Quite the dust up over an interview with Fr. Groeschel at the National Catholic Register.
There's plenty of commentary out in cyberspace on Fr. Groeschel's comments that to me, lacks truth and understanding.
Yes, sometimes a 13 year old who has been starved for love and attention will misunderstand the attention given to him from a teacher, priest, coach just about the time when their libido kicks in. They lack boundaries because they are in desperate need for affection and love. A mother/father/grandparent or guardian of a child is blessed with the job of nurturing emotions and sexuality. When that is not happening at home, when the child is left without context to understand and discipline - all kinds of things go awry. One of them is, any kind of affection can set off their libido and the relationship of a teacher, coach, priest, etc.
Crushes on teachers, coaches have been happening for centuries.
What was missing in the context of Fr. Groeschel's statements is that normal adults do not respond or do whatever it takes to tuck the situation back in, including removing oneself from direct contact with the child, if necessary.
If you note, Fr. Groeschel explains that in some situations when the priest is screwed up himself - I think he uses the example of a breakdown - the emotions and sexuality of the priest can be disordered. Consequently, rather than the things a normal adult does to put safeguards and boundaries in place, the child is taken advantage of and sexually abused.
While trying to explain this phenomenon, "seducer" was not a very good word for it.
He goes on to opine that perhaps, under the circumstances where the adult has had some kind of breakdown himself, there are some first instances of inappropriate sexual touching of a child may not always require sending the person to a penitentiary.
I'd say as a mother, if it were my child, any kind of groping or sexual touching by an adult, the police would be and should be callws. Obviously we know a person who does this is sick in the head. Could there ever be a situation where after evaluation, there is a course of treatment for a first time offender that wouldn't include jail time?
Maybe. But if the story gels and the priest gets convicted, he should be tagged and treated as a sex offender, so everyone in the community knows where he lives and what he at one time was capable of doing. It's not something normal adults do when they are stressed out. Something is missing in the hat rack.
It is not uncommon for a psychologist to have empathy for all kinds of sick people, even if and when they do something criminal, like abuse a child.
It was irresponsible for the 'interviewer' and editors at the National Catholic Register to, 1) not ask the right questions to get Fr. Groeschel to clarify, and 2) publish the thing.
It's one thing for the secular press to exploit something a Catholic says that obviously needed context and clarification. It's another thing for a Catholic newspaper to scandalize Fr. Groeschel, the faithful.
Increasingly, we are finding things published at the Register that show a lack of understanding of the Catholic religion and/or poor judgment. Don't know what it is, but there's a problem at the helm. You can't just throw articles from good journalists and writers into a Catholic newspaper. In addition to the talents of a journalist, the editing and publishing crew has to be on their game spiritually and have a deep understanding of the Catholic religion - and the faithful. They need to be seasoned and wise.
I don't know what is going on at EWTN, but they need to tighten up their newspaper.