Called to the Vatican this week by Pope Francis to grapple with the crisis of child sexual abuse by clergy, nearly 200 leaders of the Roman Catholic Church sat for lectures on responsibility, accountability and transparency.
But privately, they kept raising one issue not on the agenda: homosexuality.
“We spoke of this,” Bishop Ricardo Ernesto Centellas Guzmán, the president of the Bolivian Bishops Conference, acknowledged on Thursday, the start of the extraordinary four-day meeting of bishops and other church leaders.
Yet homosexuality is exactly the topic the conference organizers had hoped to avoid, pointing to ample research finding no connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.
Ample research? Was it funded by LGBTQ lobby groups by any chance? Do the math! The vast majority of child sex abuse, indeed all sex abuse, at the hands of Catholic clergy is homosexual. So either the vast majority of priests are homosexual or there is a vast over-representation of gay priests among the hordes of paedophile priests. That is painfully obvious!
“The main issue is power,” said the Rev. Hans Zollner, a member of the Vatican’s child-protection commission and president of the Center for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Abuse “can be heterosexual or homosexual,” he added in an interview.
One of the main issues with sexual abuse is power; that is well understood. But, in the church, the main issue in sexual abuse is 'sin'! Sin is progressive - it gets worse as it progresses. It morphs into worse sins as it progresses.
The Bible names homosexuality as an abomination in both the New Testament and the Old. In Ezekiel we are given the original sins of Sodom and her sister cities. They were rich and yet they did not help those who were not. "Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy." Eze 16:49.
Sinful people who do not repent and turn to God are often turned over to the power of their sin, even, Satan.
24. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
25. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,
27. and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
28. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,
I am astonished at how the Catholic Church welcomed thousands of gay men into the priesthood. The church committed great sin when it made the decision to do so, for it is impossible for an actively gay man to serve God in any meaningful way. Even a man who lusts in his heart or mind after another man, or even worse, a child, has no possibility of serving a holy and righteous God.
Matt 5:28 - but I (Jesus) say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
How much more sin would be committed by a man lusting after another man, or worse, a child?
And then, when these priests not only lusted after children but committed horrific acts of defilement on them, destroyed their innocence, violated the sacred, murdered their souls, the church didn't immediately turn them in to the police and excommunicate them from the church. This is inexplicable and unforgivable. The church enabled sin and was complicit in astonishing amounts of abominable destruction of children.
And yet, I think, they believe Jesus will forgive them this great evil. It appears they have not read the Book of Revelations or the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
Still, some Catholic bishops and conservative church media outlets have continued to blame the clerical child sexual abuse crisis on homosexuality.
At the meeting, even as organizers and attendees pushed time and again to focus the discussions on pedophilia, the conflicting views about homosexuality within the church emerged as a distraction.
Jean-Claude Hollerich, the archbishop of Luxembourg and Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union, moderated one of the meeting’s French-speaking discussion groups, which included leaders from some Francophone African nations.
He said on Saturday that some bishops kept returning to homosexuality as a cause for abuse because “some people have some models in their head and they will always keep to it.”
That might include God. Jesus is not politically correct.
He said he and other bishops had sought to change their minds. “I tell them the prime minister of my country is homosexual,” he said. “And he would never abuse children.”
Maybe so, you can't know that for sure, but he will never represent God.
Bishop Rochus Josef Tatamai, of Kavieng, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, said on Saturday that in his English-language group, homosexuality was “alluded to” during discussions about the training of new priests.
“The main issue is power,” said the Rev. Hans Zollner, center, a member of the Vatican’s child-protection commission and president of the Center for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University.
He suggested that “a desperate need for priests” in Europe and the United States had led seminaries to be lax in screening for candidates, some of whom turned out to be gay and abusers.
Pope Francis has clearly shifted the discussion, if not church doctrine, to a more inclusive position on homosexuality.
In 2013, he responded to questions about a supposed “gay lobby” in the Vatican by saying, “Who am I to judge?” — a remark that liberals celebrated and conservatives lamented.
Can you not read the Bible, Francis? You hate abortion and that is not even in the Bible! Yet you cannot judge sin that is so clearly and dramatically illustrated?
But while Catholic Church teachings state that people with homosexual tendencies “must be accepted with respect,” it also calls deep-seated homosexual inclinations and acts “intrinsically disordered.”
Some conservative American prelates have sought to bring down Francis, seeing him as a protector of a gay subculture that is corrupting the clergy. Some have said his positions are eroding the church’s traditional values and planting the seeds of sexual abuse.
