There is much that is unimpeachable in George Weigel's look at the John Jay report published at National Review Online.
Still, a couple of items stand out as more than a little objectionable. The first occurs in the very first paragraph in which Weigel writes of "the revelations that began in the Long Lent of 2002." Alas, Mr. Weigel is not an NCR reader, or he would know that the "revelations" began in the mid-1980s, got a big bump in the early 1990s, and only became a tsunami in 2002. Of course, Weigel was still heaping praises upon serial predator Father Marcial Maciel after 2002, so perhaps he did not fully wake up after the 2002 wake-up call.
Weigel also argues that the period of "doctinral and moral confusion" in the Church, which he pinpoints as beginning in the late 1960s and ending prmptly in 1978 with the election of Pope John Paul II, was largely responsible for the crisis. The John Jay study faults the sexual libertinism of the ambient culture as a principal source of the increased number of sex abuse incidents, to be sure. But, Weigel neglects the other half of the equation: Most of the perps were trained at pre-Vatican II seminaries. And, as I have written earlier, I am tired of these slurs against Pope Paul VI and his times.
But, what really irks is Weigel's continued insistence that the issue of pedophilia is linked to homosexuality. My friend Father Jim Martin, S.J. has already noted why the conclusions of the John Jay report on this score cohere with most studies of homosexuality and its relationship to pedophilia: The key reason why 81% of sex abuse crimes were perpetrated against young boys and not against young girls is because male clergy can go into a boys lockeroom, invite alter boys for a sleep-over, and generally find more opportunities for their crimes with boys than with girls. Weigel's willingness to overlook this smacks of willful ignorance and indecency.