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Famous Roman Catholic Priest Blames Children For Their Rapes

by David Badash on August 31, 2012

in News,Religion

Post image for Famous Roman Catholic Priest Blames Children For Their Rapes

A famous Roman Catholic priest in New York told a news reporter for a Catholic publication that many of the child victims of pedophile priests are often to blame for their rapes. Fr. Benedict Groeschel, who is 79 and hosts a weekly TV show on Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), a Catholic television network, told the National Catholic Register that in a “lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.” After much outcry, the  National Catholic Register removed the story from the site and offered an apology.

What follows is nothing short of incredible. For decades the Catholic Church has not only had a raging pedophile priests problem that has directly touched thousands upon thousands of children around the world. And now we learn that for decades, the attitude of the Church’s leaders and gatekeepers has been to say “poor guy” —  to the rapists, not their victims.

Fr. Groeschel, who is a member of the American Psychological Association, admits that he’s been screening priests to avoid potential pedophiles for 40 years.

“It takes a lot of time — four or five hours — to do a psychological screening, and I don’t have a lot of time. There were times in the past when I’d do 30 of them.”

Perhaps someone in the past 40 years should have realized that the gatekeeper was a sympathizer to rapists? Did no one ever examine Groeschel’s batting average?

In the interview, Groeschel says, “a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.”

“Well, it’s not so hard to see — a kid looking for a father and didn’t have his own — and they won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that. It’s an understandable thing,”

Andrew Sullivan notes:

“It’s a staggering insight into how the old hierarchy viewed child abuse: as essentially the child’s fault and no big deal. “Poor Sandusky”?”

Commonweal Magazine, “an independent journal of opinion edited and managed by lay Catholics,” published this excerpt from the extensive interview that has since been scrubbed from the National Catholic Register website:

Part of your work here at Trinity has been working with priests involved in abuse, no?

A little bit, yes; but you know, in those cases, they have to leave. And some of them profoundly — profoundly — penitential, horrified. People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath. But that’s not the case. 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.

Why would that be?

Well, it’s not so hard to see — a kid looking for a father and didn’t have his own — and they won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that. It’s an understandable thing, and you know where you find it, among other clergy or important people; you look at teachers, attorneys, judges, social workers. Generally, if they get involved, it’s heterosexually, and if it’s a priest, he leaves and gets married — that’s the usual thing — and gets a dispensation. A lot of priests leave quickly, get civilly married and then apply for the dispensation, which takes about three years. But there are the relatively rare cases where a priest is involved in a homosexual way with a minor. I think the statistic I read recently in a secular psychology review was about 2%. Would that be true of other clergy? Would it be true of doctors, lawyers, coaches? Here’s this poor guy — [Penn State football coach Jerry] Sandusky — it went on for years. Interesting: Why didn’t anyone say anything? Apparently, a number of kids knew about it and didn’t break the ice. Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime. It was a moral failure, scandalous; but they didn’t think of it in terms of legal things. If you go back 10 or 15 years ago with different sexual difficulties — except for rape or violence — it was very rarely brought as a civil crime. Nobody thought of it that way. Sometimes statutory rape would be — but only if the girl pushed her case. Parents wouldn’t touch it. People backed off, for years, on sexual cases. I’m not sure why. I think perhaps part of the reason would be an embarrassment, that it brings the case out into the open, and the girl’s name is there, or people will figure out what’s there, or the youngster involved — you know, it’s not put in the paper, but everybody knows; they’re talking about it. At this point, (when) any priest, any clergyman, any social worker, any teacher, any responsible person in society would become involved in a single sexual act — not necessarily intercourse — they’re done. And I’m inclined to think, on their first offense, they should not go to jail because their intention was not committing a crime.

What has the Church learned in terms of preventing this?

We’ve been screening seminarians for decades. That’s nothing new. I’ve been doing it for 40 years, for our old community — the Capuchins — for the diocese, for our small religious community. … It takes a lot of time — four or five hours — to do a psychological screening, and I don’t have a lot of time. There were times in the past when I’d do 30 of them. I’d do it for our community and our sisters. Also, it’s very expensive. Now, I never got a nickel, but it costs between $800 and $1,200 for a psychological battery. I used to teach psychological evaluations. You know, we’ve reduced considerably the number of seminarians, and the Church is going to be in plenty of trouble as time goes on — one pastor for two or three parishes. So permanent deacons, laypeople, deaconesses — if you don’t want to call them that — you’re going to need a lot of people helping to keep the parish going. And that may not be a bad thing at all. Years ago, in the New York Archdiocese, you were an assistant for about 25 or 30 years before you became a pastor. We’re making men pastors with five years’ experience. It was too long before, and it’s too short at present.

There have been a number of high-profile priests in recent years who have gone astray. As a prominent priest yourself, would you say there’s something about fame that goes to the heads of priests like this?

