The next gathering of the U.S. Catholic bishops is only days away.
Obviously, the topic of clergy sexual abuse of teens and children is going to get lots and lots of attention from the press. There is the outside chance that the bishops may also talk — thinking about Theodore “Uncle Ted” McCarrick about the abuse of seminarians and young priests by those who have power over them.
Thus, reporters are looking for stories right now — new information about these issues to serve as background for what is ahead.
So, the other day I sent a URL to some Catholics in journalism. The massive double-decker headline proclaims:
Is Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse Related to Homosexual Priests?
An interview with sociologist Father Paul Sullins, whose new study documents a strong linkage between the incidence of abuse and homosexuality in the priesthood and in seminaries.
One reporter’s reply went something like this: I predict this study will not be covered by The New York Times.
That’s a #DUH comment. For starters, check out this conservative priest’s mini-bio at The Ruth Institute. Spot any landmines?
Dr. Paul Sullins has a Ph.D. in sociology and is recently retired from teaching at the Catholic University of America. He is a married Catholic priest, and has written a book on that subject, Keeping the Vow: The Untold Story of Married Catholic Priests.
My question here is not whether this sociologist’s study — combining material from several different sources — is beyond debate. I am well aware that many Catholics will debate his conclusions.
That’s my point. The question is whether this study deserves mainstream press overage AND DEBATE.