By Anne Lastman

Many voices, especially within the Catholic system which is under the dark shadow of shame, are calling out that the sexual abuse crisis/scandal which has been found and exposed within the church and priesthood should be placed at the feet of homosexual clergy.

Homosexuality is a disordered sexual inclination whose genesis has been disputed with some claiming that it is a chosen way of life whilst others claim that “they are born that way.” To me it seems that there is a deep yearning for “maleness” (father) perhaps seeking that boy/father connection which is missing and inherent in all males, a missing element which completes the development of male child into male adult.

Because of the absence of this “maleness” in the relationship between father and son (or significant other male) and the son as he grows he begins to look for the absent sense of maleness which has been missing in his relationship with his father and he looks for this absence which turns into eroticism (either by self-seeking or induction into this mode of life) in different male partners. Every new partner for a time fills a void (absence of maleness) but in time it isn’t enough and a new search begins. An addiction is then involved and a way of life which appears to the person their normal is accepted. It’s only in the acknowledging of what is lacking and trying to find the lost “maleness” that may bring the search to a close. This sexuality is not an attraction with the purpose of lifelong relationship and children (not procreative or unitive) but a seeking for that which is lost (maleness) and when this is not found because only a father’s spirit will suffice, then a new search is begun. (It is the spirit of your father that speaks in you Mt 10:21) this is the wrong spirit.

The father imparts his spirit into his son to go forth in that power of the spirit, wisdom and experience of his ancestors and take this into his future. The sons stand on the shoulders of their fathers and look deep into the future as fathers themselves with their own sons. Refer Gen. 27 (Isaac breathes his spirit into son). Every generation takes something from the old and adds something new to it.

The absence whether physical or emotional of a primary parent (father/male role model) must surely cause negative development of children. We know that very young children require constancy, permanence, modelling and love to thrive and most specifically by parents rather than a continual changeover of people. A plethora of studies indicate the importance of permanency in the young child so that the stages of development can be negotiated. Youth suicide, homosexuality, amorality, immorality appear to be frontline issue with governments, churches and organizations purporting to be concerned with these. However, unless the problem is isolated and dealt with the results will be more of the same. Drug use, homosexuality, militancy, immorality, amorality are the methods used to lessen psychic pain of loss. Of need not fulfilled. A young boy/man who doesn’t know or has not been shown how to be man.

Homosexuality does not look to a child for fulfilment of need for “maleness.” As the term implies it seeks “homo” (man) for what it is looking for. Those who look towards a child for sexual gratification also have very disordered sexuality I would say much more so than homosexual because where there is engagement in sexual activity with child there is a huge power imbalance. This of course is not to say that there is no power imbalance is homosexual relationships but in the case of a child is a power of one who considers himself more superior than another. Whereas with a child the power imbalance is related to a child’s incapacity to self-protect and the fears of non-compliance.

There is a sense of shame which permeates the Catholic Church at this moment. It is a church being spat upon, being vilified, being despised. It’s the one church which is the focal point of accusations of child sexual abuse by its ministers and others within its ranks. And yet I would suggest that there is more to what we are seeing. We are seeing the crucifixion of the Church where loss of members and their faith is very possible.

Defined, sexual abuse is the forceful intrusion into the sacred space of sexuality in this case of the child in whose trusting care or one who should not have been doubted of love and care is found monstrous. However, there is still much more to the experience and more and more the voices of those who have lived with the experience report dimensions which had hitherto been unacknowledged. For these voices, sexual abuse has meant the brutalizing indignity and dishonour of innocence. There is a suffering within these voices which has a dimension which is unknown, evasive, and frighteningly mysterious. Indeed it almost appears chameleon like because as soon as someone nears to what appears to be an answer, a new dimension of this suffering is discovered and the essence of this suffering becomes again illusory.

By its very nature sexual abuse is a violent and soul destroying act/s whose evil and suffering can only be equated with past crimes of human sacrifice and genocide. The violence inherent in the very act of abuse is also manifested in the physical, living realm of society because the victim then carries into family and then society, the reactions of this abuse.

Sexual abuse of children especially of the incest variety has been a universal taboo across cultures throughout known history, although with restricted exceptions (ancient royal families and wealth retention permitted marriages between brothers and sisters) it has been denounced on many levels and about many issues including passing on of genetic anomalies to offspring. Statistics show that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys (USA) claim to have been abused before the age of 18 years not by clergy or homosexuals but in their own homes.

