The turmoil of the abuse crisis has made it hard to find or make sense of travesty in the new world shaped by “progressive values.” The recent McCarrick Rport does little to clarify it. A broader look at the cultural movements of the 1960s paints a clearer picture. The problem started with the counterculture revolution’s sexual laxity, with influential figures such as Alfred Kinsey and Michel Foucault advocating that anything, even pedophilia, is a form of liberation. Many in the Church went along with these attitudes. The hierarchy was hesitant to keep that in check because this new culture views morals as completely personal, and it would make them look “homophobic.” Understandably, this scourge is rife in secular society, only they have not come to terms with it. Michel Foucault is still the most influential scholar in all of academia, despite advocating for pedophilia. Many institutions fall prey to it. The Church’s major sin was to let in secular society’s gender theory. The abuse crisis was a penetration of secular ideas into the Church.
The problem started with New Left radicals. Prominent intellectuals such as Kinsey and Foucault argued that pederasty was a form of liberation and that the laws against it were unjust. Kinsey founded the field of sexual studies and claimed, based on “data” from a single pedophile who raped hundreds of people, that children are sexual from as young as two months old. Foucault was a major proponent of a petition to decriminalize all sexual relations between adults and children under fifteen. He argued that it is oppressive to assume that a child cannot give consent, “that a child is incapable of explaining what happened and was incapable of giving his consent are two abuses that are intolerable, quite unacceptable.” Moreover, he maintained, sex with children is actually a great good. Foucault, alongside Sartre and much of the French left-wing intelligentsia, forcefully argued that sex with minors is a form of bodily liberation. Further, they argued that the law and punishment in general is unjust oppression.
These men are incredibly influential. According to a study by the Spanish National Research Council, Foucault is the most widely cited author in academia. Kinsey is lauded as the father of the sexual revolution, and a research institute proudly bears his name and furthers his ideas at Indiana University. They are part of a wider intellectual movement spanning from Rousseau to Schopenhauer to Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche. The travesty of such sexual laxity started with the progressives of the counterculture revolution. Kinsey’s “data” sparked a major change in the law, with sanctions on many sexual crimes reduced or eliminated, especially from the Model Penal Code. A recent Der Spiegel article admits that “it was precisely in so-called progressive circles that an eroticization of childhood and gradual lowering of taboos began.” While secular society is generally in denial, some admit that the problem started with these “progressives.”
These ideas penetrated the Church in the years leading up to the sexual revolution, as they had started to gain prominence in the early part of the twentieth century. According to psychologist W. R. Coulson’s confessions, humanistic psychology encouraged religious to liberate themselves by expressing their desires, even if that meant desires toward children. As Pope Benedict XVI has written, seminaries became lax, with homosexual cliques forming. Homosexual priests would declare, “Despite my vows, I should be able to express my sexuality.” The statistics clearly indicate that this was the cataclysmic event that sparked tremendous abuse, according to the John Jay Report. Although it has always been a problem, instances of abuses increased more than tenfold from the 1950s to the 1970s, when it peaked, before declining back to pre-“revolutionary” levels. Indeed, the vast majority of the instances were of boys, most of whom were postpubescent. These progressive ideals also led to much moral subjectivism, whereby individuals are free to act as they want without fear of judicial punishment. As such, the Church’s punitive side fell by the wayside in favor of lax accommodation. The Church is guilty of letting in ideas from the progressive Left.
Priests of all political stripes would have been affected by this because, even though conservatives were naturally skeptical of these ideas, we are all part of the same communion. Once the door is open, the temptation is open to all. Many conservatives were not equipped with the discipline necessary to resist the new temptations being thrown in their faces. Further, some of the counterculture’s ideas influenced some nontraditional conservatives. The most notorious example is Father Marcial Maciel, who seems to have gone along with the New Left’s sexual ethos under the guise of orthodoxy, setting up his own harem like a pagan chieftain. This is certainly not Catholic tradition.
As a result of the influence of the counterculture, there is excellent evidence that many secular areas are rife with sexual abuse. When cautioned that he should stop having unprotected sex after he became infected with AIDS, Foucault retorted, “To die for the love of young boys, that would be glorious.” Foucault was certainly not the only one indulging in pederasty, as he was part of a wider subculture of free sex, mostly in San Francisco bathhouses. His authority as a top philosophy professor would have certainly helped him rope in many young boys, especially since academics have for more authority than priests in modern society.
