Saint Theresa Parish

A Roman Catholic Community
5045 E. Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018
(602) 840-0850 Parish Office
(602) 840-0871 Parish Fax  

Parish Email info@sttheresaphx.org

Parish Office Hours
Monday through Thursday
9:00AM-Noon & 1:00PM-5:00PM
Friday 9:00AM-Noon          Sunday 8:30AM-12:30PM

Closed Saturdays
& most Federal Holidays.

Liturgy Schedule
Saturday Vigil Mass 4PM
Sunday Masses
7:30AM
9:00AM (Liturgy with Children)
11:00AM and
5:00PM (Teen and Young Adult)

Daily Masses
Monday through Friday
6:30AM and Saturday at 8:00AM
Holy Day Masses as announced in bulletin prior to the Holy Day.

Sacrament of Reconciliation
(Confession)
Saturday, 9:00AM to 10:00AM
Wednesday, 5:00PM to 6:00PM and by appointment

Pastor

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Parochial Vicar 

(Associate Pastor)

Rev. Joachim Adeyemi

Rev. J.C. Ortiz

Assisting Priest

Rev. Paul Peri

Deacons

Colin F. Campbell

Mark Kriese

Ralph Ulibarri

 

Saint Theresa Catholic School
5001 East Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018

www.stcs.us

(602) 840-0010 School Office
(602) 840-8323 School Fax

 

 

Administration
« Reflections - November 11, 2018 | Main | Reflections - October 28, 2018 »
Thursday
Nov012018

Reflections - November 4, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

Recently, a parishioner who had attended our Evening of Prayer and Discussion regarding the current crises in the Church and listened to my follow-up homily sent me a copy of an article that focused on the supposed role of an abuser’s sexual orientation in crime of abuse in the Church.  Specifically, the author of the article surmised that the abusers were largely homosexual, since the clergy abuse had occurred primarily with other males.  The solution to the abuse?  Don’t ordain anyone with a homosexual orientation.  As a priest who served for over six years as Diocesan Vocation Director, responsible for the recruitment and training of seminarians, I can say that the author’s proposed solution is about as logical as only ordaining brown-eyed men.

Whatever one’s orientation might be, a critical aspect in the recruitment and formation process for priests is the man’s psycho-sexual and emotional maturity.  Overwhelmingly, the number of priests (homosexually or heterosexually oriented) who successfully live their commitment to celibacy far outweigh those who struggle with that commitment.  Maintaining healthy, loving relationships with members of both sexes and keeping appropriate boundaries are marks of psychosexual and emotional maturity – and these are important factors in maintaining a successful commitment to fidelity in marriage or in celibacy, along with an openness to God’s grace.  Further, any attempt to link homosexual orientation to pedophilia is statistically disproven in a number of studies – in fact, most abusers are married men.

So why have most of the victims of clergy sexual abuse been males?  Likely a few reasons: first, the peak years of clergy sexual abuse, according to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, were between 1970 and 1979.  Incidents of abuse began to steeply decline beginning in the 1980’s.  The most common decade of birth of the abusing priests was the 1930’s.  The average year of ordination for abusers was 1961.  Back in those days, what groups of young people did priests have most access to?  Altar servers, Boy Scouts, boys who had jobs around the parish, to name a few.  In those days, if a priest took a group of boys on a camping trip, no one would have a second thought.  If he took a group of girls… well, that wouldn’t happen.  It might be worth mentioning here, too, that most crimes of sexual violence are more about the abuser exercising power/dominance over the victim and are often opportunistic… rather than being motivated by sexual gratification.  Based on the substantial number of studies I’ve read, the key factors noted regarding the typical clergy abuser were: a sense of power, domination and the notion that he could “get away with it” (clericalism) as well as a lack of psycho-sexual and emotional maturity: many, if not most, of these abusers had stunted emotional growth.    

Thankfully, the screening and seminary formation of candidates for ordination has radically evolved since the mid-1970’s… helping men build upon healthy attitudes toward sexuality, intimacy, emotional maturity – with the goal of ordaining men who have the capacity to live their celibacy as fulfilled and well-balanced ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This goal is just as achievable with men with homosexual orientation as it is with men of heterosexual orientation. 

I’m happy to say that the great majority of priests that I’ve known and worked with have been well-formed to live healthy, holy and productive lives as celibate priests – no matter what their sexual orientation might be.  Of course, any group of human beings (whether celibate or married) will have those few who are not 100% successful in being faithful to their vows.  The sexual abuse of children or young people, though, has far more to do with the abuser’s level of psycho-sexual and emotional maturity than anything else – including his or her sexual orientation.  

 

Grace and peace in Christ,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Pastor