It could. I wouldn’t want to say about any particular person, but people could be foolish enough to take themselves too seriously. It’s true: I’m reasonably well known, and that’s because I broadcast and I write. I don’t write and broadcast to be well known. It’s the opposite. For many years, I was happy as the chaplain of Children’s Village. I’ve written 45 books, but the vast majority of my books are written for devout people [holding up a copy of a recent book, he continues]: Now, this annoys me, when they put my picture on the cover. But it’s also very good to be coming close to death. I just passed, three years ago, the average age of when a man in the United States dies: 75. I’m pushing 79. … When you start getting close to the age where you start thinking about where you’d like to be buried … you do think about the Church’s, the Christian belief — and largely the belief of many other religions — that the individual, as a person, goes through death, and they have to some degree memory and will. What’s missing when you have a dead body? That’s what’s there. The whole personality is gone. That’s on the other side. The Christian belief of the saints … they’re on the other side. I’m looking forward. I’m fascinated by what’s coming next. We’re passing through this valley, and, for a great many people, life has been difficult. Not just for the poor. There’s a sign I put up there on the wall: Be calm and carry on. I am immensely grateful to God that I knew when I was 6 or 7 years old that I was supposed to be a priest — and a friar or a monk when I was 13 or 14. A poem that we had by Longfellow, called The Legend — beautiful — about a monk who had seen a vision of Christ; and he had to leave the vision because the bell was ringing, and the poor people were there to be fed. And he didn’t know — Should I go or should I stay? Should I go to the ragged people at the gate? And he goes, and he feeds the poor for several hours. And he comes back and opens the door, and Christ is standing (there), and Christ said to him, “If thou had stayed, I must have fled.” The nuns taught it to us in the eighth grade. It put it in my mind to be a monk. And I look back — and I didn’t know much about priests. We had very nice priests in the parish. I knew nothing about priests not getting married. Father O’Donnell, a big Irishman who walked up and down every street in the parish every day — one of the great old priests, in Our Lady of Victory in beautiful Jersey City. I was there and very happy.

John Burger is the Register’s news editor.

The New York Times notes:

“I did not intend to blame the victim,” Father Groeschel wrote in a statement published on The Catholic Register’s site. “A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be.”

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, denounced the comments as “terribly wrong.” But he said the church was unlikely to discipline Father Groeschel, in part because as a member of a religious order, he was not officially a priest of the diocese.


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InvokeRights August 31, 2012 at 7:11 am

First off, they did this 'interview' and posted it. So it seems to me that they KNEW what he was saying and they were okay with it themselves!

Second off, when he states "My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be.” tells me that he really shouldn't be doing anymore speaking.

StanJames August 11, 2013 at 4:28 pm

This guy and if its wide spread, would do well as an islamic sharia law judge in Saudi land

There are virtually no rapes in saudi , because the judge decides what God wants and usually its the womans fault, she gets whipped, and the perv gets off with a handslap

Welcome to insanity . the same anti woman stance re women being clergy is found in the catholic church, right wing xtians, jewish orthdox , muslim and mromon societes

StanJames March 3, 2014 at 2:11 am

BAsically this sick piggo should be food for the lions.

BTw its not unusual that people who are raped blame thtemselves eg I should have known he was a danger to me

The nuts like this priest know this and it makes it easy to get the victim to blame himself. Why cant we put these guys in the poke with HOMO on both of their ass cheeks

wyocowboy62 August 31, 2012 at 8:19 am

whst a sick "fk"…religion does nothing but harm to the psyche b/c they r given fasle views

StanleyJames September 21, 2012 at 12:49 am

Conservative and often hateful religion in many ways has been the curse of humanity

WWII and the holocaust's foundation came because the vatican hated Jews for a millenia, poisoning European society. Hitler rode this poison to victory – he was elected with a plurality, and by 1933 signs were appearing in germany -Jews not permitted here.

Japan followed emperor hirothito to nuclear ruin. the Emperor was consided a god or demi god

Think also of so many countries in Africa etc – which int he old days were colonies – the stealing of their people and resources by Europeans. Most all were catholics. the Anglican church is catholic but split from Rome

slavery was justified as per the bible – a slave shall obey his master.

the whole of religion could be trashed except to save a Jewish Rabbis commandment – love thy neighbor as thyself

EdinOcala August 31, 2012 at 11:37 am

This is a very revealing look at the mindset of the church. Still covering up and justifying their pedophilia by blaming the victim……disgusting.

elvenflow November 27, 2012 at 3:58 am

This is common with pedophiles. They project their desire onto the child.They sometimes get other people to go along with them. My parents blamed me (at age 3) when I was sexually abused by a 16 year old family member. The same family member blamed his mother when he became sexually aroused during a trouser fitting (that sounds so strange written out, but these are very strange people and their sexual responses are nothing like normal) . They see their desire and their acting on it as anybodies fault but theirs.Like something enirely outside themselves.

James_M_Martin September 1, 2012 at 9:16 am

Sick, sick, sick! Tells you plenty about the kind of guy who would be attracted to the job. Tells you plenty about the organization itself.

StanJames August 11, 2013 at 4:30 pm

welcum to the church – of their devil. Misspelling on purpose

lepidopteryx September 1, 2012 at 2:43 pm

A kid looking for a father figure seduces said father figure? Funny, I never had any desire to fuck my daddy.

Danny Haszard September 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Jehovah's Witnesses hit with $28 million sex abuse settlement Oakland,Calif.-Google it.

Many court documents and news events prove that Jehovah Witnesses require two witnesses when a child comes forward with allegations of molestation within the congregation.
It has also been shown that child molesters within the organization usually have not been identified to the congregation members or the public at large.
These people engage in a door to door ministry, possibly exposing children to pedophiles.
The Watchtower corporation has paid out millions in settlement money already.

Danny Haszard *tell the truth don't be afraid*

StanleyJames September 21, 2012 at 12:34 am

Now its the outrage of outrages – the church blames the kids for being molested.

this is the very common game i many situations where the victimizer claims to be the victim.

The sooner the church in the USA is like the church in eg France (and most of western Europe) , the better

The churches old game of telling lies so outrageous that they are seen to be true is at an end.

Basically the church is doing what Gobbells said – tell lies often enough and outrageous enought and they will be seen as the truth.

BTW along with their mad boss (austrian catholic AH) , Himmler, Goebbels, Eichmann, and dr. Mengele were catholic. All went to schools that were catholic in fact if not in name – supported by the govt.

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