"Inattentive Seductiveness" and Other Silliness

When allegedly celibate men use words and phrases about sex that you’ve never heard, that’s when you know something’s being hidden.

For example, do remember when you first heard the word ‘ephebophilia?’ Chances are it was around 2002. And chances are you heard it used by a Catholic official who was desperately trying to avoid having people think that a priest was a pedophile or a child molester.

(If you don’t know the word, don’t be embarrassed. I’m told it’s not even in the DSM 5. I’ve never heard it used by anyone but a Catholic official or Catholic therapist.)

Example two ---Springfield Illinois Bishop Thomas Paprocki used a phrase I’ve never heard before. It’s “non-sexual self-bondage.” He used it when he put a clearly sexually troubled priest, Fr. Thomas Donovan, back on the job in September 2013.


Example three --- On Friday, Minnesota Public Radio revealed new, long-secret church records involving Fr. Michael Keating of the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis. In those records, here’ how s a high-ranking Catholic official, Fr. Kevin McDonough, called Fr. Keating’s actions: “inattentive seductiveness,” and “an ongoing pattern of irresponsible seductiveness (non-sexual)”



If this kind of hair-splitting and word-parsing and phrase-inventing was being used to protect purse-snatchers or shop-lifters, it might be amusing. But it’s being used to protect “men of God” who are, in theory, celibate but are, in reality, sexually assaulting kids or sexually exploiting adults. So there’s nothing amusing about it. In fact, it’s disturbing because it’s one way Catholic officials deliberately minimize the horror inflicted by clerics on innocent kids and vulnerable adults and then justify keeping these dangerous clerics on the job.

Showing 2 comments

  • Mike Skiendzielewski
    commented 2013-10-22 08:47:03 -0500
    “….He (McDonough) told the archbishop and Eisenzimmer that he had spoken with a nun who had expressed concerns about Keating over the years.

    The “bottom line” to that conversation, McDonough wrote, was that she was certain Keating had never committed a sexual act with any underage girl before or after his ordination.

    “On the other hand, she expressed a great deal of concern about a longstanding pattern of behavior that she knows to have influenced several women, including herself,” McDonough wrote.

    “I proposed to her the phrase ‘inattentive seductiveness’ and she said that she thought that was very accurate,” he wrote…."

    Okay, you make the call…….which of the two is more professional and ethical?………Archdiocesan “investigative skills” or their “child protection skills”? Forget both items, where the hell is the LOGIC?

    In Philadelphia, our leadership uses the phrase “boundary violations” in place of your “inattentive seductiveness”. The rest of the US Catholic faithful understand such conduct as “sexual abuse”.
  • Mike Skiendzielewski
    commented 2013-10-22 08:46:10 -0500
    Jennifer Haselberger, Chancellor of Canonical Affairs

    “However, we also have obligations as Christians and citizens of our communities. When it becomes a question of breaking the law or putting children at risk, I believe the need to maintain the distinction is superseded by a more powerful obligation,” she said. Fr. Kevin McDonough, a former vicar general who served as delegate for safe environment McDonough wrote, Wehmeyer was “not all that interested in an actual sexual encounter, but rather was obtaining some stimulation by ‘playing with fire.’ This sort of behavior would not show up in the workplace.”

    Two points of view regarding “risk” of sexual abuse to children and young adults. Whose understanding and perspective are the parishioners of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul more comfortable with and trust in?

    Michael Skiendzielewski
    Captain (retired)
    Philadelphia Police Dept.

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