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Despite, these realizations, (which, as Feminist Philosophers pointed out here, seem like they shouldn’t be realizations for an institution that claims to have moral authority), that the Catholic Church needs to avoid defensiveness over the sex abuse scandal, it seems like there is actually quite a bit of defensiveness going on.

We have Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League, saying that the sex abuse in the Church is a “homosexual crisis.”

We have facebook events dedicated to getting people to change their statuses to show solidarity with the pope against “unfair attacks.”*

And, we have an Archbishop who writes this:

“A study undertaken by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice reported last November that the height of reported sexual abuse cases by priests occurred during the 1960s and 1970s. This clergy abuse was concurrent with the so-called ‘sexual revolution,’ resulting in a high incidence of sexual promiscuity, divorce and drug use within our culture.”

I don’t understand his association of the abuse with the time of the “sexual revolution.” Abuse is not analogous to consensual sex or liberal views of sexuality. Abuse is abuse. It’s about domination and power. I’m not certain how the divorce rate is relevant either, because divorce rates have risen to be sure, but maybe, just maybe, this is because women’s equality has risen and there is now less pressure to stay in a terrible marriage just because getting married and staying married is “what women do.”

Of course, he does say that he’s not offering context to exonerate anyone, but offering context is still a form of excuse- it’s saying, “Well, I know what I did was wrong, but it’s less wrong than it seems.”

*Clarification: I have no idea if the attacks are unfair or not, and I don’t think saying they are unfair is, in and of itself, being defensive. However, I do think saying they are unfair before we know if they are fair or not, or assuming any attack against the pope is unfair just because he is the pope, is being defensive.


Here’s some good advice from a sidewalk!