On this day, Bob Dylan turns 70.
Happy Birthday to a great American songwriter, a brilliant poet, the voice of a generation!
It's been a little strange in the last few days to see the efforts some are making to reinterpret the '60s and '70s to suit their own purposes.
The John Jay research group, in its "Findings", page 2, begins with this: "No single 'cause' of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests is identified as a result of our research. Social and cultural changes in the 1960s and 1970s manifested in increased levels of deviant behavior in the general society and also among priests of the Catholic Church in the United States".
That's quite an indictment of the decades in which the civil rights movement, the women's movement, the anti-war movement, the Second Vatican Council, etc., took place. The simplistic denunciation reveals more about the agenda of those who commissioned and financed the study and selected the data to be examined than about the period on which they would like to lay the blame for the sexual abuse of children.
Fortunately, the '60s and '70s are well-documented on film, in literature, and in music. The attempt to pretend the "deviant behavior" of the era included approval of the use of children for sexual purposes has fallen flat and drawn ridicule. Click here for Tony Auth's cartoon.
One way to read the report is to choose a word like "vulnerable" or "identify" and enter it in the search box at the top. Click to "Find next in Current PDF". It becomes clear that the sentence structure, the vocabulary, and the consistent folding of what "vulnerable" priests do in the context of what "nonclergy" do is intended to massage the message and blunt the impact.
On page 66, there is this example: "As is true with nonclergy, some percentage of priests will be vulnerable to sexually abuse children. Although a vulnerability or predisposition may exist in general, this situation does not imply that it is possible to either identify specific 'causes' of the abusive behavior or identify specific individuals who will commit acts of abuse".
Actually, there is one way to "identify" those who "will be vulnerable to sexually abuse children". Give them a polygraph test. Googling "polygraph John Jay" brings up sixty thousand leads, many to expert polygraph examiners who attended the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Many businesses and government agencies require polygraph examinations of all potential employees. Why don't seminaries?
A polygraph examination would be more reliable than the MMPI. A college student applying to be a summer intern at the FBI must take a polygraph examination. Why shouldn't a man applying to be a priest do the same?
(The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.)