October 26, 2005

On Gay Men in the Priesthood

San Francisco Chronicle

Gerald D. Coleman

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It is unprincipled to write about a document that is not yet released and whose content remains unknown. This has not hindered journalists, however, from speculating that a forthcoming Vatican document might ban homosexuals from seminary entrance and ordination. This conjecture has set off a wave of anger, disbelief, sadness, ridicule and "thank God, it's about time."

My comments are aimed at these journalists. They are not meant to critique a policy that does not yet exist.

Many argue that because 81 percent of clergy sexual abuse victims were boys and two-thirds of these were teenagers according to the John Jay College report released in 2004, ridding the Catholic Church of homosexual seminarians and priests would minimize or eliminate current and future clergy sexual abuse of minors.

This belief has taken hold despite the accepted fact that sexual orientation by itself is not a risk factor for committing sexual crimes against minors. Persons who sexually violate children often sustain certain dysfunctions, such as pedophilia, personality disorders, brain injury and major depressive disorders, as well as issues relating to their own sexual victimization, their inability to maintain mature intimate relationships, their inability to cope with stress, struggles with substance abuse and other psychological factors. Some sexual abusers make a significant error in judgment by crossing sexual boundaries. To blame homosexuals for the clergy sexual abuse crisis is highly disturbing. We should know better.

Posted by kshaw at October 26, 2005 07:57 AM