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Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal Blamed on Hippies and Gays

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Like everything else, the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal is the fault of hippies and gays, according to some people desperate to blame anyone but the cowardly, patriarchal Catholic leadership that maintained a massive cover up for decades while shuttling pedophile priests from church to church.

Ross Douthat, demonstrating the conservative reverence for personal accountability, puts lots of the blame elsewhere: namely, on the culturewide moral permissiveness wrought by the sex-crazed hippies of the 60s and 70s. "The permissive sexual culture that prevailed everywhere, seminaries included, during the silly season of the ’70s deserves a share of the blame, as does that era’s overemphasis on therapy," says Douthat.

How does the brightest light of young intellectual conservatism back that bold claim? In that particular column he doesn't at all; in a follow up post he tries to, poorly, by citing a report that says abuse cases of boys 11-17 peaked in the 1960s and 70s, and diminished in 1980 (that's when Reagan became President and chased all the pedophiles back to Russia).

Douthat says that because the abuse of boys 11-17 rose during that time, while abuse of girls or boys under 11 stayed constant, the sexual revolution is to blame. That's a pretty wild jump in logic. If thoughtless, hedonistic sexual permissiveness (what the Church is known for, of course) spurred sexual abuse, why wouldn't all types of abuse increase? Also, things got pretty crazy in the 70s, but sex with 11 year olds was never deemed a lifestyle choice. Isn't it more likely that boys coming of age in the 60s and 70s, reared in a more open culture, were more likely to come forward as adults? Douthat brings that up, then discounts this far more reasonable possibility because ... because .... because the baby boomers ruined America, damn it!

Meanwhile, Think Progress reports the Catholic Leugue ran an ad in the New York Times that, in addition to lamenting that the paper unfairly went "for the Vatican jugular," claims the abuse scandal is not a crisis of pedophilia, but of homosexuality. "The Times continues to editorialize about the "pedophilia crisis" when all along it's been a homosexual crisis. Eighty percent of the victims of priestly sexual abuse are male and most of them are post-pubescent. While homosexuality does not cause predatory behavior, and most gay priests are not child molesters, most of the molesters have been gay."

As Igor Volsky points out (Ross Douthat, you should probably listen up as well) abuse and sexuality are very different things:

In reality, pedophilia has little to do with the gender of the child  or the orientation of the molester; pedophiles are attracted to youth and control. “ Accessibility is more the factor in who a pedophile abuses,” psychotherapist Joe Kort writes. “This may explain the high incidence of children molested in church communities and fraternal organizations, where the pedophile may more easily have access to children.”

But clearly all this is the fault of the 1970s and the gays.