His defenders are saying that Groeschel is senile – he may be, but he is still saying what he said ten years ago:
That priests are the victims, and should not go to jail, because they didn’t “intend to commit a crime.” (Few people say to themselves, “I think I will go out and commit a crime – let’s see, what shall it be, rape, mugging, arson?” They want to do something specific – have sex, hurt someone, steal money – not just “commit a crime.”) A “lot” of the priests shave been seduced by older teenagers – that is what pederasts claim: the kids enjoy the sex.
In one case in a thousand the victim may have deliberately initiated the process that led to sex, but most of the time priests made the first moves, and teenagers, especially boys, being highly excitable sexual creatures, may have responded from curiosity. They may have felt the pleasurable sexual physical sensations mixed with guilt and shame and disorientation.
It is the adult’s responsibility to control the situation even if a child or teenager deliberately or inadvertently makes a sexual move.
Groeschel is a clericalist who cannot image that priests can be wicked, despite all the evidence to the contrary. He has to see priests abusers as in some ways the victims.
In the deepest sense, the sinner hurts himself more than he can hurt his victim. The criminal poisons his own soul with a sickness unto eternal death, and is even more to be pitied than the victim. But that is not is what Groeshel is saying – he is seeing mitigations and making excuses.
Groeschel was imprudent s saying what he thought – his interviewer and the editor of the National catholic Register saw nothing wrong with his ideas, and those ideas are still present in the hierarchy. Their lawyers have taught bishops to say things that make them sound like human beings who are horrified by the abuse and feel the deepest compassion for both the victim and the criminal who has condemned himself to hell. But bishops don’t really believe all that stuff – the soul of the Church is money, and the Pope has appointed bishops to keep the money flowing from the laity to build up the institutions that allow bishops to think of themselves at Big Men and the Pope to think of himself as a World Player. Little has changed since Langland decried in Piers Plowman the rule of Lady Meede in the medieval Church.