not told “It’s all in the past. Forget it,” by the Risen Christ. He is thrice commanded “Feed my sheep.”

The flock–and above all the victims in the flock, not the clerical office–should be the focus here. And this is a weakness of the Report. The question “How did this happen?” is vital to answer, but the way the Report does it is still clericalcentric. It does not spend a lot of time focusing on the victims.

Not to say the report is badly done. It does what it set out to do and that’s an important step. But it’s not the last step the Church needs to take.

The other thing worth noting is how Reactionary Francis-hating Catholics are spinning all this. As I mentioned above, they complained that it was taking too long and now they complain that it’s out. Like the Jewish mother-in-law in the old joke, the food is bad and the portions are too small. Everything is wrong and bad because Francis commissioned it and it turns out the guy who actually did something to get rid of McCarrick did better than the Popes who did nothing about McCarrick. How about that?

Above all, what the report shows is that the darling of the Francis-hating Freak Show in the US, Archbishop Vigano, both failed victims and, to cover that up, committed a massively selfish act of butt-covering lies when he hucked a live grenade in to the Church, accused Francis of removing fictional “sanctions” on McCarrick, and screamed for him to RESIGN!!!! in a coordinated assault on Francis in 2018. The purpose of that assault, as is now crystal clear (and was obvious even then) was to distract from Vigano’s own abject failure to confront McCarrick when Vigano was apostolic nuncio to the US.

A word about that. Apostolic nuncios are sort of the Vatican’s ecclesial ambassador to the Churches in various countries. They and they alone can do things like punish cardinals who get out of line–such as McCarrick. No bishop can do that, which is why no bishop was able to remove McCarrick. It was up to Vigano.

In Vigano’s “testimony” from 2018, he tells us that he and Benedict placed some sort of “sanctions” on McCarrick because they totally knew he was a predator. Said “sanctions” were, according to Vigano, lifted by Francis because he is an evil, evil man.

But in fact, there is zero evidence such “sanctions” ever existed. The truth is much more mundane. Vigano, by his own testimony, knew about McCarrick–and did nothing but wine and dine him.

When challenged with questions about all this, Vigano then went into hiding, claiming that “they” were trying to kill him and has spent the last two years issuing increasingly crazy bulletins from his secret lair, denouncing Vatican II, accusing Francis of loony conspiracies, declaring COVID a hoax and part of some whack job “Great Reset” conspiracy in which Shadowy Forces are going to take over the Church and do Bad Things, declaring Biden supporters “Children of Darkness” at war with the MAGA “Children of Light”, and prophesying the Deep State Conspiracy against Trump and the Deep Church Conspiracy led by Francis.

But the fact remains that Vigano refused to listen to witnesses who warned him that McCarrick was a predator.

The second astonishing reveal comes 12 years later, after Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s appointment as apostolic nuncio to the United States.

When a priest (described in the report as “Priest 3”) in McCarrick’s former diocese of Metuchen informed the nuncio of his lawsuit he was bringing over McCarrick’s sexual misconduct, Viganò naturally informed Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops in Rome. Ouellet told him to launch an inquiry into the allegation, following a series of steps.

Yet “Viganò did not take these steps,” the report says, “and therefore never placed himself in the position to ascertain the credibility of Priest 3.”

In short, Vigano screams blame at Francis–the only pope who did something about McCarrick–to deflect attention from his own guilt.

Austen Ivereigh lays out just how Vigano’s refusal to investigate led to Francis initially following the conclusions of his predecessors until new evidence led to his action against McCarrick:

The report finds no basis for Viganò’s discredited claim in 2018 that Francis had somehow rehabilitated McCarrick. Between Francis’s election in 2013 and 2017, the McCarrick issue was rarely addressed, finds the Report. McCarrick—by now in his eighties—continued to work and travel as before, but never on behalf of the Holy See, and not as often because of his advanced age.

Francis knew of the allegations and rumors relating to McCarrick’s past, the Report finds, but saw no reason to alter the decisions taken by his predecessors. (Had Viganò bothered to investigate Priest 3’s claims, the Report does not need to add, there could have been a reason for Francis to act against McCarrick.)

In response to Viganò’s claims that he had mentioned McCarrick in meetings with Francis in June and October 2013, “no records support Viganò’s account,” says the Report, “and evidence as to what he said is sharply disputed.”

