4. Debate Swirling Again About Role of 'Lavender Mafia' Within Catholic Ranks
Among Orthodox Catholics, chatter about the "lavender mafia," that is, homosexual networks within the church hierarchy, has started up again, with respected voices saying such networks exist and must be removed.
Writing on her Facebook page August 6, moral theologian Janet E. Smith, who is known for her defense of Humanae Vitae — Pope Paul VI's encyclical rejecting contraception and other issues pertaining to human life — weighed in on the sexual abuse crises, arguing that people are mistaken to think that if a few people are fired everything will improve.
"The deeper problem is the presence of homosexual networks in the Church — likely in dioceses all over the world and certainly in the Curia. Yes, there are lots of other immoral behaviors — adultery, greed, luxuriousness, clericalism and substance abuse, for instance, that need to be addressed but first things first. Eradicating the homosexual networks from the Church would do a lot to purging the Church of immoral priests — and doing so should help us get at the other problems," she said.
Smith told the The National Catholic Register Tuesday that she is convinced such networks are present in almost every diocese and control some dioceses, and that it must the "highest priority" for bishops to eradicate them.
Father D. Paul Sullins, an ordained priest and retired professor of sociology at the Catholic University of America, concurs that a homosexual subculture is partly to blame for much of the abuse, noting in an interview with The Ruth Institute Saturday that the recent swirl around McCarrick is mostly about abuse of adult male seminarians. Those types of cases were "not even considered in the responses to the 2002 [Catholic church sex abuse] scandal, which was about the criminal abuse of minors," he said.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned two separate reports about the 2002 scandals, both of which found that "over 80% of the victims were neither girls, nor pre-pubescent children (true pedophilia), but pre-teen and teenage boys. These results clearly indicate that the problem was male on male predation by priests against under-aged boys."