National Catholic Register
[note: This article has been removed from the Register web site.]
by JOHN BURGER
It’s been 25 years since Father Benedict Groeschel and seven other friars broke away from their Capuchin communities and formed what would come to be known as the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Their growth as a community of priests and brothers has been impressive — both in the numbers of young men joining them and the number of friaries they have begun in the New York metropolitan area, other states and other countries.
Wearing a gray habit fashioned after the Capuchin robe with cowl, the friars have become a common sight not only on the streets of poor neighborhoods from the Bronx to Honduras to inner-city London, but also at religious conferences and pro-life events.
Father Benedict, 78, who has been in religious life since he was a teenager, has also become a high-profile author and much-in-demand speaker throughout the world. …
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?
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