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Monday, May 3, 2010

Cardinal Blames Celibacy for Clergy Sex Abuse - You Think?

Cardinal William Levada, head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles abuse allegations, recently said: "I think the causes we will see go back to changes in society that the church and priests were not prepared for, particularly changes involving how to be a celibate person in a time of the sexual revolution."

Angela Bonavoglia writing for Huffington Post reports (
That is a stunning and extremely noteworthy admission, for several reasons. If we take Levada at his word and go the next step, it meant that as a result of the sexual revolution, there were Catholic priests who became involved in all kinds of sexual acting out, from pedophilia (though that is a psychiatric condition with its own etiology) to sex with minors to the sexual exploitation of young -- and not so young -- vulnerable adults.
In fact, a perfect example of this acting out in at least two regards is Marcial Maciel Degollado, the disgraced leader of the Legionaries of Christ -- the powerful religious order of which the Vatican just took control. He not only abused seminarians, some of whom were likely minors at the time, but also apparently sexually exploited women, fathering "several" children.
Shockingly (???) she reports:
Indeed, a celibate Catholic priesthood has long been a myth rather than a reality. In his research, psychotherapist and former Catholic monk Richard Sipe found that an estimated half of all priests were involved in some kind of sexual activity at any one time. Of those, 15 percent were involved with men, 30 percent with women, and six percent with minors.
The National Lay Review Board established by the U.S. bishops made a similar observation, though it did not differentiate by gender. They reported having heard from "numerous witnesses" that there were "more incidents of sexual relationships between a priest and a consenting adult woman or man than between a priest and a minor." They characterized the women and men involved as "often vulnerable" and the priest's behavior as "gravely immoral."
These are things w eknow but the Church does nothing.  I ask again, at what point does this become a crime against humanity?

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