After the demanded purging of the church of the perpetrators what then? Will that mean that there will no longer be any abuse of children? Once all the perpetrators of all institutions beginning with Catholic Church, government bodies, teaching bodies, scouting bodies, sports bodies, legal bodies, medical bodies, hospitals, even child minding bodies (indeed anywhere that children are to be found) and other Churches of all denominations, Synagogues, Temples, Mosques. What then? Will it bring to an end the sexual abuse of children? An emphatic NO because the real focus of where abuse of children happens has been ignored. There have been found scapegoats but not the true perpetrators of this outrage.

Where do the perpetrators making up the populations of these above mentioned “institutions” emerge from? How did the baby who was born innocent of any crime grow up to become a perpetrator? What happened? The answer to this question and how did it happen and where did it start must be sought because that is where the answer is found. It is only with the being able to answer the “why” and “where” that an answer can be found.

However, more than anomalies, more than taboo itself there is and has been an inherent strong repulsion against incest which has served to protect children from harm by those who should protect them. Research has shown that a perpetrator and victim are often immersed within their social sphere functioning in what appears normality and without any signs of disturbance to the societal norm.

So the question is again, where did the perpetrators emerged from except from a family where all was not as it should have been or as it appeared to be. And again research (Finklelhor, Grant, Gelinas, Rothschild, Terr, etc. etc.) comes to answer that perpetrators come from families where they were themselves abused. Whose own family (most especially fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers and occasionally females) sexually abused them. And the abusers before that were also abused. Transgenerational trauma continued until there is a resolution.

Many reasons are posited for why parent/s sexually abuse their own child/ren and again research seems to point to an attempt by the abuser to repeat his/her own story and gain mastery over it. However, because of the nature of the “drug” (sex) it becomes addictive leading to further intergenerational and transgenerational transfer of this psychological aberration.
Other reasons proffered are that perpetrators are looking for lost closeness and love from their own parents whose emotional abandonment and neglect left an imprint of incomplete development.

There is a copious amount of literature on the sexual abuse of children and research into this has been in existence for at least fifty years, and the abuse research was not about “institutions” but where the source of all abuse begins. Yes institutions unintentionally employ perpetrators, but the perpetrators did not become perpetrators because they worked in a particular institution but a perpetrator already comes from a situation where the taboo has been broken.

Whilst it is convenient to lay blame of the sexual abuse scandal we are witnessing at the feet of homosexuality or other fringe group ( and of course there will be found some just like there will be found other miscreants in all areas of life), it is dishonest and ultimately achieves little because the abuse of children by future priests will continue unless there is a way found to recognise when and where a child has been wounded and perhaps with the all-male celibate priesthood the right decision to be made both for the candidate and the church.

What becomes possible for society to do today, is to be more on the alert for children who display signs of something being wrong in their life. A child will not be able to live with “a secret” or subterfuge. A child will act out its pain, fear, dissonance. A child will give clues that all is not right in his or her life and it is important when these clues are seen that appropriate measures be taken. Gently, by the right people, and so discreetly that no further hurt will be felt by the victim. The victim will not feel like he/she betrayed the family or hurt her family, which is one of the biggest fears of a child.

I began with mentioning that the Church is walking in a moment of shame and pain and a media which enjoys humiliating the Catholic Church further. It serves the agenda of the enemies of the church well including those within whose wish is to change the nature of the Church into one of their own design.

Many reasons exist why a previously abused young man or woman would enter ministry with painful background. It is my belief that those who enter with this background enter to find a spiritual solution. To feel clean. To be safe in Gods house where their healing is possible. I do not believe such people wish to sometime in the future have available to them an untold number of candidates for their use and abuse. Dr Grant’s contribution is especially helpful in “Healing the Soul of the Church; Ministers facing their own Childhood Abuse (pp5-17).

According to Dr Robert Grant PhD “Men and women who are victims often seek refuge in clerical and religious life from a world characterised by exploitation and pain. Deprived of psychological care, and skills capable of protecting them in an adversarial world, the convent or the seminary is often perceived as a psychological sanctuary.” Indeed it is seen as a sanctuary away from pain and not a place where one learns and yearns for a desire to molest children.

Anne Lastman