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BALTIMORE (ChurchMilitant.com) - The San Francisco archbishop brought up to his brother bishops a recent report correlating the number of abused boys with the number of homosexuals in the priesthood, telling them, "Some of this might be hard for us to hear and receive."
On Nov. 13, the second day of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) general assembly in Baltimore, San Francisco's Abp. Salvatore Cordileone discussed a recent report released by the Ruth Institute and prepared by sociologist Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D.
Cordileone noted to the assembly that "there are two clearly defined camps," with one party alleging "the real problem is the prevalence of homosexuality in the clergy and we need to admit it, address it and eradicate it if we're going to purify the Church from the scourge of sex abuse."
The other "camp" is those who claim "an all-male hierarchy" as the problem and the ordination of women priests to be the solution to the sex abuse crisis.
Despite claiming both were "overly simplistic conclusion[s]," he added, "I'm reporting what I heard, and they want their voices heard."
He goes out of his way to maintain there are priests with "a homosexual inclination who do not abuse minors and are serving their church well" while noting there are "heterosexually oriented priests who do abuse and are serving the Church poorly."
Cordileone references Sullins' report, asserting "he found a near 100 percent of correlation between an increase of homosexual clergy and an increase in sex abuse of minors."
He adds, "The worst thing we could do is discredit this study so we don't have to deal with it or ignore or deny this reality altogether," reminding the bishops, "We have to face it. To flee from it would be to flee from the truth and to be perceived as fleeing from the truth."
The report also reveals:
Clergy sexual abuse is still a problem. Since peaking 35 years ago, it has declined much less than commonly thought.
The share of homosexual men in the priesthood rose from twice that of the general population in the 1950s to eight times the general population in the 1980s.
Four out of five victims over age 7 were boys; only one in five were girls. Ease of access to boys relative to girls accounts for about one-fifth of this disparity. The number of homosexual priests accounts for the remaining four-fifths.
Cordileone continues, "More and more of our people are not buying the conclusion and the John Jay causes and concepts study … but I think it has some validity — it must have some validity."
He goes on, "But even admitting the veracity of the conclusion, it still does not get us to the root of the problem because we don't know why there's a correlation between an increased rate of homosexual clergy and an increased rate of sexual abuse of minors."
Michael Sean Winters, writing for the dissident publication National Catholic Reporter, referred to bishops' comments as "amateur hour." He lashed out at Cordileone for referencing Sullins' report, calling it "bunk."
He also blasted Bp. Joseph Strickland for crossing the sidewalk to visit the Silence Stops Now rally, adding, "Strickland should be able to smell the venomous hatred coming from that crowd of anti-gay bigots."