Indeed, the discourse in academia makes it seem as if it is rife with sexual abuse. Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, in their book After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the ’90s, advocate that older homosexual men court youth to form father-son relationships consummated with sex. Jeffrey Epstein ran a very extensive child-prostitution ring while the financial and philanthropic communities looked the other way. Many industries throw lavish parties with underage people vying for placement.
Across progressive media, children are lauded as sexual objects, such as Desmond the eleven-year-old “drag queen.” The Der Spiegel article mentioned above describes an afterschool center in Berlin, run by the psychology department of the Free University of Berlin, where sexual abuse was rampant. The climate was so lax that children were routinely engaging in sexual acts with workers and even with their parents. A current member of the European Parliament, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, raved in his memoirs about his sexual encounters with children. He is not the only Green politician to do so. In Germany, authorities recently uncovered an online pedophile network that they believe involves thirty thousand perpetrators, which comes after recent scandals involving hundreds of victims. Sir Jimmy Savile, a famous British radio personality and philanthropist, may have abused hundreds of victims. Operation Gargamel, which started in Belgium, is investigating child abuse in no fewer than forty-four countries. Many of the clergy abuses arose out of connections with these secular abusers.
There are also significant problems in other religions. One of the chief gurus of the Hari Krishnas, Kirtanananda Swami, was convicted of racketeering and found guilty by a tribunal of sexual abuse of minors. He was also indicted for contracting to murder two disciples who threatened to reveal his sexual abuse. Many Zen masters have fallen from grace for sexual abuse, including Eido Roshi and Gempo Roshi. Bikram Yoga has been revealed to be an excuse for a creepy old guru to ogle Western women sweating in their underwear, and to abuse some of them. Many Tibetan llamas, their senior clergy, have been wrapped up in sexual scandal. The Kidwelly sex cult, an Egyptian pagan group, abused many children over decades. A survey found that most of the U.S. churches being hit with child abuse allegations are Protestant.
To put matters in context, over a fifty-year period, there were 6,700 unique allegations of sexual abuse, which includes a broad range of behaviors, against the Catholic Church in the United States. Of those referred to police, priests were charged in about one-third of the cases. A single grooming gang in a single English city, Rotherham, had about 1,400 victims over the course of ten years, according to a British Parliamentary report. This is about three times the number of allegations against the entire Catholic priesthood in the United States during a comparable period. Further, grooming generally progresses much further than the types of abuses included in the John Jay Report. There are other grooming gangs with authorities now estimating as much as twenty thousand victims per year, more than three times as many alleged victims in the entire American Church scandal over a fifty-year period.
The situation is not better in secular institutions. According to a professor of educational administration cited in Education Weekly, “The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.” There are numerous cases of corroborated sexual abuse by educators that were not reported to police, and educational departments have been slow to put in basic countermeasures, such as background checks. The Boy Scouts of America have been inundated with ninety thousand allegations, about fifteen times the number of allegations toward the Church, with most coming in the 1960s, 1970, and 1980s. The U.S. military estimates that ten thousand men, and an equal number of women, are sexually assaulted each year. Although the crude statistical evidence obscures the nature of the problem outside the Church, it makes it abundantly clear that the problem is not limited to the Church.
The fact that the statistical evidence from schools is crude points to a deeper problem. The Church is willing to take a hard look at itself and take action, even if that has been slower than it should have been. Our moral code mandates that we are willing to examine ourselves and take responsibility. This is not the case in almost every other institution. Aside from some isolated media articles, secular society is in total denial. The secular education system has yet to commission something like the John Jay Report. Despite a government institution running the childhood sexuality center described above, no one was prosecuted or even lost their jobs.
Meanwhile, Foucault maintains his position of near-idolization among the liberal intelligentsia, and the Kinsey Institute has refused to release record of his research methods into childhood sexuality. These progressive abusers have gone on to become prominent and This led one abuse victim to declare in Cicero Magazine, “For me, the denial was actually worse than the assault itself…. The [progressives] decided not to give us anything. No truth, no humility.” Secular society is in denial.
There is an active culture of sexual abuse in some areas that has not been held to account. Although the problem is not limited to the Church, the willingness to confront it is. These numbers make clear that the Church is actually ahead of secular society in ridding itself of this malignant symptom of the sexual revolution.