- For Survivors
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- Summit 2020
This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Posted on: Wednesday, August 12, 2020
by Ben Broussard
This article was first published August 6, 2020, at tfpla.org.
All attendees were eager to share strategies and network with other activists.
Summit topics included abortion, pornography and transgenderism. Participants heard the testimony of former homosexuals, mothers opposing the ‘transitioning’ of their children and parents working against radical sex education.
Dr. Michelle Cretella, head of the American College of Pediatricians, discussed at length about the medical consequences of transgenderism. Sue Ellen Browder, former writer for Cosmopolitan magazine, gave insights about how major media promote promiscuity and impurity.
Members of TFP—Louisiana shared their own stories about fighting back against the Drag Queen Story Hour held at public libraries. During the concluding activist panel, Thomas Drake, president of TFP Louisiana, presented a new video showcasing the TFP’s efforts fighting back against this effort to ruin children’s innocence. Those present gave the video a standing ovation.
Members of TFP with those on the Summit Activist panel. Front row right to left; Thomas Drake (TFP), Activist of the year Cathy Ruse, Dr. Jennifer Morse (Founder and President of the Ruth Institute), Mrs. Tracy Shannon (Mass Resistance, Houston)
The summit presenters highlighted a common theme: the Church was right all along in insisting on chastity. May all Americans of good will heed the call to promote and defend this truth for the healing of America.
Posted on: Monday, July 27, 2020
The Ruth Institute’s conference explores the tragic effects of an “anything goes” culture.
by Kathy Schiffer, July 25, 2020, at NCRegister.com.
It was sometime around the mid-1960s that the sexual revolution really got underway; and in the ensuing decades, “free sex” – that is, sex without restrictions and without consequences – gained momentum in American culture. The introduction of the birth control pill effectively separated sexual intercourse from its expected result, pregnancy. No-fault divorce, sex outside of marriage, legalized abortion, promiscuity and the hook-up culture, infidelity and bigamy and polygamy, the emergence of “throuples”... inevitably led to a trifecta of sexual aberrations: pornography, homosexuality, and transgenderism.
But despite the mainstream media's embrace of alternative lifestyles, lots of people (a majority of people?) resist the assault on traditional morality. Over at the Ruth Institute, a global interfaith coalition, founder Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. has given a voice to those who appreciate the beauty of human sexuality as God intended, and who recognize the depravity inherent in society's relaxation of sexual norms.
On July 17-18, the Ruth Institute presented its third annual Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution, intended to educate the public about the millions of lives damaged by society's abandonment of sexual mores. The event was originally planned as a live conference onsite in Lake Charles, Louisiana; but because of the coronavirus, the conference was changed to a hybrid event, with both in-person participation and online involvement. Morse explained to the Register, “None of the evils we confronted – pornography, sexual abuse, gender confusion, coercive population control and dramatically falling fertility – are going to call a time-out for a pandemic.”
The Register talked with Jennifer Roback Morse about the agenda for the Summit. Unlike other conferences, she explained, this event did not rely exclusively on presentations of well-known speakers. Rather, the Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution brought together people who had suffered personally as a result of a sexually permissive society. “This is not a harmless ploy,” Morse said.
...It's a form of ideological terror that has killed a lot of people in the last fifty years. So the more we use the phraseology, the more we speak openly about how our culture has been hurt by these ideas, the more we help to identify people who have had their lives destroyed by this ideology.
Among the speakers who had personally suffered as a result of the LGBT subculture were Doug Mainwaring, a journalist who had left the homosexual lifestyle; Luis Ruiz, a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando, who left the LGBT lifestyle after that terrifying experience; and Lynn Meagher, a mother whose two gender-confused adult children have severed their relationship with her, leaving her to wonder where they are and to pray for their return to faith.
A panel on the transgender movement included parents of gender-confused children, desisters (people who lived as the opposite sex and gave it up), and resisters within the medical community. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse reported on their own experiences. Another panel featured three speakers: Faith Hakesly and Allen Hebert, who were themselves survivors of childhood abuse, and Sue Ellen Browder, the spouse of a survivor. And a third panel brought together three activists: Tracy Shannon, representing Mass Resistance of Texas; Thomas Drake of Tradition, Family, Property (TFP); and Cathy Cleaver Ruse, senior fellow at the Family Research Council, who was recognized for her work exposing and resisting the Fairfax County School Board.
