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Priest Blames Victims for Molestation

Holy crap. The National Catholic Register put up a column by Father Benedict Groeschel, who is the director of the Office for Spiritual Development for the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, blaming those seductive children for priests that molest them. They’ve taken down the article now, but Andrew Sullivan has a long quote from it:

“People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath. But that’s not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer … It’s not so hard to see — a kid looking for a father and didn’t have his own — and they won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that.

It’s an understandable thing … there are the relatively rare cases where a priest is involved in a homosexual way with a minor. I think the statistic I read recently in a secular psychology review was about 2%. Would that be true of other clergy? Would it be true of doctors, lawyers, coaches?

Here’s this poor guy — [Penn State football coach Jerry] Sandusky — it went on for years. Interesting: Why didn’t anyone say anything? Apparently, a number of kids knew about it and didn’t break the ice. Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime. It was a moral failure, scandalous; but they didn’t think of it in terms of legal things.”

Words fail.

Comments

  1. says

    HIS words sure as Hell failed. What the fuck was he thinking, opening his mouth on that subject without even a coherent-sounding script? It’s like he was just champing the bit to defend child-rapists, and didn’t even take a breath and think until about halfway into the article.

    Gotta love that Christian compassion. Not wure why I gotta love it, it’s whatchacall a Mystery…but you gotta love it…

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    I think the statistic I read recently in a secular psychology review …

    Why would a good pious priest endanger his immortal soul by seeking out such godless nattering?

  3. says

    “In recent months his health, memory and cognitive ability have been failing,” the friars said. “He has been in and out of the hospital. Due to his declining health and inability to care for himself, Fr. Benedict had moved to a location where he could rest and be relieved of his responsibilities.”

    Okay, that kinda explains the author’s comments (if true). But it definitely DOES NOT explain why anyone else would allow such nonsense to go up on a web-site. Don’t they have editors over there? Where’s that rigid centralized doctrinal authority when we really need it? I don’t know anyne at the Catholic Register, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have allowed any article to go up on their web-site if they didn’t actually agree with what it said.

    So when is Pope Palpadict going to be “moved to a location where he could rest and be relieved of his responsibilities?”

  4. anandine says

    Larry said, You know, it really isn’t hard to absolutely detest these people.

    It may be a moral imperative.

  5. Quodlibet says

    It’s even worse than is implied in the quote Ed posted. An article in the New York Times added this frightening, sickening factor:

    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.

    For the past 38 years, Father Groeschel has counseled priests at the Trinity Retreat House in the New York suburb of Larchmont… The retreat is a place of treatment and reflection, and the archdiocese has sent priests credibly accused of sexual abuse to live there, but not since 2006…

    More recently, priests struggling with problems like alcoholism have been sent there for counseling. Father Groeschel, who has a doctorate in psychology from Teachers College at Columbia University, has also taught pastoral counseling for more than 40 years at the archdiocesan seminary, St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers.

    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. … In the interview, Father Groeschel said that he continued to counsel priests and that he worked some 12 hours a day. Asked if he counseled priests who were abusers, he said yes, and then offered a sympathetic portrait. [and here is where the excerpt in Ed's OP begins]

    It sickens me to thing that predatory priests sent to this man for “counseling” may have received the message he gave in the interview: “It’s not your fault; you were seduced by those nasty children; and since it was your first time getting caught we’ll just send you back. Do try to be more careful. About not getting caught.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/31/nyregion/in-interview-the-rev-benedict-groeschel-says-abuse-victims-can-be-seducers.html?_r=0

  6. slc1 says

    Ah gee, poor old Jerry Sandusky, just couldn’t resist the wiles of those 10 year old boys he had sex with. End snark.

  7. anubisprime says

    It gets better…sort of!…from the National Catholic Register

    Editor’s Note:

    Child sexual abuse is never excusable. The editors of the National Catholic Register apologize for publishing without clarification or challenge Father Benedict Groeschel’s comments that seem to suggest that the child is somehow responsible for abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our publication of that comment was an editorial mistake, for which we sincerely apologize. Given Father Benedict’s stellar history over many years, we released his interview without our usual screening and oversight. We have removed the story. We have sought clarification from Father Benedict.

