Wednesday, March 17, 2004
John Jay Report
The full text of the John Jay Report came out in the journal Origins. It is rather cumbersome and tedious, but I found the sections dealing with homosexuality in the priesthood to be the most interesting. Some excerpts:
"In addition, although neither the presence of homosexually oriented priests nor the discipline of celibacy caused the crisis, an understanding of the crisis is not possible without reference to these issues. There are, no doubt, many outstanding priests of a homosexual orientation who live chaste, celibate lives, but any evaluation of the causes and context of the current crisis must be cognizant of the fact that more than 80 percent of the abuse at issue was of a homosexual nature."
"That 81 percent of the reported victims of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy were boys shows that the crisis was characterized by homosexual behavior. It has been reported that in some areas the large number of homosexual priests or candidates had the effect of discouraging heterosexual men from seeking to enter the priesthood. In the 1970s and 1980s, in particular, there developed at certain seminaries a 'gay subculture,' and at these seminaries, according to several witnesses, homosexual liaisons occurred among students or between students and teachers. Such subcultures existed or exist in certain dioceses or orders as well. The board believes that the failure to take disciplinary action against such conduct contributed to an atmosphere in which sexual abuse of adolescent boys by priests was more likely."
A discussion follows of the arguments for or against excluding homosexuals from the priesthood.
"Such decisions are the prerogative of a bishop . . . . But given the nature of the problem of clergy sexual abuse of minors, the realities of the culture today and the male-oriented atmosphere of the seminary, a more searching inquiry is necessary for a homosexually oriented man by those who decide whether he is suitable for the seminary and for ministry. For those bishops who choose to ordain homosexuals there appears to be a need for additional scrutiny and perhaps additional or specialized formation to help them with the challenge of chaste celibacy."
Granted, this is one among many issues cited as causative factors in the crisis; homosexuality is not singled out as the root cause, and it shouldn't be. But it is refreshing to see such a frank and candid discussion of clerical homosexuality and the problems it presents, especially when the bishops might have used this opportunity to simply bow to political correctness and avoid offense.
I can't find a full text of the Report on-line, but a summary and some related links are here.
# posted by Jamie : 6:52 AM