REGARDING PEDOPHILIA AND YOUR ‘SCANDAL TIME III’ ARTICLE
What is pedophilia?
Let me begin by saying that I agree with you that pedophilia is not a result of celibacy and that marriage does not solve pedophilia, or lust. However, I also believe that pedophilia and homosexuality are two different things. Definitions may help clarify this statement. My point is that your article is lacking in a real knowledge of the nature of pedophilia and gets off onto theological and philosophical tangents that distract from the issue.
Beginning in The No-Mercy Route you pick up on journalist Goodsteinâ€
At the same time you also seem to slide from the concepts of pedophilia and ephebophilia to homosexuality, placing them on some kind of a continuum of deviousness. You state that in the second installment (June/July) you noted how the â€˜pedophiliaâ€
â€˜Contacts or interactions between a minor and a person, usually at least five years older, when the minor is being used as an object of gratification for the more powerful individualâ€
Yes, Father Neuhaus, there is such a thing as â€˜no-contact abuseâ€
The Father X hypothesis
I would consider the Father X benign simile quite devious, especially the way you keep building on what began as a hypothesis. The good Father X takes on a life of his own in your article. Now just let us suppose that Father X had â€˜only one abusive incident with a minor, thirty years ago, that he had repented, that he has put his life back in order…â€
That one offense was, nevertheless, very serious. Did he receive appropriate consequences and remedial treatment? Did he apologize to the victim? Did he make reparation as best he could? Did he take a serious look at his behavior and tendencies?
Do he, you and your readers realize that once is too much and that a victim can be scarred for life because of one invasion of boundaries, one -as you would put it- â€˜impure touchâ€
There is a kind of â€˜clerical privilegeâ€
Are we saying that Fr. X. was caught only once? Could there have been other occasions when he was not caught? Were there other accusations and this the only one that stuck? A real pedophile is not content with a one time fix. Real pedophiles are â€˜repeat offendersâ€
Pedophiles are notoriously â€˜slipperyâ€
Non-violent pedophiles usually need to lay elaborate plans and strategies in order to trap a victim. This is called â€˜groomingâ€
REGARDING THE LEGION & FR. MACIEL
â€˜All that glitters is not goldâ€
In your article you omitted mention of the sexual abuse allegations against Father Maciel, Founder and Superior General â€˜for lifeâ€
About the sexual abuse aspect, let me tell you a short story. In 1970, just after our ordination, a colleague of mine was sent as a new superior to the Apostolic School [junior seminary] in Ontaneda, Santander, Spain. Several boys approached him accusing one of the staff, another LC priest, of getting some of the little Spaniards into bed with him. The newly arrived superior knew that Maciel had previously sexually abused the abuser. As a blindly obedient religious, and according to his LC training, he immediately notified Father Maciel. â€˜Our Fatherâ€
Since originally drafting this letter to the editor some months ago I have learned that another serious epidemic of pedophilia struck the Apostolic School in Ontaneda, Santander, Spain in recent years, causing the instution to be closed down. This is one of the reasons others and I are concerned that Father Maciel, because of his influence in the Vatican, is getting off scot free and that, subsequently, sexual abuse is being condoned from generation to generation in the Legion. You do understand now how important it is for Father Maciel to totally deny the allegations and discredit his accusers! Otherwise, well-meaning people like you will, sooner or later, start to question…
I, for my part, will not consent with my silence to the continuous endangerment of innocent boys, no matter how apparently holy and worthy the cause.
Paul Lennon MA,
FR. NEUHAUS’S RESPONSE TO ABOVE MESSAGE
Fr. Neuhaus graciously replied to this letter with a short note, quoted literally:
Dear Mr. Lennon,
I am familiar with, but not persuaded by, some of the standard distinctions employed in the discussion of sexual deviancies.
I appreciate your thoughts on the Legion and Fr. Maciel. Permit me to suggest, however, that you move with startling rapidity from “having no reason to doubt” that “something like this could be true” to the assumption that Fr. Maciel is guilty of the crimes and sins alleged by his accusers.
If you have not already, you might search the FIRST THINGS website for the article in which I explain why I do not believe the charges against Fr. Maciel.
Thank you for writing.
(The Rev.) Richard John Neuhaus”
This elicited a second letter to RJN, which was not posted through oversight but will soon appear.