Priests, homosexuality, and child molestation: Is there a connection?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 16, 2007 11:32 PM GMT
    I went to a Catholic high school for 2 years during my youth in this country. I have met some of the Jesuit priests who were my personal teachers later on as an adult. Thinking back, I just have these suspicions that some of them were gay, but I just could not put my finger on it..

    With all the media exposure of homosexuality and male to male child molestation that occurs around priesthood, I was wondering if there are studies that show there is a particularly higher incidences of these incidences within the priesthood when compared to the general population?

    If there is such an evidence, were there theories or studies on why this is...?

    And is this only applicable to the Catholic faith? I was too young when I lived in North Africa to observe these things in a fundamentalist Islamic culture... What about Judaism?

    What about non-montheistic faiths...?
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    Aug 17, 2007 12:10 AM GMT
    I thought of becoming a pastor because I thought dedication to God would cure me of my "problem." I would imagine others might feel similarly, but of course it wouldn't be right to push my experience on everyone else.

    I grew up believing God was just testing me so in the end I could help other people. I am really happy I am gay, just so I would have to fight to be happy with myself so that right now I could be as content as I am.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11648

    Aug 17, 2007 2:48 AM GMT
    I think if you put anyone into a sexually repressed situation it comes out in what society sees as twisted ways
    ... also the Priesthood attracts many men who cannot seem to function in a regular sexual environment
    for example... if a young man feels these urges for younger and younger sexual partners early on as many do they will likely become frightened and go into an asexual environment as a way to prevent it from happening any further

    so in my opinion the celibacy situation is a secondary cause of this problem
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    Aug 17, 2007 3:36 AM GMT
    Actually several recent studies have shown that the R Catholics do a pretty good job of keeping out the child molesters.

    A study of several hundred churchs across N America by UCLA found that Child abuse and molestation was far more common among protestant and especially 'independent' churchs. A UNY study a couple years ago found that such crimes occured widely across religios boundaries in six major faith's studied.

    Not a fan of the Catholic Church, but they do seem to constantly get a black eye over this kind of thing when it seems that maybe it isn't just their problem.

    R
  • marius87

    Posts: 14

    Aug 17, 2007 4:16 AM GMT
    What I think a lot of people overlook is that massive amount of priests who aren't molesters or sexual deviants, with the medias penchant for hyping everything people seemed to have lot a lot of focus on the issue Prof. Philip Jenkins, Professor of History and Religious Studies at Penn State University, published the book Paedophiles and Priests: Anatomy of a Contemporary Crisis in 1996. In it, he stated that between 0.2 and 1.7 percent of Catholic priests are paedophiles or child molesters. His 2002 article "The myth of the 'paedophile priest'" expresses his views, Professor Jenkins states: "My research of cases over the past 20 years indicates no evidence whatever that Catholic or other celibate clergy are any more likely to be involved in misconduct or abuse than clergy of any other denomination -or indeed, than nonclergy. However determined news media may be to see this affair as a crisis of celibacy, the charge is just unsupported."

    However as GQ jock pointed out taking a young man and repressing one of his base physiological, psychological and emotional cores is bound to eventually bring up some issues. Celibacy and sexual misconduct in the church was one of the issues that lead to the Reformation and subsequently all over Christian denominations since then require sexual purity and abstinence before marriage but condone a healthy sex life within the boundaries of marriage as they say the bible advertises.

    Of the worlds other great mono-theistic religions neither Judaism or Islam promote celibacy, only abstinence before marriage, Mohammed is quoted as stating "No house has been built in Islam more beloved in the sight of Allah than through marriage" (Wasa'il, vol. 14, p. 3) Mohammed also said, "O you young men! I recommend marriage to you." (Wasa'il, vol. 14, p. 25).

    Of the main Polytheistic faith's Buddhism is split into two main different parts the Theravada (smaller boat) or the Mahayana (Great-ox cart) with the Mahayana being a lot more able of accommodating the masses, the Theravada maintain that to reach Nirvana one must renounce all desire and free themself from earthly constraints, sexual desire being one of them. In the Hindu faith priests are encouraged to marry and have families, however monks are required to be celibate and devote their full attention to scholarly ends and meditation.

    phew! Well that kinda started as a small comment and then snowballed into what it is now hahaha sorry if I've rambled too much!
  • marius87

    Posts: 14

    Aug 17, 2007 4:18 AM GMT
    Dear Lord...

