Pedophilia Isn´t the Main Crisis, Says George Weigel

Nor Is Celibacy the Problem, He Writes

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LOS ANGELES, APRIL 26, 2002 ( Papal biographer George Weigel says the sex scandal in the Catholic Church in the United States is not primarily about the abuse of children.

Writing in today´s Los Angeles Times, he stated: «Report after report over the past four months has made unmistakably clear, however, that the overwhelming majority of clerical sexual predators in recent decades are homosexual priests abusing teen-age boys and young men.»

«Headlines and television teasers about the ´pedophilia crisis´ or ´child sexual abuse crisis´ are false and misleading,» Weigel wrote.

His comments came in the wake of the U.S. Church leaders´ meeting with John Paul II and Vatican officials this week to address the sex-abuse scandals in the United States.

«It is no accident that the bulk of the abuse cases recently reported took place between the mid-1960s and the late 1980s, a period in which a culture of dissent took root in American seminaries, theology faculties and church bureaucracies and in which clerical discipline broke down,» wrote the senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington.

«There can be no question that this culture of dissent contributed massively to a breakdown of discipline, which in turn contributed to a serious outbreak of clerical sexual abuse,» he continued.

«This is not a crisis of celibacy,» Weigel added. «It is a crisis caused by men failing to live the celibacy that they solemnly promised to God and the church.»

Meanwhile, the archbishop who now oversees a key committee on sex abuse has announced his support for a zero-tolerance stance on sexually abusive priests, the Associated Press reported today.

Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of St. Paul and Minneapolis was also quoted as saying that an oversight procedure now being formed for churches in Minnesota and the Dakotas may become a model for a national program.

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