CHICAGO, March 8, 2002 -- Call to Action expressed its astonishment at attempts by the Vatican to exclude gay men from the priesthood. "The Vatican is trying to deflect attention from the role of the U.S. bishops who created this current clergy sex abuse crisis. It has nothing to do with gay priests," said Linda Pieczynski, spokesperson for Call to Action.
A Catholic News Service story of March 6 reported Vatican sources as saying that "church leaders are pressing harder so that people of permanent homosexual orientation are screened out as candidates for the priesthood." This followed from comments by the Pope's chief spokesperson in the March 3 New York Times that gay men should not be ordained.
Pieczynski stated, " This is a crisis about cover-ups, about secrecy, about failing to report crimes to civil authorities. To scapegoat gay priests is compounding the terrible evil already perpetrated. The majority of child molesters are heterosexual males.
" An expert on the sexuality of priests, A. W. Richard Sipe, was quoted in the March 4 Boston Globe saying that "homosexually oriented priests don't violate their celibacy any more or less than heterosexually oriented priests." The same article stated that scholars had established no connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.
Pieczynski said, "To suggest that the church could eliminate the problem of child molestation by the clergy by expelling all gay priests would be ridiculous if it weren't so incredibly ignorant. Men molest children because they are more attracted to children than they are to adult men or women.
Blaming homosexuals for the current problem in the church demonstrates a fantastic lack of understanding of human sexuality and the most recent research in the area. We are outraged that the Vatican would seek to shift the blame from bishops to the dedicated gay priests who serve our parishes so well. Photo
"The average pedophile has at least 50 or more victims when caught, and pedophiles cannot be cured. Consequently, it is crucial to remove them from their positions. This is where the bishops have failed the church.
"The Vatican should acknowledge the role the bishops played in allowing this crisis to get so bad. Instead of removing the offender, providing the victims with assistance, and reporting the matter to law enforcement, many bishops have moved the offender to a different parish, stonewalled the victims and never shared the information with prosecutors. This has had the horrific effect of allowing offenders to molest hundreds of victims and creating the current crisis.
In addition to membership on the Call to Action board, Ms. Pieczynski has been a prosecutor for 26 years and taught a graduate course on child abuse for 10 years.
Call To Action is a national organization of 23,000 laity, religious, priests and bishops with its national office in Chicago. It has 40 local chapters and advocates for reforms in the Catholic Church such as the ordination of women, optional celibacy for priests, more focus on the church's social justice teaching, and consultation with the Catholic people on church decision-making and human sexuality. Its web site is at http://www.cta-usa.org.
-end- Contact: Linda Pieczynski, 630 655-8783