A top German prelate has claimed homosexuality is behind the church’s clergy sexual abuse scandal, the latest church official to promote a disproven theory assailing gay priests.
“‘What has happened in the church is no different from what is happening in society as a whole. . .The real scandal is that the Catholic church hasn’t distinguished itself from the rest of society’. . .
“But Cardinal Brandmüller claimed that only a ‘vanishingly small number’ of clergy had committed abuses. He said the real problem was homosexuality and claimed it is “statistically proven” that there is a link between homosexuality and abuse.”
Brandmüller said “80 percent” of those survivors abused were adolescent males, not children. This claim is disproven by the German bishops’ report on abuse in the church, which found that more than half of survivors began being abused before the age of 13, reported PinkNews.
Brandmüller, one of the four cardinals who submitted dubia (statements of doubt) to Pope Francis regarding the pope’s apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, is not the first church official to link homosexuality and abuse. Since new revelations of clergy sexual abuse and related coverups broke in the U.S. last summer, gay priests have been scapegoated anew. Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano included such homophobic content in his series of letters attacking the pope. Other gay-negative voices include Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, Auxiliary Bishop Marian Eleganti of Chur in Switzerland, the now-deceased Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, and Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville.
In addition, though he did not link them to abuse, Pope Francis expressed concern about gay priests in a recent interview, raising questions of whether he still believes in his famous, “Who am I to judge?”
Despite these and other claims, Catholics, including other church leaders, are refusing to scapegoat gay priests, and to ignore the real causes of sexual abuse. Swiss dioceses quickly rejected Bishop Eleganti’s slander. The vicar general of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising said it was “discrimination” to link gay priests and abuse. Numerous lay leaders and LGBT advocates have added their voices, too. And hundreds of the faithful have signed New Ways Ministry’s statement in support of gay priests, “The Gift of Gay Priests’ Vocations.”
Disregarding studies that show homosexuality is not a cause of sexual abuse, Cardinal Brandmüller’s assertion of this false theory is further evidence that it will remain a conservative talking point. Catholics of conscience must continue doing whatever possible to refute such theories because the costs of such homophobia to survivors of sexual abuse, LGBT people, and gay priests are high.
We are asking readers Bondings 2.0 readers and the entire faithful to sign a statement which expresses solidarity with and gratitude for gay priests, and which also calls on church leaders to publicly affirm these men. To sign “The Gift of Gay Priests’ Vocations,” click here. Please share this statement with your networks.
—Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, January 7, 2019