I have debated for a while if I want to write about the Catholic Church situation. Specifically, I am referencing the situation they find themselves in with regard to their priests and their rampant abuse of young males. I am using the term ‘they’ because I am not Catholic. I am married to one however; which reminds of the tag line to the Holiday Inn commercial “No, but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn last night.” Being married to a Catholic probably does not qualify me for this discussion, but being a middle-aged male and having a sense of natural order and natural desire certainly does qualify me.
Do I have an issue with the Catholic Church? I do. I have been watching these stories of the priests and their predilection for sex with young boys as it has unfolded and made national headlines. I recognize that I am making a declaration of judgment here and I accept the consequences in doing so. I do believe this is an unnatural behavior, a behavior pattern being driven by the failure to develop a healthy sexuality. Central to the development of the unhealthy response lies the initial denial of the sexual response in specific. I do understand intellectually that the vow of abstinence involves sacrifice and commitment to an ideal; that concept and church legacy is not lost on me. But it appears also that the vow is nevertheless being broken in a wholly unnatural manner, rendering the vow moot and broken into tiny shards across these mens robes as viewed through anyone’s rosy set of glasses.
Still the churches rose colored gasses remain glued to their resolute faces and priests are moved from parish to parish to evade conviction and to enable the behavior in another place and another time. If you search the facts of these cases many of these men have not been charged, let alone convicted, despite practicing the abuse for many years. A man without a priestly standing engaged in these criminal acts is typically convicted, publicly persecuted and stigmatized for the rest of his life; offered up as a sex offender complete with neighborhood handouts declaring his offense and containing his photograph. Those with the priestly standing often go right on ‘priesting’ and as history illustrates they continue abusing.
Now change directions with me.
Would we not be startled to see geese fly north for the winter?
Nature has a progression and order that is not easily confused, disguised or distorted. This fact, in my opinion, is too often overlooked as we explore situations like the one above. The naturalness of a feeling or action may vary from individual to individual, reflecting the unique circumstances of that persons understanding, education and history, but the global natural order of things does not materially change in my opinion.
This path of course leads to examining the naturalness of grown men of alleged spiritual power having sex with under age males. It calls into question the recent flurry of female teachers having sex with their early teens students. Are these natural acts? I think they are distortions of a natural desire suppressed, then acted upon in an unnatural manner. The writings of Wilhelm Reich come immediately to mind, but remain to be explored in a separate post. Priests without an outlet, female teachers out of touch with their adulthood and fearful of inordinate adult male controls. The audio tape of Florida teacher Deborah LaFave asking her 13 year old victim to make a ‘pinky promise’ in a little girl voice is chilling and illustrative of this point.
The resolution to the abuse of these young boys is complex in application and worthy of an entire book by someone with credentials suitable to the task. I do not pretend to lead the elephant from the room, but only to point at the pachyderm and declare it real; a beast that has left enormous droppings on the floor.
I do offer two personal thoughts.
The discernment of natural order from the unnatural is difficult with one’s eyes and minds closed tightly shut; or through rose colored glasses permanently stuck to the face.
The geese will not be flying north for the winter anytime soon.