OPINION: The Catholic Church’s Problem is Homosexuality, by Peter Wolfgang

Msgr. Charles Pope: A Funny but Helpful Look at Original Sin in a Doritos Commercial
February 16, 2019
President Trump: “Susan B. Anthony’s Pursuit for Equal Rights Demands Respect for Unborn Babies”
February 16, 2019

AP Photo/Matt Rourke Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the grand jury's report on clergy abuse in the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.

By Peter Wolfgang, The Stream, February 15, 2019

Peter Wolfgang“All eyes and ears will be on the Vatican during an unprecedented gathering Feb. 21-24,” reports Catholic News Service, “to discuss the protection of minors in the Catholic Church.” That’s true — unfortunately, because the gathering is going to be a bust.

The Catholic sex-abuse crisis is not primarily heterosexual or pedophiliac. The Catholic crisis is primarily homosexual. The gathering is going to be a bust because it is only about “the protection of minors in the Catholic Church.”

The Elephant

Seventeen years after the first wave of clergy sex abuse scandals hit the Catholic Church, “The Elephant in the Sacristy” is still “The part of the Catholic Church’s priest-abuse scandal that no one talks about.”

For more on this subject, see Peter Wolfgang’s earlier article, Catholics Have a Problem. But Is It Celibacy? He answered “No.”

That it is primarily homosexual has been known with sociological certainty since the 2004 John Jay report. That revealed that 81% of the victims were male. And most of that 81% were post-pubescent males.

That’s homosexuality, not pedophilia. Pedophilia is the sexual abuse of pre-pubescent children. And yet both the Church and the media would rather talk about the crisis as if it was mostly just about the abuse of minors in general.

In response to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, dioceses across the country are now releasing lists of priests they deem to have been “credibly accused” of the sexual abuse of minors. Many are also hiring outside investigators to do more detailed reports of their records.

It is an admirable step in the direction of greater transparency and making a fresh start. But it fudges the issue. To be sure, “minors” is a legal term, not a biological one. It includes both pre- and post-pubescent victims.

The public has already known since 2002 that Catholic bishops had covered up clergy sex abuse of minors. Despite the extra and quite gory details, the Pennsylvania report told us something we already knew.

What It Doesn’t Include

So, for instance, my own Archdiocese in Hartford releases its list of credibly accused priests, a list that by its very nature does not include Fr. Kevin Gray. He baptized my oldest child. He’s also the guy sentenced to three years in prison for stealing a million dollars to fund a secret gay lifestyle in New York City. He used the money to pay for male escorts, strip clubs, the works.

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream »

It doesn’t include Fr. Michael F.X. Hinckley. He baptized two more of my children. He left the priesthood, “married” a man, and now promotes various gay and transgender causes on his Facebook. And worse? He was once our archdiocese’s bioethics expert. He had a regular column in the diocesan newspaper.

In fact, he was my pastor when I was leading a campaign to overturn our State Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling. My wife was near tears for several Sundays that October, wondering why the Family Institute of Connecticut executive director’s own seemingly faithful pastor was refusing to even mention the campaign from the pulpit. The Church asked every pastor to do so. Now we know why.

And it doesn’t include any reference to this strange story. The subheading says it all: “A 2012 investigation at the Connecticut seminary found evidence of a homosexual network that extended into several dioceses, and despite its findings, some of those involved were subsequently ordained to the priesthood.”

The Media’s Elephant

And it is not only the Church that is avoiding the elephant in the sacristy. The media is, as usual, worse.

When the Archdiocese of Hartford released its list of accused priests, The Hartford Courant did its due diligence. It reported that one of them was in the Hall of Fame of the Connecticut State Firefighters Association.

But when the neighboring Norwich Diocese released its own list of priests credibly accused of abusing minors, the Courant did not inform its readers that the list included a priest who got a glowing obituary from the newspaper for his out and proud gay ministry.

To Avoid Talking

The Church and the press are talking about one so as to avoid talking about the other. We have to talk about homosexuality in the priesthood. That is what the new wave of scandals that have rocked the Church since last summer are primarily about.

Did the 20,000 men who left the priesthood in the U.S. after Vatican II, most of them to marry, leave us with a priesthood that is disproportionately homosexual? Did that, in turn, create a homoerotic subculture within the priesthood that made the current scandals possible? If so, how can we turn it around?

These are the questions that ought to be discussed, from our local dioceses all the way up to Pope Francis’ sex-abuse summit. Bishop Wilton Gregory, then the head of the American bishops, said back in 2002: “It’s an ongoing struggle to make sure the Catholic priesthood is not dominated by homosexual men.” Almost no one in the Church’s hierarchy is actually struggling. And no one in the media is urging them to.

The voluntary release of lists of priests credibly accused of abusing minors shows good will on the part of the Church and a desire for greater transparency. Unless Church leaders address the elephant in the sacristy, they are just kicking the can down the road. The crisis will only grow worse.

Peter Wolfgang is president of Family Institute of Connecticut Action, a Hartford-based advocacy organization whose mission is to encourage and strengthen the family as the foundation of society. His work has appeared in The Hartford Courant, the Waterbury Republican-American, Crisis Magazine, Columbia Magazine, the National Catholic Register, Catholic Vote and Ethika Politika. He lives in Waterbury, Conn., with his wife and their seven children. The views expressed on The Stream are solely his own.