    Typos Much!

    note for future...read through more then once...lol
  • zakariahzol

    Posts: 2241

    Aug 17, 2007 11:43 AM GMT
    I dont know if this related and I certainly dont mean to insult any one of Buddist fate.

    I read some where that homosexuality is becoming a problem in some temple and wat in Thailand . You know , this young monk get carried away doing thing when they suppose to honour celibacy . Yes, when desire is suppress your gonna have problem like this.

    In more strictly Muslim country(not mine) where man and women are strictly segregated , homosexuality is a kinda common. It not openly discuss . You have to channel those desire to something. They have this ideas that if you are topping you are not gay, if you are bottom you are. I never personally experience it though, but something I heard.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 17, 2007 11:51 AM GMT
    That is certainly not true in the Middle Eastern Islamic countries... I lived in Libya for 4 years as a teenager. They will EXECUTE you if yuo were even suspected of being gay (and these executions are public). They will kill a woman if she is suspected of adultery... The thing about being a top of bttm has nothing to do with anything. Sex is a BIG taboo in these countries where women have to cover most of her body parts...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 17, 2007 4:35 PM GMT
    Sex is a basic human need (like air, water, shelter, food). Repress it, and it's bound to fulfill itself in some sketchy, perverse ways. I think celibacy is as dangerous as suffocation, stavation, dehydration, exposure, etc.
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    Aug 17, 2007 4:54 PM GMT
    I'm glad to see that people here have brought up that there is an overwhelming majority of priests that have not molested anyone.

    As for the celibate "issue:" I disagree with the idea that sex is necessary like food and water, plenty of people hae lived long, healthy lives without it.

    As for other religions, I'm not sure, but my aunt and uncle used to be correctional officers in Miami, FL. They said they had never had Catholic clergy sent to their prison for molestation or anything else; they did, however, have a number of Protestant clergy in jail for molestation as well as a number of other crimes. This is interesting to note since Miami is a predominantly Catholic city.

    The media's highlighting of the unfortunate events in the Catholic Church, in my eyes, just shows how anti-Catholic the American media is. I'm not saying people shouldn't've known about the scandal, but I question why the media chooses to ignore similar occurrences in American Protestantism.
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    Aug 17, 2007 8:24 PM GMT
    I think that priests themselves are one of the chief victims of this whole sorry episode. As many have pointed out, the overwhelming majority of Catholic priests are hard-working dedicated guys.

    Now there is this awful taint and guilt by association.

    To me, the bishops and archbishops, possibly, the pope, who covered this up by shifting pedophiles from one parish to another, share equal culpability.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 17, 2007 10:15 PM GMT
    I think it boils down to the unnatural attempt to repress sexuality. I think there may be some percentage of offenders that are true pedophiles, but I also feel there is a significant number that use their leadership influence to take advantage of subservient youth. That's no excuse for them of course!
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Aug 17, 2007 10:24 PM GMT
    I do not have research or theories, merely hypotheses.

    re: incidence of gay Catholic priests

    I speculate that the number of gays in the Roman Catholic priesthood could be disproportionately high due to the RCChurch's prohibitions against homosexual intercourse, thus already commanding faithful (as in faithful to the RCC, if not RC) gays to be celibate. The leap from a celebate civilian life to a celebate priesthood, with a purportedly closer connection to God, is lesser than one from a non-celebate civilian life.

    The more effeminate mission of the priesthood, to nurture and take care of the Catholic congregation at large, also endears more toward the stereotypes of gays as nurturers and caregivers.

    re: child molestation and rape by Catholic priests

    The first point of this media sensation is that it consists of unconsenting sex against children; that in itself increases the likelihood of continuing coverage, particular in the United States.

    The second is that the direct perpetrators engaged in this violation in their capacity as priests. The role of the priest as a caregiver and a provider of moral guidance stands in stark contrast to the role of child molester / rapist, the unchained egoist that preys on the presumed weakest and most innocent in society.