    Jeanette R. De Melo
    Editor in Chief

    Statement from the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal:

    The Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal sincerely apologizes for the comments made by Fr. Benedict Groeschel in an interview released August 27 by the National Catholic Register. In that interview, Fr. Benedict made comments that were inappropriate and untrue. A child is never responsible for abuse. Any abuser of a child is always responsible, especially a priest. Sexual abuse of a minor is a terrible crime and should always be treated as such. We are sorry for any pain his comments may have caused. Fr. Benedict has dedicated his life to helping others and these comments were completely out of character. He never intended to excuse abuse or implicate the victims. We hope that these unfortunate statements will not overshadow the great good Fr. Benedict has done in housing countless homeless people, feeding innumerable poor families, and bringing healing, peace and encouragement to so many.

    Fr Benedict helped found our community 25 years ago with the hope of bringing the healing peace of Jesus Christ to our wounded world. Our desire has always been to lift-up humanity and never to hurt. About seven years ago Fr. Benedict was struck by a car and was in a coma for over a month. In recent months his health, memory and cognitive ability have been failing. He has been in and out of the hospital. Due to his declining health and inability to care for himself, Fr. Benedict had moved to a location where he could rest and be relieved of his responsibilities. Although these factors do not excuse his comments, they help us understand how such a compassionate man could have said something so wrong, so insensitive, and so out of character. Our prayers are with all those who have been hurt by his comments, especially victims of sexual abuse

    And finally…

    Statement from Fr Benedict:

    I apologize for my comments. I did not intend to blame the victim. A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be. I have spent my life trying to help others the best that I could. I deeply regret any harm I have caused to anyone.

    And the corker…

    “In recent months his health, memory and cognitive ability have been failing,” the friars said. “He has been in and out of the hospital. Due to his declining health and inability to care for himself, Fr. Benedict had moved to a location where he could rest and be relieved of his responsibilities.”

    Other members of the order confirmed that Groeschel, who for decades was an influential author and speaker who frequently appeared on the conservative Catholic cable station EWTN, was unlikely to be making any more public appearances.

    So a loose cannon gone ga ga…or the true attitudes of the Catholic church when that pesky media are not listening?

    Seeing as they tried that line after the scandals broke over a decade ago…it is of no great surprise it still is the line they feed to concerned followers in private of course.

    The good fader’ did not misspeak…as was claimed directly the shite hit the fan after this pronouncement was published…he was just stating a Vatican approved apologetic for grubby little cockroaches that wear a dress and an aire of entitlement to fiddle about with kiddies…cos they did not know it was against the law…another favorite piece of Vatican endorsed dogma!

  8. says

    Father Benedict seems a little too sympathetic to the plights of child molesting priests for comfort.

    And what, Jerry Sandusky is “the poor guy”? What, the poor guy couldn’t help fucking children in the shower?

    It doesn’t matter what a kid is looking for–a father figure, some fatherly affection–grown men simply do not take advantage of them! Sandusky and all child molesting priests, and all those who enable them should be put away.

    And what Father Benedict says about “all those years” (that Sandusky preyed on children): “Interesting.” I’ll bet it’s interesting to him. Very, very interesting. The perv.

  9. says

    Look on the bright side, folks — at least they’re kinda sorta starting to admit that being religious doesn’t really make you a better person, and a powerful Church doesn’t really protect anyone from predators or evil of any sort.

  10. anubisprime says

    And they held this paragon of virtue up as a psychological counselor.

    Right up to the publication of this article anyway…cos they were boasting about his holy ass counseling accused kiddy fiddlers as part of his duties and as a kind of qualification for his opinion piece.

    So now we know what the RCC actual attitude and policy with abusive priests is today…as if we did not already!

    Makes skin crawl and sickens the stomach…a moral magisterium…in your fucking dreams!
    .

  11. regexp says

    If this individuals “memory and cognitive ability” have been failing – why the hell is he allowed to give interviews?

