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Paul Hayden

Let's Look At The Real Problem

April 28, 2002


The Catholic Church is in serious trouble. It has paid out over a billion dollars in legal costs and settlements for cases involving 600 pedophile priests. Everyone, from wet-behind-the-ears reporters to District Attorneys, is giving the Pope advice on how to fix the problem. But, curiously, no one wants to talk about the real problem, the secret that is at the root of the pedophile problem.

“But I thought pedophile priests were the secret,” some would say. Well, if that is the secret, it’s been an open secret for quite a while. No, the problem lies much deeper, and is going to be much more difficult to deal with than the relatively small percentage of pedophile priests who have been identified.

Others might feel that the Catholic Church’s secret is the way it has been able to use its strength to control local governments. Cardinal Law of Boston has been criticized in all the news media for protecting the molesters of 130 boys from the authorities. The District Attorney of Philadelphia has finally admitted publicly that for decades, whenever there was a complaint about a priest molesting little boys, it was routinely turned over to the Archbishop instead of allowing the police to investigate. Can you imagine that kind of treatment for a Protestant minister, a Jewish rabbi, or for that matter clergy of any other religion? But that is not the secret of which I speak.

Much has been made of the willingness of Cardinals and Bishops to hide not only the illegal actions of priests, but also the priests themselves, from the police. Documents subpoenaed from the Archdiocese of Massachusetts reveal that pedophiles have routinely been moved from one unsuspecting parish to another. Some Catholic leaders even went to the point of establishing “safe houses,” much like the CIA uses, where rogue priests could be hidden to avoid arrest. Protecting the image of the Catholic Church was more important to these supposed men of God than protecting children from predatory beasts. Speaking of people like this, Jesus said in Luke 17:2, “It would be better for him if a stone was tied around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than to offend one of these little ones.” As reprehensible as these actions have been, they are only a symptom of the real problem. The secret lies deeper.

“Ah,” you say, “I know what you’re talking about. Celibacy. It’s unnatural. Celibacy is what is causing these priests to prey on innocent children!” Not at all. Abstaining from all sexual activity other than heterosexual marriage is clearly a Biblical requirement for any minister. However celibacy is not a requirement for ministry. I am a happily married minister myself, and my wife has helped me be more effective in my ministry. As a matter of fact, for over 1200 years the Roman Catholic Church allowed its priests and bishops to marry. Thirty-nine of the popes were married. (4) However, the Bible is clear that celibacy is a good thing, a gift that God gives to certain people. It is certainly not the reason that some priests prey rather than pray. We must dig deeper to discover the secret that has caused so many so much pain.

Warning! We are now entering politically incorrect territory. If you are terrified by the prospect of rocking the boat, going against the status quo, or discussing ideas that would bring you to the attention of the PC Police, stop reading now.

The secret to which I refer attacks the very foundation of the Catholic Church, its moral base. The secret is that the Catholic Church has knowingly accepted homosexuals into its priesthood for decades.

In January of 2000, the Kansas City Star created a stir by claiming that Catholic priests were dying of AIDS at four times the rate of the general population. The Catholic Church responded by saying the percentage was not nearly that high. (3) But that is not the point. With a celibate clergy, there should be no priests dying of AIDS.

Why are Catholic Seminaries training and ordaining known homosexuals? The most frequent excuse is that there is a severe shortage of priests, with many parishes closing because of a lack of clergy. This is a poor excuse on two counts. First, many straight men decide against the priesthood because of the predominance of homosexuals. I watched an interview on CBS News with a professor of philosophy at a Catholic college. He stated that he dropped out of Seminary because he was uncomfortable with the number of homosexuals both among students and teachers. An article by Father David Trosch states, “A leading American churchman is claiming that the Roman Catholic priesthood has become ‘primarily a gay culture’ that deters heterosexual men from taking up vocations. In his book, The Changing Face of the Priesthood, Father Donald Cozzens says that an exodus of experienced priests from the church, many of them to marry, has drastically altered the gay-straight ratio. ‘At issue at the beginning of the 21st century is the growing perception that the priesthood is, or is becoming, a gay profession,’ Cozzens writes. ‘Heterosexual seminarians are made uncomfortable by the number of gays around them.’" (2)

The second reason the shortage of priests is a poor excuse for ordaining homosexuals is that there are over twenty thousand ordained Catholic priests in this country who are not allowed to serve in parishes. That’s one out of every three priests! These are the priests who have married. They are still ordained, but because the Roman Catholic hierarchy changed the rules 800 years ago, married priests are not allowed to serve as parish priests. (4) So we have a situation where the Catholic Church refuses the services of men whose lives are in harmony with the Word of God (Paul the Apostle said that a bishop should be “the husband of one wife”), while welcoming homosexual men whose lifestyles are in direct contradiction to the Word of God.

