Cartoon: By Ken Catalino
Those of us who were not raised in religious households and were not sent to faith based schools; especially the boarding ones have some reason to feel fortunate. The frequent tales of gross sexual abuse coming out of some of these institutions, most of which seems to relate to Catholic ones are as disturbing as the growing evidence of long term cover-ups.
It is difficult to assess whether the Catholic Church is worse than other institutions, or whether it is similar but getting more publicity. There is ample evidence that many institutions charged with the care and guidance of the young have had problems, including those that were state run. Pedophiles after all, have a pretty big incentive to get into the childcare area.
However the statement of Rev. Benedict Groeschel are cause for concern:
A prominent Roman Catholic spiritual leader who has spent decades counseling wayward priests for the archdiocese provoked shock and outrage on Thursday as word spread of a recent interview he did with a Catholic newspaper during which he said that “youngsters” were often to blame when priests sexually abused them and that priests should not be jailed for such abuse on their first offense.While there is no evidence of abuse by Groeschel, this statement and those following it stink of cover-up in their own right. It is possible that he has been working with these people for too long and has become somewhat captivated by them and therefore has sympathy for them. On the other hand, he may be part of the institutionalized cover-up that has been going on for too long.
The Rev. Benedict Groeschel, who made the remarks, is a beloved figure among many Catholics and a founder of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, a conservative priestly order based in New York. He hosts a weekly show on the Eternal Word Television Network and has written 45 books.
The comments were published on Monday by The National Catholic Register, which is owned by EWTN, a religious broadcaster based in Alabama. …
… But though he told The Catholic Register that he continued to teach at the seminary, the archdiocese said that the previous academic year had been his last because of what it described as advancing senility and other health problems. The Rev. Glenn Sudano, another founder of the Friars of the Renewal, whose adherents take vows of poverty and work extensively with the poor, said the remarks might have been the result of Father Groeschel’s advancing age and failing health, as well as the aftereffect of a near-fatal 2004 car accident in Orlando, Fla.
It has to be asked though; if he has been withdrawn from counseling duties owing to ‘advancing senility, age, ill health, and so on’ why the hell is he being interviewed by the National Catholic Register, and hosting a weekly show?
There is, and cannot be any excuse for the sexual abuse of children. It is the duty of responsible adults to endeavor to protect the vulnerable, not exploit them.
H/t Captain Ranty