VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - A key member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is sidestepping the root cause of the clerical sex abuse crisis — homosexual priests.
Filipino psychotherapist Dr. Gabriel Dy-Liacco focused on tangential causes of clerical sexual predation — ignoring the elephant in the room — in a webinar jointly organized by the Pontifical Gregorian University's Center for Child Protection, the International Union of Superiors General and the Italian Telefono Azzuro child helpline on June 30.
In the session called "Victimology and the Relational Safety Model," Dy-Liacco cited loneliness as a potential cause of priestly predation. In many countries, there are "high levels of isolation" and "priests are left alone in parishes," he explained, adding, only within the last 20 years have diocesan priests set time out for community life to engage with others.
He pointed to an inability to overcome "poor methods of coping with trauma and stress" that priests developed, particularly if they themselves were victims of sexual abuse, although he acknowledged more research is needed.
The expert also predicted abuse of young girls might now increase given they are allowed to hold more positions in church activities, skirting altogether the role that strategic and deliberate funneling of homosexual seminarians into the Church might play in the homopredation problem attacking the Church.
But Dy-Liacco's theorizing represents nothing new or useful, many argue.
The Vatican has been floundering about since the 2018 Summer of Shame to come clean and account for the sexually predatory behavior of Catholic clergy throughout the world.
Much of the clergy have rested their case on the conclusion that sexual abuse of minors by priests stems from the adulation given to priests by laity called "clericalism."
Senior research associate of the Ruth Institute Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D. poked a hole in this facile theory, publishing a groundbreaking study about the role homosexual clergy have played in causing the clerical sex abuse crisis in the United States.
His study showed a clear connection between the number of homosexual priests and the number of clerical abuse victims, putting a chink in the "clericalism" armor.
Quoting directly from Sullins' report:
My findings showed that the increase or decrease in the percent of male victims correlated almost perfectly (.98) with the increase or decrease of homosexual men in the priesthood. Among victims under age 8, the correlation was lower but still strong (.77). This indicates that 1) the abuse of boys is very strongly related to the share of homosexual men in the priesthood, but that 2) easier access to males among older victims (ages 8–17) was also an enabling factor.
Sullins published his study in November 2018, three months after a statewide grand jury in Pennsylvania released its damning report that detailed decades of horrific child sex abuse by Catholic priests, the fecklessness of bishops to prevent future abuse as well as legal efforts to sweep it under the carpet.
Others, including Cdl. Raymond Burke, former Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, have cast doubt on the "clericalism" argument.
In a key interview with Polonia Christiana published in 2018, the cardinal said, "First of all when people say: 'Oh, no, this is caused by clericalism,' I ask them, 'What do you mean?' And most people can't tell me what they mean by 'clericalism.'"
He granted that clericalism might motivate people to cover up for sexually abusive priests, but the cause of the abuse itself is often homosexuality, he said.
"There is no question that the majority of the acts which have been committed are homosexual acts done with young men," he said, concurring with Sullin's study.
Now, two years later, Church leaders are still refusing to acknowledge the root cause of the clerical sexual abuse — and still refusing to release the McCarrick report promised in 2018 by then-president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Cdl. Daniel N. DiNardo.