Some apologists for allowing homosexuals to serve as priests claim that a homosexual can have that sexual orientation, but remain chaste. That is no doubt true. But a survey of homosexual priests revealed that “73% of them said that they were sexually active either frequently or occasionally.” (3)

How prevalent is homosexuality among Catholic priests? Father David C. Trosch writes, “Shortly after ordination I had reflected that it would be terrible that if as many as 2% of priests were homosexual. Perhaps a year later in a conversation with a highly placed priest of the archdiocese he stated that approximately 35% of priests were homosexuals. It was most disconcerting to read the following article in which Father Donald Cozzens, the head of a Catholic seminary, says that estimates range as high as 60% of American priests are homosexual. Unfortunately the article states that, ‘Cozzens…concedes some bishops and even some popes may have been gay.’" (2)

What has caused the Catholic leadership to accept homosexuals as priests? The Catholic Church, along with many other institutions, has been affected by the loose morals of the last thirty years. Political correctness proclaims that everything is OK as long as it feels good. It has become unfashionable, almost a capital offense, to utter “homosexual” and “sin” in the same sentence. It was during this time that the flood of homosexuals into the Catholic priesthood began. Is anyone surprised that most of the revelations of priests molesting and raping small children are coincidental with this loss of a moral base?

I can almost hear the howls of outrage as I write this. “Homophobe! Reactionary! Right-wing religious extremist! Don’t you know that pedophiles molest little girls, too?” Of course I do. But I also know that the vast majority of pedophiles are only attracted to little boys. In fact, the use of the term “pedophiles” to describe the sins of these priests, while politically correct, is misleading. Based on the fact that 90% of the incidents involve young boys, we should probably be using the term, “homosexual predators.” (3) I often hear the homosexual lobby state that homosexuals are no more likely to be pedophiles than straight men. That is a lie straight from hell. “Dr. Judith Reisman, using 1992 statistics, has calculated that, per capita, homosexual men abuse boys fifty times as frequently as other men abuse girls.” (3)

Of course, you will never hear about these facts from the mainstream press. But surprisingly, a Vatican spokesman interviewed by The Catholic News Service admits that, “Most publicized cases of sex abuse by clergy against minors have involved homosexual acts.” He also said he “…did not want to draw more attention to this topic, especially while U.S. church leaders were dealing with the more immediate problem of sex abuse by clergy.” (1)

I realize that the majority of Catholics are good, moral people who are as outraged by this scandal as any of the talking heads on TV. In fact, they feel more outrage, because their leaders have betrayed them. When I speak of the sins of the Catholic Church, I am speaking of the cowardice and pride of many of its leaders, not the Catholics who attend Mass every Sunday hoping to find a moral foundation on which to build their lives.

Of course that moral foundation Catholic parishioners seek is the Bible. And it is the Bible, the very Word of God, which many of the Cardinals and Bishops have spat upon and trampled underfoot.

“How can you say that, Tom? These leaders revere the Bible. They have based their lives upon it.” Really? Then how can they allow homosexuals, whose lifestyle the Bible deplores, to flood their seminaries and spread their evil message to unsuspecting parishioners around the world? In a survey of openly homosexual priests, “They admitted that their dissenting views are passed on to their parishioners and penitents. Only 9% said that they advise the faithful to follow the teaching of the Church in sexual matters.” (3)

It’s time for a Bible lesson. Leviticus 20:13 says, “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death.” God is very clear in His condemnation of homosexuality. By the way, the same chapter puts incest and bestiality in the same category as homosexual sin.

