In several comments on Monday's post pointing out the distortions and half truths being leveled at the Pope over the homosexual priest child abuse scandal in Milwaukee, both Thomas and Francis Beckwith make a great point this.
One of the other problems is that many of these bishops relied on "experts" in psychiatry and psychology on how to deal with these wicked men. Too many churchmen, therefore, took a matter of sin and medicalized it. This is the modern way of doing things, the sort of posture that Dawkins, Brayton, and others suggest we emulate in every aspect of our lives.Thomas:
Other than isolated cases of corrupt bishops (like the one in this case), the problem was that many American bishops were consulting psychologists, who were reporting some of these priests "cured". Considering also the fact that the rise in abuse cases corresponded with the sexual revolution of the 60's and 70's, the problem seems to be that some areas of the American Catholic church were too liberal and not Catholic enough. That's a harsh indictment from the Catholic perspective, but it's hardly the criticism that Brayton and other liberal critics want to make.In other words, the Church screwed up, but it screwed up by accepting a secular theory of the human person that was contrary to the traditional Catholic view. Had the Church been more scrupulous in the theories it accepted (and, let's face it, in the 60s and 70s it went in for every psychological fad that came down the pike), it might have been more successful at dealing with abuses by its own priests.
Thomas makes a great point about the hypocrisy of the Church's critics, who are accusing the Church, ironically, of hypocrisy:
An interesting way to approach the problem might be: whose view of sexuality is more opposed in principle to child abuse, the liberal-permissive view or the Catholic view?The secular world criticizes the Church for being old fashioned and intransigent about the way it does things, and then when it unadvisedly does what the world says it should do, they criticize it for the results.
Or another way: whose view of sexuality tends to lead more towards child abuse?
On the one hand, we have an institution that upholds chastity as the highest ideal, that holds that sexuality ought to be teleologically subordinated to things other than personal pleasure, that it in fact ought to function selflessly, and so on.
On the other, we have a movement that wants to break sexuality free from the traditional institutions which serve to moderate it, a view that people ought generally to do what is satisfying for them (even if this entails infidelity and broken homes).
I have to wonder if the popular attempt to brand pedophilia by the press as a Catholic problem is an attempt to convince oneself and others that the more noxious fruits of the sexual revolution are not the responsibility of the liberal movement, but instead are the responsibility of religious people.
So maybe one of the lessons of the priest sexual abuse scandal is that the Church should just stop listening to the world altogether--including their current criticisms.