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Prominent Catholic Priest Says Sex Abuse Scandal Victims May Have ‘Seduced’ Priests

Rev. Benedict Groeschel

A decade after the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal rocked the foundations of the church and blighted its public image, Rev. Benedict Groeschel, a prominent priest and TV personality, has made a controversial statement about the sex abuse scandal.

According to the high-profile clergyman, the priests may have not been entirely to blame for the sex abuse that brought the Church to its knees and sparked a wave of lawsuits brought by victims that had suffered the abuse in silence for years before the scandal came to light.

Rev. Groeschel explains that he believes the abuse did not occur in a vacuum, and that the children and teens at the center of the scandal may have come from broken or imperfect homes and, in a sense, manipulated the priests who were accused in the scandal broken by the Boston Globe a decade ago.

Groeschel describes how the blame for the scandal, he believes, might not lie entirely with the accused priests in the National Catholic Registrar:

“People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath … But that’s not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.”

Groeschel added:

“If you go back 10 or 15 years ago with different sexual difficulties — except for rape or violence — it was very rarely brought as a civil crime.”

Rev. Benedict Groeschel

“Nobody thought of it that way… And I’m inclined to think, on [a priest's] first offense, they should not go to jail because their intention was not committing a crime.”

Do you think the comments excusing the abusers in the scandal will unravel some of the forgiveness the Catholic Church has obtained since the scandal broke?

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