  12. anubisprime says

    One last rant on this tacky tale…

    Our publication of that comment was an editorial mistake, for which we sincerely apologize. Given Father Benedict’s stellar history over many years, we released his interview without our usual screening and oversight

    I do not believe one weasel word of that, simply because the interviewer was well aware of what was said and who this cretin blamed, well aware, he asked clarification about two or three times.
    And said nothing to no one…yeah right I will buy that with a pint of fairy glitter please!

    Editorial mistake my ass, they must have tacitly endorsed the apologetic then realized they were out in nah nah land without a fucking map to get back to humanity…a rare realization in its self for katolik’ shills!
    Absolute cretinism at its most potent.

  13. baal says

    When you keep two sets of books, it’s easy to forget which one you’re using. Father Benedict Groeschel’s probelm is that he screwed up on which audience he was talking to – internal or external. Like when the PA (R) house leader Turzai said the voter law changes would deliver the State for Romney.

  14. Trebuchet says

    Quite reminiscent of the chorus of Republicans criticizing Todd Akin for saying aloud what most of them actually believe.

    Didn’t another Catholic publication manage to dramatically reduce the incidence of molestation a couple of years ago by redefining the age of consent as eleven, and saying any kids above that were willing partners?

  15. says

    Father Benedict seems a little too sympathetic to the plights of child molesting priests for comfort.

    IF he’s counseling said priests, then it’s part fo his job to be sympathetic to them, at least when he’s listening to them behind closed doors. Makikng excuses for them in a public forum is, of course, another matter.

    The much deeper problem here is that those child-molesters are getting their counseling from within the organization that created the environment where their offenses became possible. IANAE, but that really looks like a problem from a psychiatric-ethics standpoint, not to mention from a conflict-of-interest standpoint. It’s a bit like soldiers getting treatment from military doctors who might be under pressure to cover up the real cause of the soldiers’ injuries, get them back into action no matter what, or avoid expensive treatments.

  16. anubisprime says

    This is a catholic website..

    http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/abbott/120830

    It is not the main article but the comments below that are of interest…

    Check out Steven Fluet he has some seemingly valid points of issue with this Groeschel who has apparently a along and dubious history in dealing with church pedo’s that is exactly parallel to catholic policy at the time and certainly now.
    The only change in the long standing RCC abuse policy is that now the offender…if busted…must leave the holy mudda kirk!

    But according to fadder’ if a certain reading between the lines is valid, not be handed over to the cops unless someone is watching!

    You tend to find that those that defend moronic statements with the
    “I misspoke” catechism…well it turns out they did not so much misspoke but stated clearly and concisely their long held opinions on the matter at hand.
    The fact they get a pulled up on it is unfortunate…so they fall back on the wiggle out from under by claiming “I misspoke” which apparently covers… misunderstanding…going dolally or just plain being misinformed…yes ‘misspoke’ covers a variety of sins apparently… funny how they always make these inane statements both the original nonsense and the excuse for the original nonsense to an audience they think will swallow it hook line and sinker!

  17. d cwilson says

    baal @20:

    Turzai was speaking to a group of republicans. His mistake wasn’t so much that he forgot which audience he was speaking to as it was he didn’t realize the cameras were recording his remarks for others outside of the club to see.

  18. argos says

    One more time, nature imitates art:

    In the film “Airbag”, when a pederastic politician is arrested, he says: “How would I know that she was 8? She told me she was 20! Shame on their fathers, who dress them like whores!”

  19. Crudely Wrott says

    A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer …

    In the large part the victims were much younger. Try 6, 8, 10. Not that an error factor that large ever means anything to those who just know that the voice in their head isn’t their own but from above.

    The spirit moves, and speaks, in mysterious ways and the good priest is well advised to assume the worst. No matter that the evidence does not indicate the worst. The faith must be defended. Uber alles.

  20. joe_k says

    A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer

    In the large part the victims were much younger. Try 6, 8, 10.

    Well, Eve was only a few weeks old when she seduced Adam! Therefore something, therefore child-rape is god approved!

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