Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Quote of the Day

The failure of the Roman Catholic hierarchy to contemplate that maybe there is something about the church and the priesthood itself that breeds the sickness of pedophilia is exasperating in the extreme. The easy answer they prefer, that it is cultural permissiveness about sexuality that fosters the sexual abuse of children, is so lacking in insight and rich in smug self-regard that it makes me nearly apopleptic. The idea that mastery of a sexual life might be what guards against the trends that end in sexual abuse of children is so far from their comprehension that I hold little hope of their arriving at a position of moral wisdom on this subject, at least in my lifetime. They are as bought-in as a group of people can be to their doctrine that sexuality is sinful unless it is subordinate to procreation. And it is precisely this equation of all other aspects of sexuality, however they might be viewed by the rest of “the secular world” as opposites, as optimal and healthy on one end of the scale and deranged and perverse at the other, that disables their moral reasoning on the subject of sex.

I think it also attracts the pedophilic character structure to the priesthood. If you know, deep in your heart, that your sexual and interpersonal reality is one that successful, actualized adults view as twisted and insufferable, then the twin enticements of the priesthood are these: the elusive ideal of chastity is seen as superior to a sexually expressive relationship between adults, and the intention to fulfill or attain it, even if doomed to occasional or frequent or, as we have seen, compulsive lapses, provides a balm of superiority to the battered self-esteem of the emotionally-hobbled pedophile. And the doctrine that all non-procreative acts are equally or at least similarly in violation of natural law, the view that enables Father Gabriele Amorth to think of child seduction or rape as “giving into temptation” instead of acts of an entirely other order, likewise appeals to the fractured vanity of the pedophile, who can feel he’s no worse than all the fornicating, contraception-using, masturbating masses, and maybe even a step above them, as he has worn the cloak of priestly virtues in at least some traditional respects, comforting the bereaved, preaching charity, forgoing personal wealth, stifling the impulse to petty gossip, and the like.

– R. S. Hoffman
Listening to Prozac, Listening to Pedophilia
View from My Window
April 26, 2010


PrickliestPear said...

That was one of the best things I've read about the sex abuse crisis, a refreshing gust of sanity, well worth sharing with others.

I hadn't thought about it before, but it's very easy to see how a priest who has bought into the black and white sexual morality pushed by the magisterium might use the confessions of other sexual "sins" that they probably hear quite regularly to justify their own abusive acts. After all, what's the difference between masturbation, contraceptive use, pre-marital, and homosexual acts on the one hand, and the sexual abuse of minors on the other, when all are put into the same category of "mortal sins" in official Catholic teaching?

(BTW, the blog this is from is actually called "View from my Windrow." I'm not sure why it's spelled that way.)

Michael J. Bayly said...

Thanks for your comment, Prickliest Pear!



Phillip Clark said...

I agree wholeheartedly! Only until the leaders of the Church have the courage to pose the---question: is celibacy part of the problem rather than the solution?---will the universal Church continue to be afflicted with this depraved expressions of a supressed sexuality which--as evidence shows---could have greatly been prevented by a large extent of celibacy was not something that was enforced in a mandatory, authoriarian way, but rather was something which was a voluntary of those who felt called to live out this charism in their expression of religious life--as so many did in the early days of the Church and continue to do in the Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and most Protestant Churches.

Has this guy published anything? Anything in print I mean, that comment mirrors so much of what I think is wrong with the hiearchy I think it would be wonderful to read some more of what this guy hast to say on this particular issue. I'm sure as a psychologist he'd use great evidence and contextual accounts to back up his claims and arguments!

Mareczku said...

This is a very good article. I hope that the light is finally dawning on the leaders of our Church. It is sad though that the Church has pretty much preached a gospel of sexual repression and at the same time covering up for the actions of some priests. I must say however, that we need to remember that abuse of children by clergy is no more common than in the country as a whole and the abuse of girls is probably a lot less than in the country as a whole. (This does not excuse those guilty of such acts.) I think that a big part of the problems was that the bishops covered up for and enabled a few very sick men and thus helped to create many more victims.

Mareczku said...

Prickliest Pear: In regard to your comment about "mortal sins" I think that part of the problem is that when the Church makes everything that has anything to do with sex a mortal sin then the really serious sins don't seem as bad. To me it is a trivialization of sin. How many people that use birth control pills or condoms, make love with their partner or do self-gratification think that their sin is as serious as that of a priest who rapes, molests or physically abuses a child or teen? I think most Catholics have a different view of this than some of the higher ups do.