    That they were part of the most noteworthy international organization in our species thus far probably plays a role (similar to the sexual abuse scandals in the UN, but on a more softly powerful level).

    Beyond the association with such a powerful organization, the United States has had and still has an anti-Catholic Protestantism (despite the recent cross-denominational ties between patriarchal traditionalists). The power of US Protestantism vs. US Roman Catholicism probably plays a role, as does the fragmented and less structured nature of US Protestant denominations (there are significant differences between RCC priests and Prot. preachers, such as the source of their social power and the institutional support structure).

    The coverup mechanisms, the deliberate secrecy, and the continued de facto acceptance of these criminal indulgences add to our tabloid disgust. These after-the-incident actions and their participants doubly revile us for firstly failing to negatively sanction the direct violators and for secondly allowing these violators to continue in their shadow role as child molesters and rapists.

    Whether there is a disproportionate frequency of child molestation / rape by RCC priests, I have no data to work with other than the tabloid revelations.

    Whether the RCC's commandment of celibacy for its priesthood affects the degree of such incidents, once again I have no data. We quote it as a commonsensical reason, reducing much of the human agency of RCC priests to biological slavishness. I can infer it as a reason for some individuals, but am loathe to concur that it is the source of most of these violations.

    I am far more willing to accuse patriarchal ideas and presumptive perogatives as sources for these violations.

    While I have much distaste for the RCC and abhorrence for these violations, I believe that it is necessary to caution against the belief that this is only a problem on the part of the RCC and that the continued RCC-priests-as-child-molester jokes are unfunny (in addition to being without originality).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 17, 2007 10:36 PM GMT
    "...the continued RCC-priests-as-child-molester jokes are unfunny (in addition to being without originality)."

    Are there any such jokes on this thread? :-s


    "I do not have research or theories, merely hypotheses."

    Them's is a lot of words there. :-)
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Aug 17, 2007 11:17 PM GMT
    Nope, there are no such jokes in the thread; it is my opinion on those jokes at large, which relate to the perceived frequency of molestation and rape by RCC priests.

    Yes, those were a few words; I am a wordy post-college academic and I wanted give a disclaimer in terms of what I wrote and whether I have any evidence.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 17, 2007 11:50 PM GMT
    Most of the molestation cases involving priests are not cases of pedophilia, at least not by the usual definition that requires a "victim" who is pre-pubescent.

    The great majority of cases involve so-called ephebophilia, sex with adolescent boys. There isn't the same kind of consensus about this that there is about the molestation of actual children, since, some argue, an adolescent may exercise will in a sexual encounter that a child does not.

    I would be interested to know if the studies cited account for the adolescent instances as well as true children or make any differentiation at all.


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 18, 2007 2:09 AM GMT
    Interesting to read of the studies done, re: RCC priests and child-abuse. The stats, in several studies, have shown that molestation is actually higher in the ranks of doctors and teachers than in RCC priests. Interesting also that the media has not reported on that.

    I personally know two priests who were falsely accused, removed from their parishes (reputations destroyed, live ruined) and later one accuser admitted he did it because he hated the church, and the other was found not guilty because the guy made the accusation out of revenge. Seems the priest caught the guy trying to light the church on fire, and held him til the police showed up. When they were hauling the kid away in the police car, he vowed revenge. Two days after he was out of jail, he made the accusation.

    Some bishops did indeed do grave wrong by covering up the problem, but, 20-30 years ago, many bishops were told by psychologists that re-assignment would solve the problem. Many psychologists believed back then that the problem of pedophilia could be "cured." Now of course we know differently. It's all very sad.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 18, 2007 2:34 AM GMT
    "Most of the molestation cases involving priests are not cases of pedophilia, at least not by the usual definition that requires a "victim" who is pre-pubescent.

    The great majority of cases involve so-called ephebophilia, sex with adolescent boys. There isn't the same kind of consensus about this that there is about the molestation of actual children, since, some argue, an adolescent may exercise will in a sexual encounter that a child does not.

    I would be interested to know if the studies cited account for the adolescent instances as well as true children or make any differentiation at all."