Of course that predated Francis by a long shot. So long that many of those gays accepted into the priesthood are now leaders in the church.
French journalist Frederic Martel’s new book, ‘In the Closet of the Vatican,’ (3rd story on link) claims that the more homophobic the priest, the more likely they are to be gay. In fact, he claims 80% are gay.
Bishops from Africa, Asia and Latin America say that in failing to connect homosexuality to sexual abuse, the Vatican is ignoring that a vast majority of abuse is perpetrated by priests on male victims.
This view has been echoed by Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the church’s chief doctrinal watchdog until Pope Francis forced him out in 2017.
The cardinal told the German magazine Der Spiegel this month that “far more than 80 percent of the victims of sexual abuse under 18 years of age were young men in puberty or post-puberty.’’
Which corresponds nicely with Frederic Martel's assertion that 80% of them are gay.
And he argued that homosexuality should have been a central topic at the Vatican meeting this week.
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago, a favorite of Pope Francis and an organizer of the conference, said on Monday that it was not the case that “homosexual people are more prone to abuse children than straight people.”
Asked about Cardinal Müller’s remarks, Cardinal Cupich told reporters “it’s important to admit the fact” that the predominance of underage victims are male. But he pointed to landmark studies in the United States and Australia showing that homosexuality in itself is not a cause of child sex abuse, and that access to children is a major factor.
No! How stupid is that! Access to children is a major factor in why gays join the priesthood and become school teachers, coaches, Scout leaders, etc., etc. It's not like they fall into those vocations by accident. I think these studies have zero credibility and were intended to exonerate gays from association with child sexual abuse, right from the start.
Each day at the meeting, reporters from conservative Catholic news outlets peppered the meeting’s organizers with questions about why they are dodging the topic of homosexuality.
Their short answer: because it is irrelevant.
Homosexuality has “nothing to do with the sexual abuse of minors,” Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, the Vatican’s leading sex crimes investigator, said on Friday.
Still, leading conservatives and traditionalists persisted in their arguments.
Cardinal Raymond Burke of the United States and Cardinal Walter Brandmüller of Germany published an open letter to the presidents of bishops’ conferences representing various countries at the meeting, urging them to end their “conspiracy of silence” about the “plague of the homosexual agenda.”
And Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a former papal ambassador to the United States who accused the pope in August of protecting abusive gay clerics and called for his resignation, argued on Thursday that it was fitting that the meeting’s opening that day coincided with the feast of St. Peter Damian, an 11th-century monk who fought against “sins of sodomy” in the church.
(Some church historians cautioned the archbishop that the saint was perhaps not the best model, as he had also denounced as immoral a Byzantine princess for introducing the practice of eating with a fork.)
The conference coincided with what appeared to be the strategically timed release of “In the Closet of the Vatican,” a gossipy book by the French author Frédéric Martel, who characterized the Vatican as “one of the biggest gay communities in the world.”
Those who attack Pope Francis “are very homophobic and for the large part live a double homosexual life,” Mr. Martel said Wednesday at a news conference in Rome, adding that as a gay man, he was able to determine who in the Vatican was gay.
The book’s release was criticized by advocates for abuse victims.
“Let’s be clear,” said Peter Saunders, a Briton who was forced off the Vatican’s child protection panel for criticizing it as toothless. “There is no link between people who are gay and people who abuse children. And I think that that is a lie that has to be hammered into the ground.”
Estimates of how many priests are gay vary widely, but at a minimum, it is considered to be a significant percentage. One priest in Florida recently told The New York Times that a third of Catholic clergy members were gay, a third were straight, and a third remained a mystery — even to themselves.
Some advocates for gay equality in the church said their message seemed to have gotten through to church leaders.
Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry in Maryland, a Catholic organization that supports gay men and lesbians, said in Rome that he was pleasantly surprised at the conference to find homosexuality “debunked as a cause” of abuse. He was hoping the Vatican “would give a more definitive, official statement from the pope to that effect.”
But among the bishops in the room with Francis, the issue was not exactly settled.
Entering the conference, Bishop Gonzalo de Villa y Vásquez of Guatemala said, “I think it can be a legitimate question whether or not there is a link between homosexuality and abuses.”
Certainly one that needs to be studied from God's perspective rather than a politically correct perspective. Until the church does that, they are firmly on the wrong track and will wander further and further from God. But then, the church must prepare itself for the Revelation of Jesus Christ! And it appears to be heading in the right direction for that.
The sentence, 'Come out of her, my people!' keeps coming to mind.