Besides the “experience speakers,” those whose testimonies reveal the deep hurt caused by the sexual revolution, the Summit included the wise advice of experts. Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D. is a former professor of sociology at The Catholic University of America, where he was a leader in the field of research on same-sex parenting and its implications for child development. Father Sullins, now a senior research associate of the Ruth Institute, spoke about the clergy abuse crisis, looking at past statistics and future trends. Melea Stephens, a licensed professional counselor who specializes in helping couples, explained how pornography has become a public health crisis, and focused on public policies which could help alleviate the problem. Chris McKenna, founder and CEO of Protect Young Eyes, introduced tools for parents and other educators which can help to protect children from exposure to pornography.
Intensive Leadership Training for Ruth Institute's “Ambassadors”
A new feature of the conference this year was the Ambassador's Training Program. That program, which was offered by invitation only, included presentations on Understanding the Global Sexual Revolution: Christian Anthropology, History and Social Systems, presented by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse; Medical Tragedies of the Sexual Revolution, a review of traditional Christian sexuality morality, as presented by Michelle Cretella, M.D.; Social Science Evidence, including issues such as post-abortion trauma, same-sex parenting, and children's needs for their parents, presented by Fr. Paul Sullins; and Human Rights Catastrophes of the Sexual Revolution (including population control and demographic winter), presented by Don Feder, a journalist and communications director for the World Congress of Families.
If you were unable to participate in the conference either online or in person, Dr. Morse reassured the Register that recordings from the Summit will be
available online in the near future. You can learn more about those recordings and about the Ruth Institute's other resources at the website, ruthinstitute.org.
Posted on: Tuesday, July 21, 2020
The Ruth Institute’s 2020 Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution (July 17-18) overcame last-minute challenges to emerge as an historic contribution to the cause of educating the public about the millions of lives damaged by the Sexual Revolution.
“Despite new restrictions on public gatherings in Louisiana, announced by our governor only the week before the event, our 2020 Summit was more successful than we could have hoped,” said Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.
Morse explained that the Summit was a hybrid event, with in-person participation in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and online involvement. “None of the evils we confronted – pornography, sexual abuse, gender confusion, coercive population control and dramatically falling fertility – are going to call a time-out for a pandemic,” Morse observed.
The Summit included an Ambassador’s Program (intensive leadership training, by invitation only), an Awards Banquet and the Summit itself. Sessions included Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse -- Surviving Pornography -- Surviving the LGBT Sub-Culture -- and Reporting from the Trenches on the Transgender Movement.
Among the topics covered in the Ambassador’s training program were: Understanding the Global Sexual Revolution – Medical Tragedies of the Sexual Revolution – Social Science Evidence About the Sexual Revolution – and Human Rights Catastrophes of the Sexual Revolution: Population Control and Demographic Winter.
The speakers and panelists included experts as well as those offering personal testimony, among them: Dr. Michelle Cretella (Executive Director, American College of Pediatricians), Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D. (former Professor of Sociology at Catholic University of America and Senior Research Associate at the Ruth Institute), Dr. Paul Church (former Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Harvard Medical School), Sue Ellen Browder (a journalist and author of Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement), Luis Ruiz (a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub shootings who subsequently left the LGBT lifestyle), Faith Hakesley (a victim of rape by a Catholic priest who met with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI), Brandon Showalter (a journalist who has written extensively on the trans movement), Melea Stephens (a family therapist and board member of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation) and Attorney Cathy Cleaver Ruse (formerly Pro-Life Spokesman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops now Senior Fellow for Legal Studies at the Family Research Council).
Morse summed up the importance of having a live event during the time of COVID: “The relationships and friendships formed were invaluable. Although we were delighted to offer online participation to those who weren’t able to join us in person, including some of our speakers, there are distinct advantages that come from being physically present in a conference room with leaders and activists who are working on the same issues and share your perspective.”