Then came the allegation of sex abuse by McCarrick of a minor in the 1970s, which triggered the Archdiocese of New York’s investigation. Once the allegation was deemed credible, Francis stripped McCarrick of his red hat. After a canonical trial found him guilty, he was dismissed from the clerical state.

It was the first clear, decisive, punitive action taken by a pope against McCarrick in 40 years.

Yet despite all this, the Greatest Catholics of All Time, who have been so wrong about so much so many times for so long continue eating up all this Vigano insanity with a spoon.

Why?

Because the Greatest Catholics of All Time, swollen with pride, listen to what their itching ears want to hear, not to reality. That is because it is still all about power for them and the conviction that they are here to save the Church from gays and liberals and the pope, not that they are themselves in need of salvation. Most emphatically, it is not about the victims for the Greatest Catholics of All Time. Victims only matter if they are useful for destroying their enemies. Otherwise, just like “Priest 3” they are discarded.

And that is where I leave this. The principal takeaway from this tragedy is that the problem is not gays and liberals. The problem is abusers, gay and straight, and enablers, liberal and conservative. The Greatest Catholics of All Time will not accept that. And so they hate and deny the fact that two conservative Popes failed while a pope they perceive as “liberal” did the right thing. They cannot endure the notion that Vigano, a conservative, is a selfish con man because they cannot endure the fact that again and again, they themselves keep falling for con men. They see and admire themselves in the mirror as the saviors of the Church and cannot, in their towering pride, imagine that they are part of the problem. Only gays and liberals are the problem.

Still and all, that’s a lie. Whatever human actors in the Church may say or do, the reality is that the focus of the Holy Spirit is on the victims of clerical abuse, not on ecclesial power struggles. What matters is the Least of These in the mind of Christ. Because what was done to victims was done to him. That is where we begin.

21 Responses

  1. “ The problem is abusers, gay and straight…”

    I have said this to you a number of times before, but I never seem to get anywhere with it.

    No, NOT GAY. Homosexual? Maybe. Same-sex-attracted? A religious put-down from all parts of the conservative religious world, but far more accurate, despite its inaccuracies. Please stop taking our word and applying it to the likes of them. We don’t want them, and 99% of the abusers wouldn’t apply it to themselves. A homo-hating homo would never call himself “gay”, and neither would we, nor our friends, nor our families.

    It would be very much like me referring to every abusive priest as a Good Catholic because hey! He goes to mass, administers the sacraments, and prays every day. You would rightly be insulted, which is why I don’t do it.

    The problem is abusers, heterosexual, homosexual, pedophile, or kinky who have never learned to deal with their sexuality, and thus express it a manner that horrifies people who have.

    The problem is priests who are faithless ABOVE ALL, and immoral, predatory, lacking boundaries, hypocritical, and sociopathic, sexually confused, sexually disordered, lacking empathy and concern, who do not and probably never have believed in the product they are selling. And please don’t go with that common Qhristian moral shrug: “Everybody sins. Whadda ya gonna do?” You know better than that. Your whole essay is better than that.

    And the problem is also the large group of people who knew all about this predatory behavior, MUST HAVE KNOWN, and looked the other way— the victims of whatever sex and age, their families and friends, the fellow priests, the bishops, the popes, the diocesan staffs, the financial officers, the neighbors at McCarrick’s (for one) beach house— because IT TAKES A VILLAGE to ignore these kinds of rampant, long term abuse. You know that as well. your whole essay says it.

    I am just a poor boy
    Though my story’s seldom told
    I have squandered my resistance
    For a pocket full of mumbles
    Such are promises
    All lies and jests
    Still a man hears what he wants to hear
    And disregards the rest.

    1. Perhaps this is an in-group/out-group sort of thing, but I think most people do not attach a special meaning to the term gay. I think most people see it as another word for homosexual to be used interchangeably. That is, I’ve never encountered anyone using the term “gay” to describe a particular type of homosexual (other than it being the term specific to men, with women being lesbians). A minority of conservatives balk at the term because they see it as a liberal plot to brainwash people or something, but I think the vast majority of average people don’t see it as describing a particular subset of homosexuals.

      1. @lucky

        It’s not really question of that at all. Most people I know, hay or straight, avoid the term “homosexual” because of its clinical and slightly pejorative connotations. “She’s a homosexual, you know”, said with a slight upraising of the nose and a slight grimace of distaste. I use it in particular situations, most of which are either clinically-oriented or intended to be slightly pejorative, as I did above. My experience has been that most people and situations use the word gay in a much more positive sense, and the right wingers and Christians of a sort use it when describing people like McCarrick, primarily to spread a little more of the bigotry around. “That gay mafia that has invaded the church in order to destroy it”– usually on orders from the equally mythical Gay Central acting upon The (even more mythical) Gay Agenda.

