Just the Facts

Just the Facts

Many who are older might remember the TV show ‘Dragnet’ with Sgt. Joe Friday who interviewed people by saying, “Just the facts.”  That line has come to my mind as I have read the torrent of commentary on clergy sexual abuse.  So many writers are so poorly informed.  Much of what has been written is far from the facts, and some are positing conclusions which are ridiculous.  Maintaining a sane perspective through accurate analysis is needed more than ever.

On the one hand, the news about Archbishop McCarrick is horrendous; the Pennsylvania grand jury report is disturbing; and the letter by Archbishop Viganò was shocking.  Yet, it is not helpful to have so many people blogging about these affairs, and who are jumping to imprudent conclusions.  We do not benefit from so much drama.

In the recent article of the Wyoming Catholic Register, I offered my perspective on the situation.  See page two of the WCR (http://www.dioceseofcheyenne.org/register.html).

Also, there is an excellent article by Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D., ABPP which is titled “Separating Facts About Clergy Abuse From Fiction” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/do-the-right-thing/201808/separating-facts-about-clergy-abuse-fiction).  He offers a rationale for four facts:

  1. No empirical data exists that suggests that Catholic clerics sexually abuse minors at a level higher than clerics from other religious traditions or from other groups of men who have ready access and power over children (e.g., school teachers, coaches).
  2. Clerical celibacy doesn’t cause pedophilia and sexual crimes against minors.
  3. Homosexual clerics aren’t the cause of pedophilia in the Church.
  4. The Church has used best practices to deal with this issue since 2002.

I encourage you to take the time to read that article.  It offers a sane perspective in the midst of so much turbulence.  Undoubtedly, these are challenging days, but the sky is not falling.  We need to stay the course, and keep a sane perspective.

3 thoughts on “Just the Facts

  1. I think God quite often challenges us. It’s as if He is saying “ Do you still love me now?”
    And you are right Bishop when you said we must stay the course. We do because these abuses as well as the thousands of documented events of office corruption throughout the history of our church and faith all have very little to do with our goal of staying focused on Jesus Christ.
    Priests are human beings and are subject to every temptation. That’s no excuse, “just the facts”!

  2. Thank you for your clear thinking on this issue! It is good to keep this all in perspective, and to not let our faith be shaken…. “to whom would we go, oh Lord, you have the words of eternal life!” At the same time, I hope the USSCB will make the processing of these issues water-tight. Perhaps give it all to an independent commission and change Cannon Law as necessary. We need a transparent, trustworthy, safe environment from which to do the work of evangelization without distraction!

  3. Most Graced Bishop Steven,
    Thank you for the encouraging words with all of this sex abuse; the other day I received a message on our Carmelite prayer line; we thought it to be very enlighting, and thought you might like to read it. The Lord is truly doing a purifying, first in the church and than each family.

    God Bless you and prayers are with you . Marium

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