Friday, August 31, 2012

Misisng the Point on Child Sexual Abuse

In a recent interview (since redacted due to the comments I will be discussing) with the National Catholic Register, Father Benedict Groeschel made some rather startling comments about the Catholic sex abuse scandal, in effect arguing that the priests who committed the abuse should not be blamed because the were seduced by the young children they abused:
[Father Groeschel]: A little bit, yes; but you know, in those cases, they have to leave. And some of them profoundly — profoundly — penitential, horrified. 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.
This is an excellent example of Missing the Point as Father Groeschel appears to have absolutely no understanding about what is so objectionable about this abuse scandal. Let's assume for the sake of argument that there is a 14 year-old boy who is attempting to seduce a priest (a dubious assumption at best). If the priest then succumbs to that seduction does this in any way absolve him of his crimes? Given that the priest is an adult in a position of authority over the seducer, he has a moral and legal obligation to resist that seduction. Even if a 14 year-old is asking for it, the adult needs to be an adult and rebuff those advances, while hopefully explaining to the seducer why such advances are inappropriate. That Father Groeschel seems to miss this obvious fact calls into serious question his mental competency and also raises some additional disturbing questions about what the Catholic hierarchy is thinking.

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