Bill Donohue defended Father Groeschel concerning lack of clarity during an interview on the National Catholic Register website (hosted by EWTN), an interview about sexual abuse of teenagers. I had reposted Bill’s comments on this HSH blog. I then noticed that an apology from Father Groeschel and a denunciation of him by his own community replaced the interview in question. A denunciation from the editor in chief was also added. After that, Joe Zwilling made a similar denunciation. Joe, mind you, is the spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York. And then… and then… EWTN removed every last shred of anything that Father Groeschel had ever done for them from its own website.
“Dang it!” thought I: “There must be some facts missing with all this.” I took down my reposting of Bill Donohue’s article in favor of finding out more about the whole story.
As the days went by, comments only got more horrific in the news media, that is, with the exception of Father Gordon MacRae (about) in his most excellent post. Father Groeschel has virtually entered These Stone Walls. Father Gordon is pretty tough, and can think things through more quickly than yours truly. Stories like this dig a knife into my soul, and it takes me a while to come up with a response.
My response is to analyze the statement everyone has condemned. Here’s the kernel of that statement:
Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.
Everyone says that the priest is always guilty, no matter what. That was what Father Groeschel also said in his apology. That’s all true, all things being equal.
But what did Father originally comment about? On a situation in which all things were equal, that is, in which both parties had use of their faculties? No?
Did he speak of someone totally out of his mind, that is, not someone who’s had a nervous breakdown, but who is presently having a nervous breakdown? Yes?
I’ve known someone in the United States, who, not long after having a breakdown, described it to me. This was just after he returned from the hospital. He said that his mind was totally fragmented, that he didn’t know which fragment to act within. He said that he was frantic, scared, literally climbing the walls. There was no escape. Picture that for a moment. Footprints on the walls. Bookcases tumbling down. Not realizing this is happening. Get it?
I’ve known someone in Rome, who was in the midst of a nervous breakdown. We got him down to the street where an ambulance took him away. He was entirely incapable of thinking in any coherent manner, or even thinking at all. It tooks months for him to get out of the hospital. Months. Get it?
That’s what Father Groeschel was talking about. An extreme case. A “lot” of cases simply means a number more than one would expect. So, that’s some cases, right? Moreover, we’re only talking about those cases in which the adult would be totally insane. And that’s not many cases, is it? No? Analysis of statements helps, doesn’t it? Yes, it does.
But Father! But Father! He said that the victim was the seducer. You’re bad and evil too!
O.K. Let’s just break this down a bit, shall we? It’s easier for people like Joe Zwilling and Jeanette R. De Melo, and the leadership of the Franciscans of the Renewal and EWTN (not to mention the author of an article from the Catholic News Agency, an article nicely republished by EWTN).
Let’s talk about this in two stages: (1) Can a teenager be sexually aggressive? (2) Can a teenager be guilty of attempting to seduce a priest?
(1) Yes, a teenager can be sexually aggressive. If you don’t know, public schools have made sure to sexualize youngsters from pre-school onwards, so that by the time they get to puberty, they know more about contraception than anyone else ever did when they were in college. They’ve already had multiple school field trips to Planned Parenthood to see where they “need” to go to have an abortion in case they’ve not had “safe sex.” They’ve been taught to have sex with themselves, with those of the same sex, with those of the opposite sex. They’ve been taught that there is no such thing as gender, that sexual identity is evil, that doing “it” with anyone and everyone, anywhere at any time is to be praised. And, yes, there are those who have had very many relationships and also a number of abortions before they graduate from High School. Those are the facts.
(2) A teenager can surely decide to attempt to seduce a priest. You would be an imbecile to think that this would be impossible for a teenager. Really. However, a priest in his right mind is always guilty of letting any attempted seduction proceed. Let’s repeat that: the priest in his right mind is responsible for stopping any misbehavior. However, such a priest in his right mind is not what Father Groeschel was talking about. He was talking about someone who was literally crazy, insane, incapable of any responsibility for anything whatsoever. Both civil and Church law have recognized that insanity mitigates a person’s responsibility, right? I mean, if you can’t see that, you really are risking going straight to hell.
O.K., now, I have some questions.
Why is it that people don’t see this? Are they having nervous breakdowns?
If not, what kind of betrayal is it that we see at the National Catholic Register, at EWTN, at CNA, at Father Groeschel’s own community? Is this The Judas Crisis widening? Political correctness with no regard for the truth? Or is this just ignorance running scared. A lack of ability to do a little analysis. Perhaps all these editors have been in car accidents and have had multiple strokes, etc…
Will I get a letter or two from various media giants telling me to just shut up for having defended Father Groeschel? Maybe. It’s worth it. The lights are going out everywhere, and it is a good thing to try to keep a light shining in the darkness. So, I say to EWTN: Put Father Groeschel’s stuff back up on line. Honestly!
One last comment. I thought it was particularly nefarious of the Catholic News Agency to put these two sentences together, one coming at the beginning of the interview, one coming at the end:
Fr. Groeschel suggested that a minor is “the seducer” in “a lot” of sexual abuse cases. He said he was inclined to think that abusers on their first offense should not go to jail “because their intention was not committing a crime.”
To juxtapose these sentences like this gives the impression that the offenders in the first sentence (who are totally insane in the context of that sentence) are the same as the offenders in the last sentence (who are not totally insane). Again, the context of “a lot” is the insanity of the adult. So, not many cases to begin with. The CNA crowd (and EWTN which ran their story) are now scrambling, making damn sure that Father Groeschel is damned by all and stays that way.
Well, all I have to say about that to Father Groeschel himself is THIS!
God bless you, Father Benedict!