    I have to totally disagree with you on this issue. Adolescents are just as much victims as their younger counterparts. They have been betrayed by someone who has been placed in a position of trust and authority over them.

    There is absolutely no mitigating factor due to a slight age difference.

    An adolescent may exercise will, however that will is easily betrayed by an adult authority fiqure.

    Consider a case of sexual harrassment at the office. The event occurs because one person believes they have an unequal power over another.

    The same is true of pedophilia, the adult has all the power in the relationship and abuses their position through the mis use of that power.

    An adolescent is no more equal to an adult than any other person who is abused because a person of trust and authority takes advantage of that trust.

    R
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 18, 2007 2:57 AM GMT
    "I have to totally disagree with you on this issue. Adolescents are just as much victims as their younger counterparts. They have been betrayed by someone who has been placed in a position of trust and authority over them."


    Huh? Care to show me where I took a position on this?

    I'm simply saying there isn't a consensus about this in the way there is about literal children. My question is whether the studies account for the difference.



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    Aug 18, 2007 3:56 AM GMT
    ITJock said: "...Adolescents are just as much victims as their younger counterparts..."

    Wow. I hadn't thought of this. So many of those cases reduce to statuatory rape, essentially.

    Statuatory rape is terrible crime on the somewhat defenseless. However, I really do believe, if we want to make a Dante's Inferno hierarchy of reprehensible crimes...pedophilia is much worse.

    In that case, the victim is not only clueless about sexual advances, but so powerless that he or she is unable to do anything about it.
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    Aug 18, 2007 5:11 AM GMT
    Now this is slightly off track, but nonetheless interesting...

    Has pedophilia been theorized to be innate,and not a choice, and not cultivated by upbringing, exposure, and life expereinces? If this is the case, then it sounds like a sexual preference, not unlike of sexual orientation....

    So what do you do with a pedophile, if there is no "cure" or "rehab" since it is the way these people are naturally attracted to childeren as sexual objects/partners...?
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    Aug 18, 2007 5:18 AM GMT
    As I recollect, a lot of the early cases of abuse by priests could not be prosecuted because of the aqe of consent laws. In order to deal with that, some states enacted new laws applying specifically to situations where an adult's role confers particular power, as in the case of a priest or teacher.

    I was simply curious whether the cited study saying that pedophilia is no more common among priests that among the general population was based on prosecutions or complaints that dealt only with those younger than the age of consent. If so, it might artificially deflate the number of actual incidents of sexual impropriety.

    I certainly don't think it's right for a priest to be sexual with an adolescent.



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    Aug 18, 2007 5:24 AM GMT
    Now another question that I think is even more interesting:

    When you compare the ratio of sexual impropriety between adult male with child/adolescent male (gay), to that of adult male with child/adolescent female (straight), are there more or less or equal numbers between the general population and that of priests...?
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    Aug 18, 2007 5:49 AM GMT
    "Has pedophilia been theorized to be innate,and not a choice, and not cultivated by upbringing, exposure, and life expereinces? If this is the case, then it sounds like a sexual preference, not unlike of sexual orientation..."

    Pedophilia is famously untreatable in the great majority of cases. That's part of the logic for keeping track of pedophiles, monitoring where they live, etc., even after they've served prison sentences.

    Treatment usually involves cognitive-behavioral therapy and 12-step-oriented work.

    It's not uncommon for pedophiles to volunteer for drugs that chemically castrate them. Surgical castration is not that uncommon, either.


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    Aug 18, 2007 12:43 PM GMT
    I guess my question is specifically that is pedophilia a natural occurance or heavily shaped by life experiences? Nature or nurture?

    The fact that we are tryng to "treat" pedophiles seems to suggest this is thought to be nurtured and a pathology...?

    Are attempts to "treat" pedophilia as useless as attempts to "treat" homosexuality? PLEASE note that I am NOT linking pedophilia with homosexaulity. This is just a question about nature vs nurture...

    And do we know if sexual improprieties by priests with the under aged (childeren or adolescents) are stastically more often gay or straight, or pretty much equal...?

    What we see in the media seems to be more often gay... If that is indeed a fact, then why is it that...?