The Sauvé report has clearly shown three things: the massiveness of the phenomenon of sexual abuse of minors in society, its prevalence in the Church and the fact that, in the latter, 80% of the victims are boys, often aged between 10 and 10. 13 years old, whereas it is the reverse in the rest of society (70% of girls, rather from 15 to 17). However, as we have commented extensively on the first two facts, so far the third has remained in the shadows. What emerges however well from the report, it is the prevalence in the Church, among the abusers, of a form of pedophile and ephébophile homosexuality, which one formerly called “pederasty”. It was already well identified, in the years 1950-1960, by psychiatrists or specialists in the problem in the Church. The report confirms the phenomenon, but one has the impression that he hesitates a little to think so.
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The problem is sensitive because it draws attention to two other embarrassing facts: the prevalence of homosexual recruitment into the clergy, on the one hand, and the over-representation of same-sex relations among the abuses recorded, including in the general population. , the other. The report does not calculate the latter rate, but it can be done in its place: it is probably around 30%. We see the disproportion in relation to the probable share added to homosexuality and bisexuality in the global society.
What is the reason for this correlation
There is therefore a correlation between homosexuality and pedophilia, especially in the Church, which does not mean, of course, a direct causal link.
What can she hold on to? If one reads the report, one sees appearing, in dispersed order, three possible explanations of the phenomenon which are not exclusive.
In the first place, what he calls an opportunity effect, that is to say the fact that, until recently, clerics, in parishes, schools, youth movements, were mainly in contact with male children. In this hypothesis, it is the occasion, that is to say the possibilities of predation, which fixes the pedophilic drive on one sex rather than another. The thing may seem surprising from a psychological point of view but it is, it seems, well attested.
Secondly, a training effect linked in particular to the domination, until the 1960s, of the sector of small and large seminaries (or novitiates for the regular clergy). At the beginning of the 1960s still, three quarters of the French clergy came from child vocations discerned early and maintained until ordination by a very enveloping education. Homophile tendencies have been underlined. The disappearance of this sector, in the years 1960-1970, undoubtedly helps to explain why the ecclesial prevalence of the phenomenon, very clear before this date, is much less so thereafter.
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In third place, recruitment bias linked to the obligation of ecclesiastical celibacy, a problem that, curiously, the report neglects, under the pretext that most of the abuses in society come from families. It is to miss their ecclesial specificity. The historiography of the subject has however long suggested that this obligation had objectively functioned in the long term as a paradoxical bonus to homosexual recruitment, and therefore also, probably, to this small contingent of pedophiles among them who did a lot of damage. Here the Sauvé report bridges the gap, despite itself, with Frédéric Martel’s book, Sodoma, which hit the headlines in 2019. We do not have official figures on the proportion of homosexuals in the clergy, but those who circulate in voiceover are very high.
This brings us back to the problem of the so-called “systemic” nature of sexual abuse in the Church. The term is used several times in the report without ever being precisely defined. However, we can clearly see what could have constituted this “systemicity”.
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The massiveness and prevalence of the phenomenon are not enough, otherwise it would also be systemic in families. That of coverage of abuse is most evident, as are, for a long time, the disastrous policies that have consisted of displacing abusers. But one can wonder if the “system” does not also come to be lodged in certain factors generating abuses, some more extrinsic, which facilitate the passage to the act, others more intrinsic, which explain the perversion itself. same. The question of the obligation of ecclesiastical celibacy seems to me, from this point of view, to be one of these factors, along with others that the report more readily points out: clericalism, abuse of authority and conscience, certain forms of misguided spirituality, male domination, the insufficient place of the laity, etc.
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Make no mistake about the meaning of my point. It is in no way for me, by drawing attention to this scabrous aspect of the case, to bring back by the gang the infamous assimilations of formerly between homosexuality and pedophilia. While most pedophiles in the Church are homosexual, the reverse is obviously not true. We can understand, from this point of view, the reasons which may have prompted the drafters of the report to be very discreet on the subject. But they are, in my opinion, ill-inspired, because we never have an interest in repressing a problem or refusing to think about it, except to see it return in polemical or tendentious forms, which it was. precisely to avoid.