As a volunteer at Holy Name of Jesus Roman Catholic Church, I wrote the following letter in September '04 after attending the mandatory Virtus program. This letter was emailed, hard-mailed and faxed to the Fairfield County Catholic, but to date it has never been published.
After 10 years in the military, I thought I knew better than to volunteer. But volunteer I did to help clean the sacristy of Holy Name of Jesus Church, Stratford, after which I soon received a large packet in the mail. Assuming it was just another church raffle ticket drive, I opened the envelope and discovered that it contained the paperwork for the Catholic Church’s mandatory Virtus training seminar: a 3-hour sexual abuse awareness program, which I attended (August 14, 2004) at St. Lawrence Parish in Shelton.
Latin for valor, Virtus -- part of the Safe Environment Program -- was created by the National Catholic Risk Retention Group, Inc., for all church volunteers and employees. At the heart of the seminar was a series of videos, one of which covered sexual abuse myths, such as the “misconception” that most abusers are homosexuals.
But according to Catholic News Service, a recent report by the bishops’ National Review Board on the causes of the current sex scandal revealed that the majority of young victims abused by our clergy were males, signifying that the church crisis was indeed characterized by homosexual behavior. The bishops’ report was based on the (recent) John Jay study on the Catholic clerical abuse of minors. The study determined that 81 percent of those abused by priests were male: 22 percent under the age of 11; 51 percent from 11-14 years old, and the remaining 27 percent were ages 15-17.
I was not surprised at these figures. After my discharge from the Army some years ago, I attended a weekend retreat with the Vocationist Fathers in New Jersey. After reading their brochure, I was surprised they accepted celibate gay men into their order. To me, that was like hiring a recovering alcoholic to tend bar: it wasn’t a question of if there would be a tragedy, but when.
Further, the National Review Board report found that large numbers of homosexual candidates actually discouraged heterosexuals from entering the priesthood, resulting in the formation of “gay subcultures” in some seminaries.
With sexual abuse investigations in America and Austria, Roman Catholics have paid a high price -- both spiritually and financially -- for putting practicing homosexuals into the priesthood.
Joseph Carl DeCaro
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