Sunday, August 27, 2017

It isn't just the Catholic Church that needs to come to grips with priest misconduct

With millions (maybe billions) of people around the globe under threat by that nut-job that millions of other nut-jobs elected president, this past weekend's USA Today saw fit to print on its front page yet another "expose" of the sex abuse issue in the Roman Catholic Church's priesthood, reporting that

In May 2003, Thomas O’Brien, then bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, admitted to sheltering at least 50 priests accused of sexual abuse, often shuffling them around to parishes across the state.

O'Brien's admission, released under an agreement with the county attorney, acknowledged he "allowed Roman Catholic priests under my supervision to work with minors after becoming aware of allegations of sexual misconduct."

Now, there are several facts about this that seems to have become lost in the blanket condemnation of the Church. One is that most (if not nearly all) of the victims of this “misconduct” are young males. Another is that despite the fact that priests are supposed to take a vow of celibacy, priests die at twice the rate from AIDS than the males in general, which of course brings into question the practice of “celibacy.” According to a story this very year in Slate, the priesthood is an attractive occupation for some gay men who otherwise feel alienated by the Church’s official stance on their lifestyle, since

Sexual sublimation is by far the most common theory in the literature as to why there are so many gay priests. There has also been speculation that as a discriminated-against minority group, gay men may be more sensitive to empathize with people—a strong desire to help others leads some of these men to the altruistic priesthood. Another common theme is that clerical celibacy is good cover for gay people wanting to hide their orientation.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board reported that “certain homosexual men appear to have been attracted to the priesthood because they mistakenly viewed the requirement of celibacy as a means of avoiding struggles with their sexual identities.” As gay former-priest Christopher Schiavone put it, “I thought I would never need to tell another person my secret, because celibacy would make it irrelevant.”

The upper echelons of the Church hierarchy are of course concerned that in time the Catholic priesthood will be seen wholly as a sanctuary for gay men, but this should hardly be an issue of concern so long as these priests legitimately believe in what the represent. But as by the media in general, Slate fails to speak to the uncomfortable fact that especially the “liberal” media finds too hot to the touch: that a few priests have found “celibacy” difficult, and have succumbed to unholy desire—and the victims of this “misconduct (mainly in the form of pedophilia),” and the perpetrators—are almost wholly of the same gender, and what that means. 

Most in the media fear to discuss the obvious, since the LGBTQ community is seen as “victim” class and it is feared to perpetrate negative stereotypes. Yet if sexual misconduct in the priesthood is in the “epidemic” stage, then it is irresponsible on the part of the media not to discuss the link, and it is equally irresponsible of the LGBTQ community to pretend it doesn’t exist and how to bring it under control. The Church also must come to grips with the fact that if an estimated 28 percent of priests are gay, it cannot simply pretend that they don’t have the potential for “problems” and not attempt to weed-out candidates for the priesthood who may not be able to “adjust” to the celibacy.  Just as in the issue of domestic violence, the problem won’t go away if you ignore the other side of the equation, just because if doing so “harms” the politically-correct narrative of victimhood that will not abide “company.”

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