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Meditation 994
Catholic Church solves the child abuse problem: Blame the victim

by: JT

Your thoughts on this Meditation are welcome. Please use the contact page to provide your comments for publication.

I try to ignore most of the nonsense that happens in the Catholic Church figuring I've criticized them enough. But still, they manage regularly to be so outrageous as to require me to comment once again.

Father Benedict Groeschel, a member of the Catholic order Franciscan Friars of the Renewal claimed in an interview that in some sexual abuse of children cases involving priests, the victims seduced the priests.

Perhaps if this was just an ordinary lowly monk speaking unthinkingly out of turn, this statement could be ignored. But not so for Father Groeschel.

He is not just a member of his order, he is one of its founders indicating he wields considerable influence in the order and in the Church at large. You don't get Vatican approval to found an order without considerable influence. Groeschel is also the founder of Trinity Retreat which once ran a now discredited program for clergy who were sex abusers. He's not somebody who just got unexpectedly trapped by an interviewer looking for a meaty quote so as to dump on the Church. This was an interview with the National Catholic Register which has no interest in such entrapment, and Father Groeschel is a media savvy individual with a weekly television show on a Catholic Television network. He's also the author of several Catholic books promoting the faith. And Groeschel, unlike many monks is not an uneducated man. He has a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University.

This is the man who said that kids looking for father figures might be drawn to priests to fill an emotional hole in their lives. If he'd stopped there he'd have been saying something valid - but not something which gave that "father figure" license to fuck the child. Of course, he didn't stop there.

"Well, it's not so hard to see. A kid looking for a father and didn't have his own -- and they won't be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping, but not having intercourse or anything like that. It's an understandable thing..."

It's not an understandable thing. It's abusing children!

Groeschel also made the false claim:

"If you go back 10 or 15 years ago with different sexual difficulties — except for rape or violence — it was very rarely brought as a civil crime. Nobody thought of it that way... "

Good old moral relativism expressed as an excuse by a leading Catholic figure. And 10 - 15 years ago - the outrage about Catholic abuse was already in full swing. Even the current Pope making a similar morally relativistic defense pushed it back to the '60s.

Let's just go back to the order which Groeschel founded.

It's a mendicant order. That means they are funded through begging for charity. And as I pointed out in Meditation 992, funds provided are not really charity. It really is so the giver can pile up brownie points for heaven, and the recipients such as Groeschel can live their spiritual lives without having to work for it. Simply, Groeschel and his order are parasites. Nothing more. People against charity generally point to "welfare mothers" who actually do need assistance. They should point to the religious parasites - and they are found in all the major religions - who rely on others to fund their spiritual quests.

The order was founded to re-establish the original Capuchin way of life - solitude and penance. Neither of these seem to be practiced by the founder Groeschel with his broadcasting activities and blame the victim attitude. The order is also supposed to be highly loyal to the Pope.

And this latter point - loyalty to the Pope - may explain Groeschel's views. He would not speak without absolute adherence to the Vatican line. I can't prove it, but I strongly suspect "blame the victim" is the Vatican's private position on child molestation.


In response to a public outcry, Father Groeschel has apologized saying his mind is not as clear as it once was. In my view, as in the same interview he referred to Jerry Sandusky pityingly as "a poor guy," the apology was strictly due to public outrage. I think he knew exactly what he was saying, and he meant every word of it.