In no particular order:
1. These abusers thrived in the Church despite not being in the state of grace. How can a member of the clergy be unrepentant from actual mortal sin, and continue in this state, yet have the support of so many of the faithful?
2. These abusers were not screened out in the seminaries. To the contrary, some seminaries seemed to attract abusers.
3. Most men who abuse boys are heterosexual, not homosexual. Most adults who abuse children are not pedophiles. (Do some research, people!)
4. Society in general has a severe CSA crisis, worse than that of the Church. The U.S. has tens of millions of victims of child sexual abuse, and that implies a number of abusers in the low millions. A significant percentage of adult men in secular society are willing to commit child sexual abuse, if the opportunity presents itself. (Again, there is the question of how persons can thrive without the state of grace.)
5. There are many child sexual abusers in the pews. Catholics still come to Mass and receive Communion, even when they commit, and are unrepentant from, grave sexual sins with adults, contraception, heresy, etc. This suggests that child abusers, too, do not refrain from Mass and Communion because of their sins. No one else does.
6. The child abusers in the priesthood come from the laity and from society in general. That is where the problem begins.
7. The difficult of recognizing and removing abusers suggests that it is also difficult to recognize and remove other Church leaders who lack the state of grace due to other types of sin.
8. Maybe we should not accept seminarians at a young age. Have a pre-seminary course of study, that anyone can follow, a kind of learn the faith at home course. Direct those with a calling to the priesthood to grow in the virtues, to work in the world, to test their faith by living outside of schools. Now we have priests who have been in school most of their lives.
9. Offer some permanent deacons the priesthood. Offer some men in the 30s and 40s the diaconate, with the possibility of becoming a priest, without the seminary. We need “viri probati” (tested men), not boys. By the way, “viri probati” does not imply that the men are married.
10. Increasing the number of married priests is an option for the Church. However, it is not a solution to the CSA crisis. Many sex offenders are married men, who have relations with their wives, and they also abuse boys and/or girls.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Categories: CSA Crisis