“They need and deserve to have their values defended with research, analysis and personal anecdotes,” Morse said, “and we were grateful to be in a position to do just that.”
Recordings from the summit will be available on-line in the not too distant future.
Posted on: Thursday, July 16, 2020
"Despite the rapidly changing COVID landscape here in Louisiana, we’re pleased to announce that the Ruth Institute’s 2020 Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution will take place as planned, tomorrow, July 17 – with an awards banquet in the evening-- and Saturday, July 18, in Lake Charles,” said Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., president of the Ruth Institute.
The Summit will be a hybrid event with both in-person participation and live-streaming. It will present an analysis of the many ways the Sexual Revolution attacks both the individual and the family, and will include the testimony of survivors.
Morse explained: “The Sexual Revolution has brought in its wake a host of pathologies and addictions. We’ll be looking at some of the most destructive of these.”
Presentations and panels will include:
The program will also include activists’ panels, question and answer sessions and general discussions.
Among the participants on the Surviving the LGBT Subculture panel is Doug Mainwaring, a journalist, and Luis Ruiz, who survived the Pulse Nightclub shootings. Both left the LGBT subculture.
“This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear both expert analysis and first-hand testimony on the trauma inflicted by the Sexual Revolution,” Morse said. “The emphasis will be on healing.”
Click here for a complete program.
To register for in-person participation or live-streaming, click here.
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization leading an international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.
Jennifer Roback Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact email@example.com.
Posted on: Saturday, July 11, 2020
“They may not be household names, but they have crucial information and first-hand experience about what the Sexual Revolution has done to individuals and society,” said Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., President of The Ruth Institute, in describing the speakers for the upcoming Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution, July 17-18 in Lake Charles, LA.
“Our speakers include professionals who have worked with these issues for years, and survivors who can bear witness to the trauma of a movement sold as liberation that’s resulted in the physical and spiritual enslavement of millions,” Morse said.
The speakers include:
Dr. Paul Church – a practicing urologist for over 35 years and Asst. Professor of Surgery at the Harvard Medical School who was fired for challenging his colleagues to tell the truth about the health consequences of LGBTQ behavior.
Sue Ellen Browder – a former Cosmopolitan journalist who’s appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows (including Oprah, The Today Show and EWTN) and is the author of the recently published Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.
Tracy Shannon -- When her husband of 15 years left her to live as a woman, she decided to combat the new sexual morality. As Director of MassResistance Texas, she’s fought Drag Queen Story Hours in libraries across the state.
Fr Paul Sullins, Ph.D. – Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute and a retired sociology professor who’s done pioneering work on the impact of same-sex parenting on children and the relationship between clergy sex abuse and homosexual ordination within the Catholic priesthood.
Dr. Michelle Cretella MD. – a pediatrician and full-time Executive Director of the American College of Pediatricians. Dr. Cretella is one of the world’s most outspoken critics of the gender ideology in pediatrics and the author of “Gender Dysphoria in Children and Suppression of Debate” in the Summer 2016 issue of Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
Luis Ruiz – wounded in the 2016 Pulse Night Club shooting in Orlando, in which 50 died and 58 were injured. While hospitalized, he learned he was HIV-positive, causing him to reevaluate his life, leave the homosexual lifestyle, and return to the church in which he grew up. He now shares his message with audiences across the country.
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. -- founder of the Ruth Institute, a global non-profit organization that defends the family at home and in the public square and equips others to do the same. She was a campaign spokeswoman for California’s winning Proposition 8 campaign, defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. She has authored or co-authored five books and spoken around the globe on marriage, family and human sexuality. Her latest book is The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why the Church was Right All Along. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Rochester, taught economics at Yale and George Mason Universities and was named one of the “Catholic Stars of 2013” on a list that included Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI.
Click here for the complete program for the 2020 Summit.
Click here to register to attend in person or by live streaming.
