"Danger Signs on the Early Path to Priesthood"
Now, just the other day, the prestigious John Jay College of Criminal Justice released its five-year study of the scandal, largely blaming the tenor of times for leading priests astray. Stuff and nonsense, I say!
As I wrote four years ago, I have to believe that the Church’s high-school seminary system played a major role in the scandal. Having attended a Catholic grade-school myself, I can personally attest to how throughout the eighth-grade we were periodically made to meditate on the topic of whether we had vocations. Under that sort of pressure, many a thirteen-year-old boy may have misinterpreted his indifference to girls as the sign of a vocation, only to experience a different sexual awakening in a conveniently cloistered same-sex setting. I would bet that the majority of the priests who preyed upon young boys were products of the high-school seminaries.
No one seems to be looking into this angle. Someone should.
That high-school seminary system now is largely defunct. But the Church has yet to admit that it was a mistake. Perhaps when it does, it will be able to move on.
A poet I otherwise loathe, Robert Browning, in his poem "Fra Lippo Lippi," put it best: "You should not take a fellow eight years old/ And make his swear never to kiss the girls." The age, of course, is different, but the principle remains the same.--EFP