In his RNS report yesterday, Dan Burke got a couple if bishops to comment on the John Jay study de-coupling clerical homosexuality from sexual abuse. Most notable was St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt’s “I wouldn’t put a lot of credence in it.” Nienstedt, as Burke notes, was the guy who led the Vatican’s post-scandal investigation of homosexuality in the seminaries, the idea being that if you got rid of the gays, the abuse would stop. Not that Nienstedt doesn’t have a fall-back position; to wit: “a priest has to be accessible to all his people,
and someone with a strong same-sex attraction would not be good to have
in the pastoral care of people.” As opposed to a priest with a strong opposite-sex attraction?
The bishops’ problem with the John Jay study goes beyond Nienstedt’s species of homophobia, however. If, as the study suggests, sexual abuse by priests is the result of not homosexual orientation but the availability of certain types of people (i.e. altar boys), then someone might be led to the conclusion that clerical celibacy is a big part of the problem. The horror, the horror!