Clergy Abuse

In today’s Boston Globe there is an article by Anna Badkhen of the Globe Staff on the victim’s reaction to the Popes strong condemnation of the Clergy Abuse in the United States. I do not usually use these pages to talk about what is going on in another communion but I think I will speak on this topic for one reason. On of the changes that the victim’s would like to see is the removal of the requirement that priests be celibate. I am a celibate priest myself and I take umbrage with this assertion that priests abused because they were celibate. The priests in question abused because they were sick, disordered people not because they were celibate. Let me qualify that statement, we don’t really know why they abused.

Most of the reported cases of sexual abuse of minors in this country are not from celibate men but just the opposite from married heterosexual men, and women, yes women. This is a psychological problem that needs to be looked at from that perspective. If I am making the abuse seem less than it is I am sorry and believe me I apologize to you for what has happened and feel that more should be done. But we need to get to the root of the problem.

I was at St. John’s seminary in Boston when all of this broke and the first thing that happened at the seminary was that a witch hunt began for guys who were homosexual. It was the “gays” that were wrecking the church. Was the common mantra around the halls of the seminary. Many good men were run off because some others, with the full support of the administration by the way, were perceived to be gay. I remember one story of one seminarian telling then Rector Bishop Richard Lennon about another seminarian that came out to him. This guy was so malformed himself, that he thought the guy was coming on to him. Now this person who dropped a dime on one of his classmates is now a priest and the other one is not.

Anyway I digress. This is the first time that the Pope, any Pope, has spoken out on what has happened. I believe the catholic church, as well as my own Orthodox Church, have policies in place now to handle this in the future. Will it prevent every case, please God yes, but perhaps not. The article suggests that places be set up where victims can go for counseling. Perhaps this is a good idea I do not know. All I know is that with the number of us celibate priests out here doing our work and not abusing kids it cannot solely be a celibate problem. That may have played a part in some of this but it is not the major reason. It is also not a homosexual thing, as there is no evidence to support that.

Please pray for the victims, please pray for those who were the abusers. Please pray for the families of all involved. Pray for humanity as this is a problem for all of us not just a few.


  1. One thing that gets me is the lack of repentance and forgiveness in what is going on.

    I’d love to see a Bishop (even the Bp of R) convene a “truth and forgiveness” session instead of watching a bunch of lawyers duke it out.

    Fr X abused a Girl. He confesses in public. Asks her forgiveness. Gets it. And goes off to a monastery someplace to live in repentance.

    That’s all it takes: the Girl, by offering her forgiveness learns a lesson in Christianity. The Priest as well.

    And no lawyer makes any money.

    One of the Fathers says that as we cover up the sins of our brothers, so God will cover up our sins. That’s the other aspect here. I don’t want a priest who has sexually abused someone to be serving, but neither do I want him exposed… There are times when no one believes you – or people conspire against you. IN which case it may be necessary to alert others to the danger, but again, there’s no lawsuit involved. No money…

  2. Goodmorning Fr.Peter:
    Read with interest your blog and agree that once again the media is exploiting priests and the church. The victim, who we pray for, thinks that celebacy is the answer for priests, as many feel lonliness is the culprit here. Years ago my cousin was violently raped by her husband. She left him and raised the daughter, (a bitter reminder). Why are vulnerable people victim to abuse, (not just a problem for the clergy)? How would these married clergy treat their wives,I wonder? This type of violence may be related to a need for power over someone else. One thing is certain, sin is not new, nor is it apportioned to one person but to all. We need to pray for God’s mercy in this violent world. Don’t believe me check the paper.

  3. Interesting comment about how married priests would treat their wives. This opens a whole different door. I know of clergy families that have horrible marriages but are trapped because if they get divorced they are out of the priesthood, in some cases. Thorwing the baby out with the bath water is not always the answer. Sometimes the solution causes more problems then it solves.

    Thanks for your comment.

  4. priest who sexualy abuse children are perverts and perverts are every where in the world in every profession blue colar and white colar. the act of sexual molestation is an act of power over another person not a need for sex.
    celibacy means not to have sex it does not mean not to have sex with just woman it means with any gender.the act of celibacy is self restraint and according to the bible not ment for every one.Anne

  5. Spousal abuse among married (and partnered) clergy would be an interesting topic.

    I’ve seen clergy abuse their wives as well – one in a rather straight-forward way that left her crying in front of the whole parish on two or three occasions and one in a less-direct way that resulted in alcoholism and divorce. One was an ECUSAn the other Orthodox. One was quite “traditional”. The other very much a self-proclaimed feminist. And another who abused his spouse while she moved on… and he faded into obscurity, having made her all the stronger.

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