A new report on clerical sex abuse in Belgium has revealed that 76 percent of priests’ victims were males, echoing patterns of chiefly homosexual abuse in other countries.
Brussels Cardinal Jozef de Kesel presented the 400-page report on clergy sexual abuse Tuesday, which documents accusations of abuse from 1,054 alleged victims since 2010, three quarters of whom were male and 73 percent between the ages of 10 and 18 years.
Of the 426 cases that were reported, 92 percent go back more than 28 years. The majority of cases of clerical sexual abuse allegedly took place in Catholic schools or in rectories, according to the report.
A team of researchers, led by professor emeritus of psychology Manu Keirse from Leuven, contributed to the report, which has been released just prior to a major international meeting in the Vatican to address the problem of sex abuse.
In presenting the report, Cardinal Kesel said that hundreds of victims of sexual abuse “finally had the courage” to talk about their abuse and that now it is important to acknowledge the suffering of the victims as well as their forced silence.
As Professor Keirse noted in the preface to the report, “Sexual abuse or abusive behavior is not a disease; it is a crime, an abuse of power.”
The Belgian report mirrors a study released last September by a sexual abuse commission from Germany showing more than 3,500 cases of “mostly male minors” who were victims of clerical sex abuse between 1946 and 2014.
The commission, which was funded by the German Bishops’ Conference, stated that “3,677 mostly male minors” had been victims of sexual abuse by 1,670 members of the clergy.
Last fall, the Vatican’s former doctrinal chief, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, said it was imperative to acknowledge the ties between homosexually active priests and the sex abuse crisis, something he said many church leaders have failed to do.
“That McCarrick, together with his clan and a homosexual network, was able to wreak havoc in a mafia-like manner in the Church is connected with the underestimation of the moral depravity of homosexual acts among adults,” said the cardinal, in reference to archbishop Theodore McCarrick, who has been accused of serial homosexual abuse.
Part of the present crisis is that people do “not wish to see the true causes and cover them up with the help of propaganda phrases from the homosexual lobby,” the cardinal said.
Last August, a former papal nuncio to the United States came to a similar conclusion in an 11-page report. Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò alleged that an extensive “homosexual network” among bishops and priests was the root cause of the sex abuse crisis as well as cover-ups by bishops.
“These homosexual networks, which are now widespread in many dioceses, seminaries, religious orders, etc., act under the concealment of secrecy and lies,” he stated, “and strangle innocent victims and priestly vocations, and are strangling the entire Church.”
Viganò claimed that former Vatican Secretary of States Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone had insistently presented “candidates known to be active homosexuals” to be ordained as bishops and also claimed that two important Francis appointees, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, “belong to the homosexual current in favor of subverting Catholic doctrine on homosexuality.”
On October 19, Archbishop Viganò released another statement in which he reiterated his belief that a crisis of homosexuality is at the root of the Church’s current scandals.
“McCarrick was part of a network of bishops promoting homosexuality who exploiting their favor with Pope Francis manipulated episcopal appointments so as to protect themselves from justice and to strengthen the homosexual network in the hierarchy and in the Church at large,” he wrote.
According to Viganò, the “underlying reason” why there are so many victims of clerical sex abuse is “the corrupting influence of homosexuality in the priesthood and in the hierarchy.”
This “very grave crisis” cannot be properly addressed and resolved unless and until we call things by their true names, he said. “This is a crisis due to the scourge of homosexuality, in its agents, in its motives, in its resistance to reform.”
“It is no exaggeration to say that homosexuality has become a plague in the clergy, and it can only be eradicated with spiritual weapons,” he said. “It is an enormous hypocrisy to condemn the abuse, claim to weep for the victims, and yet refuse to denounce the root cause of so much sexual abuse: homosexuality.”
“It is well established that homosexual predators exploit clerical privilege to their advantage,” he said. “But to claim the crisis itself to be clericalism is pure sophistry.”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome
Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.