Posted on: Tuesday, July 07, 2020
The Ruth Institute is undaunted by the coronavirus shutdowns, lockdowns and regulations. The Third Annual Awards Dinner and Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution (July 17-18) will be a live event in Lake Charles, Louisiana, with on-line options. Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., president of the Ruth Institute, stated, “We are determined to create opportunities for pro-family activists to get together, either in person at this live event, or online in small groups, as permitted by their local health regulations.”
Morse said: “The Summit will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help redefine the family movement. The encounter with experts and their analysis, the first-hand testimony of survivors, and the experience of veteran activists will inspire participants. They will come away with a wealth of information on how to get involved and make a difference, as well as inspirational stories from those who’ve survived the plagues of sexual abuse, pornography, the LGBT sub-culture and the transgender movement.”
Participants can connect with the Summit activities as an individual virtual participant or host a Watch Party of up to 10 participants. The “Watch Party” option is the Ruth Institute’s innovative response to the Coronavirus situation.
The Watch Party Package includes:
The "Virtual Conference Pass" includes:
To register yourself or your Watch Party, go here, and click the yellow Register button. Look for "Watch Party" or "Virtual Conference Pass." If you’re a member of the media, type in the special Code: WATCH.
Dr. Morse stressed, “Our live event will be in full compliance with all local health regulations. People need have no fear about attending in person. Pro-family activists who desire virtual options, for any reason, can still fully participate.”
Among the Summit speakers on Saturday July 18 are Journalist Doug Mainwaring and Pulse Nightclub shooting survivor Luis Ruiz (both left the LGBT subculture), Dr. Michelle Cretella, M.D. (American College of Pediatricians), Journalist Brandon Showalter (Christian Post), Dr. Morse, Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D. (Ruth Institute Research Associate), Melea Stephens (National Center on Sexual Exploitation), and Chris McKenna (Covenant Eyes).
Friday, July 17, the evening before the Summit, the Awards Dinner will feature a keynote speech by Sue Ellen Browder, a journalist and author of Subverted: How I helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.
These inspiring speakers and discussions will empower you to have greater impact as we all #FightForFamily.
For the complete Summit program visit: http://www.ruthinstitute.org/summit-2020.
Posted on: Saturday, July 04, 2020
Ruth Institute Research Associate, Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., responded to the newly released 2019 Annual Report from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the independent lay National Review Board (NRB) about on-going clerical sex abuse.
“The report showed a significant increase in both allegations and findings of sexual abuse by priests. The Ruth Institute, along with the National Review Board, believes this is due to a lack of sufficient oversight. Clergy sex abuse is out of the news. We think it should be news.”
Fr. Sullins has dealt extensively with this issue, having done reports on clerical sex abuse in 2018 and 2019. His analysis of the findings and recommendations from this latest report can be found here.
In summary, Fr. Sullins noted:
1. Cases of current, ongoing abuse: 37 -- almost three times as many allegations as have been reported in any previous year of the audit.
2. New reports of past abuse: 4,434 previously unreported incidents of abuse, in some cases going back decades, which were only made known in 2019.
3. Priests removed permanently from priestly ministry: 142 -- about one-tenth of all new priests ordained in the past decade.
4. The percentage of male and female victims is now roughly equal. In years past, the victims were predominately male.
The Ruth Institute endorses the recommendations of the National Review Board, which provides the USCCB these reports on an annual basis:
1. Every diocese should mandate parish-level audits. Currently, only 60% of dioceses require these audits.
2. Every diocese should require ongoing training and renewal of background checks. Currently, 25% and 15% respectively do not meet these requirements.
3. Clergy and laity must remain fully engaged about the safety of children and faithfulness of clergy.
Ruth Institute President, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D., concluded: “Given the tragic history of the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church, which scarred the lives of so many, we must not become complacent. We must be vigilant to ensure no repetition of the scandals of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ’90s.”
Posted on: Friday, June 26, 2020
by Paul Murano • ChurchMilitant.com • June 25, 2020
The sexual revolution, a revolt waged by modern man against God and His Sixth Commandment, will be taking the proverbial prosecutor's stand in Louisiana this July.