        You wrote this: “A minority of conservatives balk at the term because they see it as a liberal plot to brainwash people or something” Exactly the point. They prefer their own brainwashing, but they like to keep it subtle, because as Alito just demonstrated, they like being bigots but they hate being called out for it.

      1. @ agni

        Even though I loved queen when I was a young man, I have to confess that I don’t know the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody. I do have a personal story involving Freddie Mercury, myself, and a leather bar on folsom Street.

        But this is a family and Catholic blog, so I’m not going to repeat it. Nevertheless, it remains one of my favorite stories from when I was a young man. When the movie came out last year, I was happy to tell it to most of my friends, as
        only a couple of them actually knew the story.

        Sic transit gloria, and all that.

      1. It all depends on the context and who’s using it. I would not describe any one person as LBGTQ, because that describes a bunch of different people with a bunch of characteristics, but with a commonality and a communality around sex and gender, in all senses of those words, at least as defined by the cis and heterosexual majority.

        Another reason I would not apply the word “gay“ to people like McCarrick was something I implied, but didn’t state out right. It’s not a word that gets applied to him until well after the fact. In point of fact, it’s not a word that he would apply to himself, certainly not publicly, until well after the fact, but I’m guessing, most likely not privately either— if
        I know my closet cases and/or abusers amd/or sexual predators and/or homeau-hating-homeaus. which I do. If you asked McCarrick, he would tell you that he is heterosexual, but celibate – until well after the fact. If you asked anybody who knew him, they would say probably the same thing. Heterosexual, and perhaps even celibate – again, until well after the fact.

        This is why I often bring up the Boy Scouts in this context, Not so that I can play some stupid what-about game or some stupid denial game, But because they had a massively similar problem over a period of decades, a problem which they attempted to cover up in exactly the same way. For decades, the Boy Scouts forbade any gay people as members in anyway whatsoever: scoutmasters or Scouts. They also preferred that the scoutmasters be married, family men. I was a district executive many years ago, and that seem to be the policy. I didn’t work with them for long, because the stench of homophobia in action made me realize that I’d be on the chopping block if anybody ever suspected it.

        But funny thing: For decades, they had a problem with the scoutmasters molesting the boys. They covered this up the same way the church did. They dealt with it in the same way – i.e., not at all, followed by lawsuits and payouts and criminal convictions. But who was doing the molesting? Married, “heterosexual“ men, men considered by their colleagues, families, friends, children, wives, church, communities, the scouts— and most importantly, themselves— to be heterosexual. You can’t call them Gay until well after the fact—. And they are not, because everybody knows them as heterosexual and calls them heterosexual – until well after the fact, that is. In fact, if you asked them, they would tell you that they are not gay, but heterosexual. See my wife, my kids, my deaconship in the church?

        So whatever they are, you can’t really call them gay. I am a gay man, and I wouldn’t call them gay. I am known as gay in my community, among my colleagues and family. There’s no question about it. you’ll never find me telling people I’m heterosexual, unless I’m afraid for my life. It’s not right even to call them homosexual, though you might get away with bisexual, though they might not. You might also be able to apply “same-sex attracted”— that is, well after the fact.

        But this raises an interesting question. The vast majority — about 75% of sexual abuse of children – occurs in the family, the holy heterosexual home. About 50% of the time, the perp is the father figure. There’s a big reason for that, and it’s called access. Same reason priests molest more boys, because Mom and Dad aren’t sending little Susie over to father ted’s for a sleepover, but aren’t worried about little Johnny, until well after the fact.

        So here is the interesting question: why is it that a man who molest boys is called a homosexual, or gay, or same-sex attracted, but a man who molest girls is not called a heterosexual, but is called A CHILD MOLESTER, or with just a tetch more class, a statutory rapist, or a tetch less, unfortunate and disturbed?

        This is why I object to Marks use of the word gay in this context. I’m not saying that he’s doing this deliberately, because I think he’s a good guy, but what that does is conflate my perfectly harmless, adult oriented sexuality as a gay man with the likes of Father Ted or Cardinal O’Brien or a host of others—with a man who is faithless, a predator, and has sex with anything that moves whether they like it or not. And I really resent that. I’m nothing like that. I don’t know anybody who is.

