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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for November, 2009

Catholic Report: Homosexuality Not a Factor In Clerical Sex Scandals

Jim Burroway

November 17th, 2009

How about this?

A preliminary report commissioned by the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops to investigate the clergy sex abuse scandal has found no evidence that gay priests are more likely than heterosexual clergy to molest children, the lead authors of the study said Tuesday.

The full report by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice won’t be completed until the end of next year. But the authors said their evidence to date found no data indicating that homosexuality was a predictor of abuse.

“What we are suggesting is that the idea of sexual identity be separated from the problem of sexual abuse,” said Margaret Smith of John Jay College, in a speech to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “At this point, we do not find a connection between homosexual identity and the increased likelihood of subsequent abuse from the data that we have right now.”

It looks like the report’s authors are coming to the same conclusions I did when I tackled the question in our report, “Testing the Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?”I poured through the professional literature and found no connection between homosexuality and child molestation. The Catholic Bishops commissioned a $2 million study in response to the clerical sexual abuse scandals which came to the same conclusion. Here’s the money quote:

At the meeting Tuesday, Bishop Edward Braxton of the Diocese of Belleville, Ill., asked the researchers whether their study indicated that homosexuality should be considered when evaluating a candidate for the priesthood. In 2005, the Vatican issued a policy statement that men with “deep-seated” attraction to other men should be barred from the priesthood.

Smith said: “If that exclusion were based on the fact that that person would be more probable than any other candidate to abuse, we do not find that at this time.”

Last year, Pope Benedict XVI drew a distinction between homosexuality and pedophelia, saying “I would not speak at this moment about homosexuality, but pedophilia which is another thing. And we would absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry.” Yet the Vatican’s instructions barring gay men from entering holy orders unless they had “overcome” for at least three years still stands.

The Vatican vs. The APA

Jim Burroway

November 17th, 2008

The Vatican has issued a statementcalling on Catholic seminaries to test applicants for psychological traits including “deep-seated homosexual tendencies.” The document doesn’t require psychological testing, but it does suggest that psychological evaluations could be useful to detect a “sexuality identity that is confused or not yet well defined.” The Vatican had previously released guidelines barring gay men from entering the seminary unless they had been chaste for at least three years.

But as the Los Angeles Times points out, enlisting psychologists to root out gay men from the seminary could be a problem, especially considering the American Psychological Association’s guidelines:

“Psychologists are aware of and respect cultural, individual and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language and socioeconomic status, and consider these factors when working with members of such groups. Psychologists try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on those factors, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone activities of others based upon such prejudices.”

So here’s the thing. The problem the Vatican is trying to solve in the aftermath of its clergy sexual abuse scandals is pedophilia, not homosexuality. Pope Benedict XVI himself recognized that distinction last April when he addressed the scandals, saying “I would not speak at this moment about homosexuality, but pedophilia which is another thing. And we would absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry.”

So if the problem is not homosexuality, then what is this except an activity “based upon such prejudices”?

Any psychologist who cooperates with this witch hunt will find himself or herself in violation of the APA’s guidelines.

Pope Draws Distinction Between Homosexuality and Pedophilia

Jim Burroway

April 15th, 2008

The New York Times reports this morning on comments Pope Benedict XVI made with reporters during his flight to the United States. He talked about the clergy sexual abuse scandal that has affected more than 5,000 victims and cost the church more than $2 billion. He described the scandals as a “great suffering for the church” and for him personally, saying “We are deeply ashamed and we will do what is possible that this cannot happen in the future.”

During the discussion, the pontiff indicated that he recognized the distinction between homosexuality and pedophilia:

Apparently drawing a distinction between priests with homosexual tendencies and those inclined to molest children, the Pontiff said “I would not speak at this moment about homosexuality, but pedophilia which is another thing. And we would absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry.”

This would be welcome news, but the rest of the church appears not to have gotten the memo. In response to the clergy sexual abuse scandal, the Congregation for Catholic Education in 2005 issued instructions barring gay men entering holy orders unless they had “overcome” for at least three years. This led to a virtual witch hunt within many seminaries, while priests faced increasing stigmatization within their dioceses. Meanwhile, abuse victim advocates accuse the pope of protecting nineteen bishops who they say have been “credibly accused of abusing children.”

You can learn more about the fals link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse in our report, “Testing the Premise: Are Gays a Threat To Our Children?”

Blame the Altar Boys – They WANTED It!!

Timothy Kincaid

December 28th, 2007

alter.jpgThis one comes in a bit of a circuitous route (via PageOneQ‘s reference to a translation site) so I can’t swear to its accuracy.

However, the Catholic Bishop of the Canary Island of Tenerife seems to think gay folks are bad for society.

“Homosexuality harms society, and we will pay for it,” he said, adding that most homosexuals lived out their sexual leanings as if they were addicts.

No big surprise. The Church under the current Pope seems to be constantly looking for ever more outrageous things to say.

But Bishop Bernardo Alvarez has an all new take on what I assume is his response to the scandals surrounding priests molestating children and the Church covering it up. Usually it’s simply “defend the Church, blame the homosexuals that snuck into the Church.” Alvarez’ position is even more ignoble.

The bishop further stated that there are minors who desired sexual abuse and even sought it out. “If one isn’t careful, they could even provoke it,” Alvarez said. “Sexuality is more complicated than one suspects.”

So now it’s not just the Church that is innocent, it’s also the molesting priests. The ones to blame are those oversexed Lolitas, male or female, that provoked the priests.

Sure there are sexually provocative youth. No question. There are even precocious minors that are sexually active younger than thirteen, Spain’s age of consent. But isn’t it the adult’s job to set appropriate boundaries?