Moving to the New Testament, Paul the Apostle in Romans 1:27 talks about men who, “…abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

Never one to mince words, Paul goes on in I Corinthians 6:9 to say, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor prostitutes nor homosexuals.”

God is very clear in His Word about what is natural and good, as well as what is unnatural and perverted. What about these verses (and dozens of similar Bible references) is so hard for the Catholic Church’s hierarchy to understand?

Now I am going to step on some toes. It is easy to criticize Paul Shanley, the priest who helped found NAMBLA (the North American Man-Boy Love Association), who advocated sex between adults and little boys, and who put his words into actions. Likewise, everyone stands up and cheers when Cardinal Law of Massachusetts, who covered up for Shanley and other homosexual predators for decades, is asked to resign. Men such as these are easy targets for our outrage.

But where is the outrage over the sin committed by the highest leaders of the Catholic Church when they made the conscious decision to ordain men whom the Bible refers to as “perverted?” If a homosexual had been admitted to the Bible College I attended, the president would have been fired. Bible Colleges and Seminaries have an obligation to make sure their graduates are people committed to teaching the Bible in its purity. Why then do the members of the Catholic Church, as well as many liberal Protestant denominations, stand by like sheep while their leaders afflict them with clergy whose lifestyle is an affront to everything the Bible teaches?

When the pope called the American cardinals to Rome to discuss the problems here, it took them two days to come up with a “Zero-Tolerance” policy toward pedophilia. As one TV commentator on MSNBC pointed out, “I don’t know why they had to come up with more rules. They already have it in their rulebook. It’s called the Bible.” They could have saved thousands of dollars in airfare and limos.

Lest my readers leave this article with the opinion that I, a Protestant, am bashing the Catholic Church, let me quote a prominent Catholic theologian. “In a lengthy article in the November 2000 issue of the magazine The Catholic World Report, published in San Francisco, Father Paul Shaughnessy says that, ‘in a sociological sense, any institution that has lost the capacity to mend itself on its own initiative and by its own resources, an institution that is unable to uncover and expel its own miscreants, is corrupt.’ Shaughnessy then accuses the episcopacy in the United States, and the majority of religious orders, of being corrupt as defined sociologically.” (3)

I am not against Catholics. Most Catholics I know are good, moral people. I am definitely against any person or institution that makes it easy for predators to damage our precious little ones. Jesus refers to His children as sheep, because we need protection. Ministers are supposed to be shepherds who protect the flock. When the shepherd becomes a wolf, he needs to be removed, and put into a cage from which he can no longer devastate the sheep. He should never be moved to another unsuspecting flock.

Let us all pray for the leaders who have allowed such horrible things to take place. We need to pray that they will repent, and resign from the positions they hold. And we need to pray that those who replace them will clean up the homosexual subculture that threatens to take over the Catholic Church. (4) The Vatican is discussing keeping homosexuals out of Seminaries in the future. That is not enough. All homosexual priests must be expelled immediately. That is the only way the Catholic Church can purge itself of this terrible malignancy. Please join me in praying that the leaders of the Catholic Church will stop looking the other way and deal forcefully with this issue.


(1) Interview of Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls in the Catholic News Service (CNS)

(2) On Homosexuals in the Catholic Priesthood by Father David C. Trosch

(3) The second article on this page is “Homosexuality Among Catholic Clergy” by Father Leonard Kennedy, a Seminary Professor.

(4) Article about married priests, bishops and popes. It also discusses the 30% of Catholic priests that are now married.




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Copyright ©2002 Tom Barrett

Dr. Tom Barrett is a pastor, teacher, author, conference keynote speaker, professor, certified executive coach, and marketplace minister. His teaching and coaching have blessed both church and business leaders. He has been ordained for over 40 years, and has pastored in seven churches over that time. Today he “pastors pastors” as he oversees ordained and licensed ministers in Florida for his ministerial fellowship.

He has written thousands of articles that have been republished in national newspapers and on hundreds of websites, and is a frequent guest on radio and television shows. His weekly Conservative Truth article (which is read by 250,000) offers a unique viewpoint on social, moral and political issues from a Biblical worldview. This has resulted in invitations to speak internationally at churches, conferences, Money Shows, universities, and on TV (including the 700 Club).

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