Priest Says Teenage Abuse Victims Can Be Seducers

Father Groeschel apologizes, blames old age, poor health for comments
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2012 9:22 AM CDT
Priest Says Teenage Abuse Victims Can Be Seducers
Rev. Benedict Groeschel quickly apologized after an interview he gave with the National Catholic Register made it appear he was blaming "youngsters" for being abused by priests.   (DomesticChurchMedia)

This inevitably wasn't going to end well: In an interview given earlier this week, a high-profile Roman Catholic leader said that the "youngsters" who are sexually abused by priests are often the instigators, and that priests who are first-time offenders should not go to prison, reports the New York Times. "Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him," said Father Benedict Groeschel. "A lot of the cases, the youngster—14, 16, 18—is the seducer."

Groeschel, 79, is a founder of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, a conservative priestly order based in New York, and for 38 years has been a counselor for troubled priests. His remarks were published Monday by the National Catholic Register, but were taken down yesterday and replaced with an apology. “I did not intend to blame the victim,” wrote Father Groeschel in a statement published on the Catholic Register’s site. "A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be." (Read more Benedict Groeschel stories.)

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