The Ruth Institute has scheduled its "Survivors' Summit 2020," a conference whose focus is "Surviving the Sexual Revolution." It will cover the gamut of sexual deviancy unleashed in the sexual revolution, from fornication to transgenderism. The Ruth Institute is a research and educational institute dedicated to supporting "individuals and families harmed by divorce, the hook-up culture and other forms of family breakdown."
"Our speakers are not celebrities," Ruth Institute founder Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse told Church Militant. "They're people just like you" and experts in their field. "If you come you will be inspired ... and our experts will demonstrate that the Church's teaching has always been correct."
Morse also said that there is no hope to expect to win the war for souls through legal or judicial means. The courts, she claims, are now essentially lawless. Her grassroots aim is to equip people with information and moral truth in order to overcome the dark, spiritual deluge.
Since the invention and popularization of the birth control pill, a Pandora's box of sexual deviancy has become normalized throughout the Western world. The resultant confusion and pain has caused a new normal of walking wounded, for whom the conference will provide a safe space in which to tell the truth — restoring "sexual sanity to our culture, communities and churches." This Summit will cover the what, how, why, when, where and who of the sexual revolution — a revolution that continues to this day — and engage participants from diverse backgrounds in the #FightforFamily.
According to the Center for Family Justice, one in four women have been sexually abused in their lifetime, as well as one in six men. Those are the numbers for assaults that were not consensual. But those who survive the sexual revolution also include those who have consented to its great magnetic pull, who have been lured in by the strong winds of the culture, and this includes virtually everyone who has come of age in the 1960s through today.
Conference topics include surviving childhood sexual abuse, pornography addiction, the LGBT subculture and transgenderism. Other topics will focus on the global sexual revolution; Christian anthropology, history and social systems; medical tragedies of the sexual revolution; social science evidence about the sexual revolution; human rights catastrophes of the sexual revolution; population control; and the decline of the human family — explained in the film Demographic Winter.
Featured speakers include distinguished scholars and survivors, as well as journalist Doug Mainwaring and Pulse nightclub shooting survivor Luis Ruiz, both of whom left the LGBT subculture.
Also scheduled to speak is Ruth Institute sociologist Fr. Paul Sullins, author of the groundbreaking report, "Is Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse Related to Homosexual Priests?" which revealed a striking correlation between the rise in the number of homosexual priests and the explosion of clerical sex abuse. Sullins will address gender theory, the characteristics of homosexual relationships and parenting, and the implication of homosexual priests in the wave of child sex abuse that peaked in the 1980s.
"My goal," Sullins told Church Militant, "is to present the facts and evidence that will help persons struggling with the widespread misinformation and deception that gay parents or homosexual priests are benevolent, innocuous influences on the children in their care. The empirical evidence strongly indicates otherwise."
The conference will also include activists' panels, question and answer sessions and general discussions.
The Keynote speaker is Sue Ellen Browder, journalist and author of Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women's Movement. Browder worked for Cosmopolitan magazine for years, writing what she calls "fake news" for potential victims of the sexual revolution. As an eyewitness to the birth of the revolution, Browder will talk about how two movements going in different directions — the women's movement and the sexual revolution — merged to become one movement leading to a Culture of Death.
The Ruth Institute calls itself "a global interfaith coalition equipping Christians to defend the family and build a civilization of love." Its Resource Center provides decades of research and educational tools to support individuals and families harmed by divorce, the hook-up culture and other forms of family breakdown.
The group's website states that "Every person has the right to know his or her cultural heritage and genetic identity," and "Every child has a right to a relationship with their natural mother and father except for an unavoidable tragedy." It supports natural law on morality related to sexuality and human life, and "rejects the idea that a child is a problem to solve if you don't want one and an object to purchase if you do want one."
In the wake of the Supreme Court's June 15 Bostock v. Clayton County decision, Morse explains that the summit will analyze the many ways the sexual revolution needs the power of the State to do its destructive work.
"The Bostock ruling redefines 'female' and 'male' for purposes of law. ... This terrible ruling shows that the conservative legal establishment has no idea how to address sexual and social issues. The sexual revolution attacks both the individual and the family," she adds. "At our Summit, we'll take a hard look at some of the most destructive pathologies the global ruling class has inflicted on ordinary people."
