March 31, 2010

The other day I wrote a rather harsh condemnation of the Episcopal Church following a visit to one of their parishes in the Greater-Boston area. Today, just to show The Great White Shank don’t play no favorites, I’d like to say a few words regarding the Roman Catholic Church and its role and response regarding the latest allegations of priest abuse sweeping across the European continent.

First of all, let’s get something understood. In all of their Catholic and organized religion bashing (Islam excepted, of course) that the mainstream dino-media seems to take extraordinary delight in whenever news of another scandal of this sort hits the wires, what you’ll never hear is the fact that the vast majority of the perpetrators are, for the most part, gay pedophiles.

Given everything we know about the initial scandals that hit the U.S. a decade ago it is an undeniable fact that Roman Catholic seminaries from the mid ’60s through the early ’80s were a haven for gay men attracted to the power, privilege, and opportunity to live out their darkest fantasies through the Roman Catholic priesthood. During those decades, the gay community, being closeted as it was then, was a (relatively speaking) small world where word could get around fairly easily. Communication being what it was in those pre-Internet, pre-7×24 cable days, it was through word of mouth that gay men with pedophile tendencies were drawn to the power and prestige of the priesthood like moths to a porch light.

Equally important, you had a rigidly institutional Church that, for a variety of reasons both moral and sociological, was slow to recognize and respond to the kind of people it was accepting to its seminaries and ordaining as priests. Not to mention a power structure where it was easier to simply shift misbehaving religious around rather than subject them to discipline or, worse yet, make waves with the church hierarchy and/or the Vatican.

Taking all of these dynamics together, you had a powderkeg just waiting to be lit. And when the fuse was lit through a variety of equally strong dynamics: the stigma associated with sexual abuse becoming less so as a by-product of the sexual revolution, the Church slowly being seen as less imposing with the increase of secularism, and the rapid expansion of our media culture, the curtains slowly came down to reveal a Church that had failed miserably when it came to disciplining and expelling problem priests it knew to be a problem.

I write this only because it is important to understand that, with less than four weeks to go before I am received into the Roman Catholic faith, I do so with eyes wide open. I know there is no perfect Church on this earth; I am equally convinced that Satan is doing whatever he can to destroy the Church as it exists. Therefore, with all this in mind, I hold the following to be true:

1. While some people have a difficult time separating the Roman Catholic “faith” – i.e., its traditions, beliefs, and teachings, from the Roman Catholic “church” – i.e., the worldly institution, I do not. It would be a grevious mistake to toss what I believe to be the vast majority of priests – gay or otherwise – who have devoted their lives to the Church and its mission into the category of sexual abusers. The Church and its religious have done far more works that have benefited humankind in the long run than have brought harm to it.

2. Regardless of what the Catholic-bashing mainstream dino-media will infer, the sexual abuse of children in the world of religion is not restricted to the Catholic Church, nor has it ever been. I would also go so far to say that that so-called “religion of peace” called Islam does far more harm to young people, especially women, than anything the Roman Catholic Church has ever done.

3. That being said, there should be rigid enforcement of a “no tolerance” rule against any religious who has been proven to have sexually abused any child. I stress “proven” recognizing that, while one should always err on side of caution in these kinds of things, one needs to be very careful when charges are made against anyone due to the incindiary effect they bring, and that charges made out of malice, even if proven false, can destroy the lives of innocent people.

4. I don’t care if it’s a priest, a bishop, a cardinal, or the Pope himself – anyone who is found to have either sexually abused a child or protected someone who has done so in any way should be removed from their position and forced to face charges in a judicial court of law. This is where, I think, the Church has greviously made mistakes that must never be allowed to happen again. Boston’s Cardinal Law should be rotting in a jail cell right now for the crimes he committed while Archbishop of Boston; the fact he was hustled to Rome and given a cushy job to avoid U.S. prosecution is unconscionable.

5. The systematic abuse of children is, and will forever be, a stain on the Catholic Church. The Church cannot ever fully make good to those who have been the subject of abuse by those who irrevocably broke their vows to love and serve Christ as He loves us. Not only did they break laws and destro people’s lives, but, perhaps more importantly, they broke the trust. What the Church can do, however, is take whatever steps are necessary to ensure this kind of thing never happens again, and if it does, punish to the greatest extent possible those who do.

In less than four weeks I will become a Roman Catholic, and I’m looking forward to it. I love the Church, its sacraments, and the way it has upheld the traditional teachings of the Christianity for more than two thousand years in the face of every conceivable kind of threat. Now the Church faces, perhaps, its greatest threat – its very integrity and the greatest need for humility in the face of the crimes it has committed and the mistakes it has made. The extent of its ability to face up to its past actions, to try and make amends wherever possible, and to do what it can to ensure these things are never allowed to happen again will determine whether the Church I am about to devote my life to is able to survive this great challenge that lies before it.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 18:56 | Comments (4)
  1. I’d like to correct something here…a pedophile needn’t be gay to be attracted to boys. A true pedophile sees a child, whether girl or boy, not as a child but an object of their sexual desire. There really isn’t enough information to support the “gay pedophile” belief but there is plenty known about the sexual behaviors and desires of true pedophiles. Pedophiles can be age specific, appearance specific, etc. In the 20 plus years I have been a therapist, I have not run across a “gay pedophile”…gay men are attracted to gay MEN and not necessarily boys unless they are a true pedophile. Pedophelia in the gay communities is quite rare. And that is all I have to say on the subject.

    Comment by Jana — April 1, 2010 @ 5:04 am

  2. The pedophilia is alarming enough, GWS. What has the media and general public really worked up is how the Catholic Church dealt with it. What concerns me is I’ve only heard about a handful of the noisiest cases. How many quieter ones are there?

    BTW, I was raised Catholic. Went to Catholic schools from kindergarten all the way through high school. They do themselves a grave disservice in my eyes by defending themselves stating they’re no worse than other religions or or that the incidence of pedophilia is no higher in the priesthood than the general population as our local archbishop did the other day.

    Comment by Rob — April 1, 2010 @ 8:12 am

  3. Boy…and church is supposed to be safe place…paralleling it with how it is not safe outside the church should bring parishoners in droves….OUT THE DOOR!!!

    Minimizing sexual abuse regardless of where it takes place is criminal and does nothing to protect the innocent victims. Shame on the archbishop.

    Comment by Jana — April 1, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

  4. Thanks for the comments Jana and Rob. It’s hard to bsay whether the Church accurately reflects our modern society and culture, or vice-versa. Either way, we live in a soul-sick culture where the most vulnerable are preyed upon, whether it be in the churches, in homes or in schools. The one thing the Christian faith offers is grace and redemption, and I’m a firm believer in both.

    For any archbishop to casually cast aside the decades of abuse and the ignoring of abuse by the Roman Catholic Church shows an incredible insensitivity to the issue. I don’t know if pedophilia is more or less prevalent in the Church than in secular society, that’snot the point. The point is, the Church as a religious institution and (supposedly) a caretaker of souls and certain moral teachings, should hold itself to a much higher bar. The only way it will change is from within. It is,and will be, an agonizingly slow process, but I believe that that archbishop is in a minority. At least I pray and hope so.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — April 1, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

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