        No one refers to President Grabby as heterosexual when they bring up his multiple marriages, self confessed affairs, association (whatever that means) with Jeffrey Epstein, his penchant for rooms at beauty contests, his pay offs to pormstars or that soft core woman he married.

        This conflation of gay sexuality— which like healthy heterosexuality, is directed at adults who are consenting and gets reflected in healthy marriages and healthy long-term relationships that contribute to society— with attraction to children and predatory, abusive sexuality, is what i am objecting to…

        …when the same standards are NOT APPLIED TO HETEROSEXUALS.

  2. McCarrick was a master at deception, but others in the Church hierarchy didn’t want to know or care about the truth. They needed McCarrick, the Machiavellian fixer, to get things done, especially bringing in the dough. Among his accomplishments was raising money for Poland’s Solidarity movement. That brings up another point. Is the editorial board of the National Catholic Reporter correct that Pope Francis should end the “cult” of Pope John Paul II?

  3. Was it a *moral* failing of JPII? No. It was human error.

    Haven’t you ever known a person who was such a crafty abuser, that you were stunned beyond belief when the truth came out? I was reading about the testimony of one of the mothers who made the first anonymous written allegations about Mc Carrick. It was her *gut* that made her write the letters, not a smoking gun. The guy was incredibly crafty.

    Vigano is like a Harry Potter character. He has to keep his rat tail hidden under his dress. Who has the credibility? The moral character? It’s a no-brainer.I bet they sent him to the U.S. to get him out of their hair in Rome. That wouldn’t be a surprise. He didn’t go AWOL until the evidence was mounting against him AND Pope Francis took his sumptuous Roman pad away. What a diva he is.

      1. here’s the story:
        https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/28/world/europe/archbishop-carlo-maria-vigano-pope-francis.html

        The Cliff notes:

        When he was sent to the U.S. without a red cap Vigano insisted that he needed to stay in Rome because his sick brother needed him. It was a lie. His brother hasn’t spoken to him in years because Carlo Maria stole his inheritance. Vigano begged B16 repeatedly to come home but was ignored. (do we have to wonder why?)B16’s butler stole the emails of him begging. Vigano then embarrassed Francis by trying to make him appear sympathetic to Kim Davis, and *not* the Chilean sex abuse survivor. Francis fires his ass. Vigano who has been called back to Rome to explain his games refuses to give up his papal apartments. Francis says “out!” (tells him to hit the road).

        Hell hath no fury like a Diva spurned. Reads like the Real Housewives of the Vatican.

  4. This dynamic is a poison in our whole entire society. Every level, every institution, down to and including the nuclear family. I know very few people who DON’T have a story about a neighbor, or a cousin, or a grandpa, or a bandmate, or a family friend or a priest or a choir leader or a coach or a buddy or a doctor, where so many people KNEW and did nothing or actively dismissed and suppressed the truth. Groups just do not want to hear and protect victims at the expense of group cohesion. In some circles this is known as the “broken stair” phenomenon, where everyone knows the “stair is broken” and it’s best to hop over it, and hey, if once in a while somebody breaks their ankle, well, that’s the price you pay for the convenience of not doing anything about it.

    Congregations and hierarchies covering up for priests, university administrations protecting staff or faculty, family saying “Can’t we just put all that in the past?” when a victim doesn’t want to invite their sexually abusive relative to their wedding….. It is uniquely disturbing and disgusting to so many of us (me included) when there is a spiritual betrayal and huge religious bureaucracy involved, but I really think we have got to widen this conversation alllll the way up and acknowledge this is happening everywhere, and it’s not going to stop in the Church in isolation while it’s still part of the fabric of society.

  5. This is from an article in the NY Times today about the Boy Scouts and their nearly 100 year old abuse problem. great minds and all that.

    More than 82,000 people have come forward with sex-abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America, describing a decades-long accumulation of assaults at the hands of scout leaders across the nation who had been trusted as role models.

    The claims, which lawyers said far eclipsed the number of abuse accusations filed in Catholic Church cases, continued to mount ahead of a Monday deadline established in bankruptcy court in Delaware, where the Boy Scouts had sought refuge this year in a bid to survive the demands for damages.

    Paul Mones, a lawyer who has been working on Boy Scouts cases for nearly two decades, said the prevalence of abuse detailed in the filings was breathtaking and might reflect only a fraction of victims.

    “I knew there were a lot of cases,” Mr. Mones said. “I never contemplated it would be a number close to this.”