The Survivor's Summit will take place in Lake Charles, Louisiana on July 17–18.
Posted on: Monday, November 18, 2019
By Jennifer Roback Morse
Published on October 31, 2019, at The Stream.
Seminary in Florence, Italy. Image courtesy of pixabay.com.
You see, this Notre Dame study is a good news, bad news situation. The good news is that only 6% of seminarians surveyed reported sexual harassment. The bad news is that less than half the seminaries in the U.S. participated in the survey. The problem is: we don’t know which half is which.
My organization, the Ruth Institute has a special interest in this study. These results are completely consistent with the results of Fr. Paul Sullins’ second report, Receding Waves: Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests since 2000. Fr. Sullins is no slouch. He holds a doctorate in sociology and taught at Catholic University of America. He finds that recently ordained clergy are less likely to be abusers, and less likely to have male victims. Priests ordained within the last 10 years of his data collection are more likely to be orthodox, faithful and chaste. So, the Notre Dame findings are fully consistent with Fr. Sullins’ findings from a very different set of data. The young guys are good guys. Good news, for sure.
But don’t break out the bubbly. We still got problems.
You see, the Notre Dame researchers are serious people, doing serious work. They made good faith attempts to include all the seminaries and houses of religious formation. When some didn’t respond, the McGrath Institute at Notre Dame went the extra mile. Their Executive Director, Dr. John Cavadini, wrote letters to U.S. bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and superiors of religious orders. He told them about the study. He asked that they grant permission to participate in the study to their seminarians.
In spite of this diligence, only about 50% of the seminaries participated in the survey. Nearly 40% (37% to be exact) of seminaries and houses of formation never gave him the courtesy of a reply. Another 15% of seminaries or houses of formation either flat out declined to participate, or they said they were interested but then never responded to multiple attempts to follow up.
It is hard to believe all these schools didn’t know about the request.
It is also hard to believe that the schools that participated and the schools that didn’t are similar in every relevant respect. Some seminary authorities decided to not respond to repeated inquires. Some seminary rectors decided to not allow their men to be informed about the opportunity to participate in the survey. I wonder why?
Do you think the institutions that tolerate sexual activity, voluntary or otherwise, would be eager to encourage their men to participate in a survey about sexual activity and harassment? A school with a corrupt rector, or a diocese with a history of tolerating sexual acting out in the clergy, do you think those are the places rushing to tell Notre Dame, “yes, oh yes, you can ask our students anything?”
Maybe it’s just me. But I’m thinking, “no,” and “no.”
Wouldn’t you like to know, which schools had the students that said, “sexual harassment isn’t a problem here?” Wouldn’t you like to know which seminaries had students who said that seminaries should “automatically expel all men who do not live chastely?” Wouldn’t you like to know which schools couldn’t be bothered to forward the invitation to participate emails to their students?
I’d love to know. I’m thinking you would too.
Now, I’ve done social science research. Promising confidentiality to participants is standard protocol. The professionals at Notre Dame are not going to reveal which schools participated.
But we, dear reader, have every right to ask our bishops and seminary rectors: did our seminary participate in this survey? We, the faithful, have every right to say, “If your school participated, we congratulate you with our sustained financial support! If our school didn’t participate, why not? If you had a good reason to decline to participate, we would like to hear it.”
If they don’t answer a simple “yes or no” question, we have every right to draw our own conclusions.
At the same time, those seminaries that did participate can claim “bragging rights.” They could say, “We released a list of our students for the Notre Dame research team to contact and invite to participate. We encouraged our men to cooperate.” This would be no violation of any confidentiality agreement or of anyone’s privacy. This would be perfectly ethical.
The students who participated in this survey sound like fine young men. When asked to volunteer suggestions for improving seminary life, they wanted their schools to provide stronger formation in chastity. But what about the other half of our seminaries? We have no way of knowing what is going on. Are they all corrupt? Just how bad are the bad schools?
Church authorities who have responsibility for seminaries, I call on you to address this question. If your men participated, we applaud you. Your men are an encouragement to us all. We thank you for them. We wish to help support you, and them.
