It’s About Power

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August 20, 2018 by lucieromarin

In the wake of the latest clergy scandal, theories abound. They all fall short. Those who blame religion and/or celibacy forget that the world is full of religious and celibate people who are not abusing anyone, that every victim of incest is the victim of a man who had sex with a woman when he made her, and that the less-widely-reported scandals around the world, from the Parramatta Girls Home to the BBC, involved the cover-up of crimes committed by married men. At the same time, those who blame liberalism and/or homosexuality forget that the world is full of liberal and homosexual people who aren’t abusing anyone. They also forget that some victims were girls.

In other words, everyone looks to sexuality for an answer – is it gayness, or straightness or celibacy or unhappy marriage etc? No one asks about power, and I’ve begun to realise that for some people, these crimes are only considered as such because the victims were boys or young men. And because the crimes are seen only in the light of sex, and not in the light of power, the ill-treatment of girls goes unseen.

In my own case, the girl in question – visit the Backstory tab if you don’t know who I mean – was younger than any of the Newark seminarians when she first began having her spiritual director’s babies.  She had been taught, from at least the age of fifteen, to obey him in detail as minute as how many sit-ups per day she had to perform. If a priest had groomed an indifferently-educated, unemployed, estranged-from-family fifteen-year-old boy in the same way and had begun sexual relations with the boy once he reached the age of nineteen, that priest would now be imprisoned. As his object was a girl, nothing that he did before her ‘consent’ was considered abusive. Not only was it not abusive, it was a fit beginning to marriage, and to further employment as a chaplain.

My director taught me to look to power – not sexuality, not religion, and not his married-or-unmarried state – as the heart of the predator’s behaviour. You name a community, you can find a sociopath in it. Yes, different institutions enable different clusters, so Newark got the gay molesting priests, while Westminster got the straight molesting politicians, and Thailand gets the bisexual molesting tourists. But if you look at all the clusters, you start to see that there is no profile. Predators have only two things in common. The first is an addiction to power and control. The second is that they think this is okay. They really, truly, feel entitled to it.

Some propose holiness as the solution. I suppose it is so, but my spiritual director is proof that orthodoxy is no guarantee of holiness, and, that orthodoxy, in fact, makes no difference at all to a man addicted to power and control. As such, his alleged orthodoxy should not be grounds for excusing, overlooking or enabling his addiction. That a doctrinally-orthodox priest says Mass and hears confessions while betraying his office does not lessen the degree of his betrayal. It only adds the sin of sacrilege to the existing scandal.


In the secular world, girls as young as any of the clergy-victims, are, right now, being sold by their own fathers on Craigslist. Where is the outcry?

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