The Most Comprehensive Indictment Yet of Priestly Sex Abuse: the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report

The Reaction of the Romish Bishops

What was the reaction of the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops to the grand jury report?  Predictably, it was to react with horror and shame.  But as for the genuineness of these expressions, well, that is another matter entirely.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops spoke of it as a “moral catastrophe”, stated that they would open new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops, and that they would advocate for the more effective resolution of future complaints.[5]  Yes, but they would they these things, wouldn’t they?  After all, what else could they say?  But what do these resolutions amount to, in actual fact?  Nothing.  It’s all very well to promise “new and confidential channels” for reporting abuse, and to resolve them more effectively; but this could only be even remotely effective if the men making these resolutions were all, themselves, as pure as the driven snow.  They are not.  They, too, were priests once.  Now they are bishops.  What makes them, as bishops, morally superior to the priests under them?  How do we know they are not just as guilty, but simply haven’t been exposed as yet?

Besides, whatever the bishops may eventually decide upon as a course of action, this will be solely to impress their flocks that they are doing something.  It will not prevent the sexual abuse continuing, in the long run.  It most certainly will continue.

Naturally, in the midst of all the fake “apologies” (and doubtless some genuine ones) and promises to do better in the future, some high-ranking prelates could not refrain from still desperately trying to put the best possible spin on the whole disgusting business.  One such was the Romish archbishop of New York, a cardinal named Timothy Dolan, who said on his blog: “while the Church in the past may have been an example of what not to do, today I believe it is a model of what to do to prevent sexual abuse, and how to respond when an accusation comes to light.”[6]

Really?  Are people so naive as to actually believe this?  The Roman Catholic institution, suddenly a model of how to prevent sexual abuse?  An institution with centuries of sexual abuse behind it, now claiming the moral high ground over other institutions in society and saying it is now leading the way in preventing what it has become a master at getting away with for centuries?  And to make this claim, even as hundreds, nay thousands, of new cases are coming to light every single day, all over the world?  And to make this claim, all because some of its bishops’ conferences and other bodies have instituted certain “reforms” and “channels” which – and we are told to believe this just because they say so – will in some magical way prevent future abuse!

He concluded by saying: “I would invite other victim-survivors in this archdiocese to come forward to notify law enforcement and contact our victim assistance coordinator.  I assure them that they will be met with respect, compassion, and understanding.”  Again: are there people who actually believe this?  Yes, sadly, there are.  Even after tens of thousands of cases worldwide, faithful Roman Catholics will believe their religious leaders.  Here was one of them, assuring victims of being met with respect, compassion and understanding.  This institution calls itself a “Christian Church”, in fact the one and only true “Christian Church”; and yet for century after century after century, its priests and bishops have sexually abused boys, girls, men and women by the untold hundreds of thousands, surely millions – and their duped followers are now told to believe that finally, after all these centuries, and after thousands upon thousands of its priests have been reluctantly dragged, kicking and screaming, before the courts of many countries – now, finally, they can trust them to behave properly!

Doubtless there are a few prelates within the Papal system who are genuinely disgusted by all this and want it to be dealt with severely.  There are a few decent men within the priesthood.  Not Christian men of course, but morally decent men as the world judges decency.  The problem is, it is so widespread that we can never be sure that even those who appear to be genuinely angered and disgusted will not, at some future date, be found guilty of the same things as well.

Some, like the bishop of Madison, Wisconsin, Robert C. Morlino, had very strong words after the grand jury report was released: “I am tired of people being hurt, gravely hurt!  I am tired of the obfuscation of truth.  I am tired of sin….  The stories being brought into light… are sickening.  Hearing even one of these stories is, quite literally, enough to make someone sick.”[7]

He also pulled no punches when describing just how rife sodomy is within the Roman Catholic institution – and despite all the denials from many other quarters that there is no connection between sodomy and child sexual abuse, he was having none of it.  He said: “It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation”.  He stated that “Church” teaching was that a homosexual inclination rendered a man unfit to be a priest.  And he added: “the decision to act upon this [homosexual inclination] is a sin so grave that it cries out to heaven for vengeance, especially when it involves preying upon the young or the vulnerable.”

Another who had strong words to say after the grand jury report, and who also pointed to homosexuality within the priesthood, was the bishop of Birmingham, Alabama, Robert J. Baker, who in his response  called the abuse “predominantly homosexual” and a “gut-wrenching betrayal” by priests.[8]

As ex-priest Charles Chiniquy made clear in the nineteenth century already in his autobiography, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, not all priests are guilty of sexual sins – although he also made it clear that it was extremely difficult for any man to remain pure and that most did not.  Perhaps these two bishops, and some others like them, really do believe sodomy is a sin.  Perhaps they really are disgusted at it all.  Certainly they were correct in their condemnation of it and in tying it to the priestly child abuse scandal. But they are high-ranking members of a predator priesthood, which by the very doctrines it follows and the opportunities which are presented to its members, has disgraced the pages of history with its abominations since its inception.