If you don’t answer these questions, our imaginations are left free to roam. You will have only yourselves to blame if our suspicions increase.
Posted on: Saturday, November 09, 2019
According to Ruth Institute sociologist Father Paul Sullins, a generation of younger clergy formed for lives of chaste celibacy is a major reason why clergy abuse rates are much lower than before 2000.
This article was first published June 10, 2019, at NCRegister.com.
by Peter Jesserer Smith
LAKE CHARLES, La. — Some promising news on the clergy sex-abuse crisis is joined by some warning signs, in a new report by religious sociologist Father Paul Sullins and the Ruth Institute.
According to the report, the overall number of homosexual priests has declined sharply since a peak in the 1980s — and so have the number of victims, who previously have been predominantly male. And it indicates that more recently ordained priests collectively have a far greater commitment to orthodoxy than the preceding generation of the priesthood, including faithfully living out the Church’s teachings with respect to chastity.
However, it states that the reports of sex abuse have also risen somewhat after hitting a low in 2002 and that the majority of victims of current reports within the last decade are likely to be female teenagers.
“Our long-standing interest at the Ruth Institute has been concern for the victims of the sexual revolution, of whom the victims of clergy sex abuse certainly are a prime interest,” Ruth Institute President Jennifer Roback Morse told reporters on a media call Thursday presenting the report, titled “Receding Waves: Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests Since 2000.”
The Ruth Institute made four recommendations: continuing vigilance in protecting all minors against clerical sexual abuse; paying particular attention to the persistent sexual abuse of girls; researching further into clergy self-description of their patterns of sexual attraction and behavior; and increasing educational programs on authentic Church teaching on human sexuality, including St. John Paul II’s theology of the body, at “all levels of education such as seminaries, universities, high schools, elementary schools, and parish catechism classes.”
Sociologist and Catholic priest Father Paul Sullins, who authored the report, found that since the 1960s priests engaged in child sex abuse have been relatively concentrated in two age groups: one ordained in the late 1960s and the other ordained in the early 1980s. The report stated the pattern of 20th-century clergy abuse of minors “closely tracks the estimates of numbers of self-identified homosexual clergy” and the decline of homosexual clergy “roughly equals fewer cases of clergy sexual abuse” in the U.S.
His report admitted there is no concrete data on the number of ordained homosexual priests after 2000, but stated that “statistical projections estimate that recent ordination classes have contained very few homosexual men.”
Father Sullins noted in the media call that the drop in ordinations of homosexual men is concurrent with the rise of a newer generation of young, orthodox candidates for the priesthood coming through seminary.
According to the data Father Sullins analyzed on clerical sexual abuse alleged to have taken place since 2000, priests ordained within the past 10 years accounted for 11% of those recent abuse allegations. More than half (52%) of the recent alleged abuse was perpetrated by priests ordained 30 years ago or more.
Changing Picture of Sex Abuse
Father Sullins said the proportion of male and female victims is changing in recent abuse reports: Seventy-four percent of reported victims were male in 2000 compared to only 34% by 2016.
The report highlights a “disturbing rise of the sexual abuse of children by priests after reaching an all-time low just after 2002.” While reports of current abuse averaged 7.0 per year from 2005 to 2009, he said, they rose to 8.2 per year from 2010 to 2014, a 17% increase.
“We have more abuse today than a decade ago,” he said.
Morse said Catholics should not fool themselves that the sex-abuse crisis is limited to homosexual clergy. The Ruth Institute has a place for survivors to tell their stories, and she said girls were by far the largest group telling their stories.
Still, Father Sullins said the overall abuse rate is well below the 1980s, when there were an average of 26.2 reports of current abuse per year.
Father Sullins clarified on the media call that the numbers from current reports only reflect trends, not the total numbers of abuse victims. The scope of the abuse crisis in real numbers is difficult to quantify. He said abuse victims on average take 28 years to process and report. Even then, he told reporters, only three or four victims out of 10 will come forward.