    ——————————

    Back to me.

    Read the whole article, and then you will understand why I object so strenuously to the use of the term gay to describe sexual predators, when the use of the word heterosexual is not considered.

  6. @ben: I was frankly very surprised by your outburst here.
    You got awfully defensive about this topic and it mirrored what sexual minorities often remark about the staunchest homophobes (that they are closet homosexuals).

    By the same vein, you could argue that the abusers are not pedophiles. That they would abuse just about anyone they had access to.
    If McCarrick didn’t have access to seminarians, but ran a boys choir, he’d be abusing those boys. A pedophile and a homosexual. If NAMBLA has its way, just a homosexual, no longer a pedophile, though.
    If he was a priest in a Catholic High School for girls, you know he would be all over them. Not a pedophile nor a homosexual.

    It’s one thing to be an abuser. But an abuser needs to feel at least some degree of attraction towards the victim for sexual abuse to occur.

    1. @tough

      I’m not sure I would call it an outburst, though I would say that it is both a firm complaint and an explanation of the facts behind the matter. I’m not being defensive, except on behalf of a minority that has for centuries been maligned with this particular, baseless slander, which is then used to denigrate our lives and our very existence, the Catholic Church is currently pulling a number in Poland, in order to deflect attention away from its ever deepening abuse scandal. LGBT zones in catholic poland, the president calling gay people a worse threat than communism.

      Really!!!

      My point is perhaps worth restating. I am a gay man. Every gay man I know describes himself as a gay man. There are multitudes of organizations run by gay men with gay in the title, and all of them do good. It is a symbol of our pride in ourselves as gay men, as opposed to the shame that the Catholic Church has taught against us for centuries.

      In my entire life and professional career, I have known exactly one man whom I would describe as a gay man who had any interest whatsoever in underage boys. (I am of course excluding underaged boys who are interested in under aged boys). I have heard of a few more. But that’s pretty much it. People like McCarrick do their depredations for years, decades, without identifying themselves as gay men, and without being identified as gay men. Very much like in the Boy Scouts, where all the molesters are certifiably heterosexual. They get caught with their hands down the cookie jars pants, and all of a sudden they are labeled as gay. Someone like Jeffrey Epstein, on the other hand, it’s called a child molester, and not Heterosexual.

      Let me put it to you another way. Suppose you had a stadium Filled with 10,000 men. Suppose you said, will all the homosexual and/or gay men present stand up. You will find that about 400 of them will stand up and be so identified. 9600, on the other hand, will stay seated. Do you know what you will find? That all of those scoutmasters and catholic priests will be in the 9600, not the 400, plus, just about all of the heterosexual molesters and all of the pedophiles. (Pedophiles don’t like to be called gay anymore than heterosexual men do. It’s a tribute to the depths of the prejudice in our society). Nicholas groth, one of the foremost experts on the subject of child sexual abuse, said that gay men are no more likely, and perhaps a bit less likely, to be molesters.

      The anti-gay industry earns its living by deliberately conflating homosexuality with pedophilia. I don’t see any reason for a decent person like Mark to align himself with an industry that does so, when there are other ways to say exactly the same thing without denigrating people who are innocent.

      Words matter. How they are used, the intent with which they are used, matter also. Especially when they are used as the basis for a baseless, durable, dishes, and ancient prejudice that has been used for centuries to harm innocent people who just want to live their lives with the same participation in society as everyone else.

      1. Mentioning “anti-LGBT zones” in Poland means you’re in an echo chamber and you didn’t even bother researching what’s behind that label and who used it first to denigrate the initiative.
        In short, people are reacting to false reports instead of the actual legislation.
        Hint: They’re not shooting gays over there.

      2. @ tough and arteveide

        I would be very curious to hear what other explanation there is for the term “We are an LGBT free zone” as stated by a municipality in Poland, or what other interpretation of calling my whole life “worse than communism”., as President Duda so charmingly, and ahistorically, put it.

    2. @toughluck

      I remember a few conversations at Patheos, with Dave Griffith, who blogged there at one time. More than once he seemed to envision Western Europe – and more particularly the Netherlands – as a place where nearly everyone was a militant secularist, almost everyone was smoking weed, more than half of the population was prone to a dozen sexual perversions per day and John Lennon’s Imagine was still top of the charts.

      As ludicrous as this may seem, perhaps it is no more ludicrous than the visons of Poland that are held so dearly by Western liberals, European or American.

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