Father Sullins noted also that the national review board is warning about this very thing, pointing to rising complacency, failure to implement proper screening procedures, and failures to update trainings of adults and children at the diocesan and parish level on possible harms.
At the same time, Father Sullins stated that the rate of abuse in Catholic settings is “much lower” than comparable secular settings. He cautioned against the idea that “clergy sex abuse is a thing of the past.”
However, the Ruth Institute report has drawn criticism. Mark Gray, director of CARA Catholic Polls and a senior research associate at Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, told the Register he is concerned that a substantial part of Father Sullins’ data cannot be independently examined.
The data Father Sullins cited from the site VictimsSpeakDB is no longer available online. Gray said it seemed “deeply suspicious” to him the researcher who compiled it would cite “limited interest in statistical data about clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church” as his reason for taking the data offline.
Gray said most sociologists and criminologists would disagree with Father Sullins’ conclusions indicating a connection between the rise and fall of homosexual men in the priesthood and the rise and fall of sexual abuse cases.
“The consensus among researchers who study abuse is that sexual orientation is not a causal factor,” he said.
While there are no doubt specific factors for why the cohort of priests who committed acts of abuse, concentrated between the 1960s and 1980s, were abusers, Gray said there is no single cause, such as active homosexuality, that would be sufficient to explain the phenomenon.
Further Studies Needed
Both Father Sullins and Gray stated the Church does not have any studies that could give meaningful data on clerical sexual activity, or even whether that sexual activity varies depending on settings involving different levels of supervision and mutual accountability: such as whether the priest lives alone, with other priests in a rectory, or in a monastic setting.
Understanding the sexual activity of celibate clergy is key to understanding the phenomenon of clerics who sexually abuse minors and even adults. Stephen De Weger, an Australian researcher of adult sexual abuse, told the Register that elastic definitions of celibacy among the clergy are a component to the crisis.
He noted the most concentrated eras of documented sexual abuse correlate with a certain zeitgeist in seminary that was reacting against a previous culture of repressed sexuality. Books in vogue between the 1960s and 1980s stressed that clergy were “sexual beings,” which, De Weger said, may have given a vast number of psycho-sexually immature men (and women) in religious and clerical life a kind of permission to engage in sexual activity, and to justify it as normal, or an expression of love. Many others, he said, such as serial-offender types, “simply consciously take advantage of their positional power and use such terms as ‘God approves because this is love and God is love.’”
De Weger, who had briefly been in religious life during this time, indicated that some of these works seemed “a short step from the sexual celibate to the sexually active celibate.”
One popular book, he noted, outlined several different “expressions of celibacy” that basically gave justifications for different kinds of sexual contact under the guise of maintaining one’s promises or vows. However, for the faithful who expect that celibates are living chastity, “this makes no sense at all” and also exposes the faithful to potential harm.
De Weger said his research strongly found that because Catholic faithful expect the clergy they turn to for spiritual help and guidance will not sexualize their spiritual relationships, they are vulnerable to that abuse of power and breach of trust.
Father Sullins said he’s encountered those elastic rationalizations in the older generations of priests and religious. One factor behind why incidents of sexual abuse are lower in younger priests, he said, may be due to how celibacy is taught now in seminary by priests who are now fully molded in St. John Paul II’s theology.
He said celibacy in the theology of the younger clergy is not simply about not having physical sex or being unmarried, but rather is a “conscious relinquishment of marriage and the prerogatives of marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of God.”
Mary Hasson, president of the Catholic Women’s Forum, told the Register that the Ruth Institute’s report helps the Church to “better understand what went wrong” and the critical importance of “sound human formation” for the priesthood.
While it is “good news” that the number of abuse cases has dropped, it is a vital reminder that Catholics cannot be any less vigilant or urgent about dealing with the abuse crisis, and there are both adults and children who have been victimized by clergy.
Hasson said she’d like to see the U.S. bishops at their assembly next week in Baltimore give a “demonstration of their resolve” to face the crisis and recommended they implement lay-involved “accountability and transparency” mechanisms, such with the lay review board, so the Church can move forward.
“There’s a wide range of victims,” she said. “We can’t rest until there are none.”