On the down side
The bishops are trotting out the Usual Suspects to give the blah blah on psychology, etc, just as if they weren’t the deeply discredited people whose advice the bishops foolishly followed to set Geoghan loose to prey on more kids.
Philip Lawler also notes, presciently:
Omigosh! Scott Appleby has just gone and said it! In his presentation to the bishops, he said that the problem we face today can be traced back to 1968, and the sharp divide between Catholic teaching and Catholic practice that opened up after the promulgation of Humanae Vitae. After making that observation, he proceeded to conclusions that would be different from mine. We disagree about the treatment, but we agree on the diagnosis.
Since 1968, that is, most self-professed Catholics– including many, many priests, and more than a few bishops– have allowed themselves to ignore, to dismiss, or even boldly to reject, the official teaching of the Church. Catholic leaders have dutifully paid lip service to the teaching, but have done little or nothing to address the widespread failure to comply with that teaching. They have, in short, “looked the other way.” Over the years the habit has become ingrained. On one issue after another– contraception, homosexuality, abortion– bishops have developed the practice of looking the other way, papering over the gap between teaching and practice. Meanwhile, the ordinary Catholic faithful became accustomed to this mode of behavior, so that they began to view bishops as distant, abstracted figures. And so we come to today’s scandal.
Yes, the path leads back to Humanae Vitae. And we wish to address the fundamental causes of today’s distress, we cannot avoid that history.
In short, AmChurch opted to devalue and ultimately to despise chastity and virginity. Which is another way of saying it opted to devalue and despise children. And that’s the problem: because it will ultimately come down to a radical re-evaluation of our “right” to whatever sexual pleasure strikes our fancy vs. the good of the very weakest members of our Church. I am not optimistic that Americans will seriously allow that “right” to be threatened by a call to holiness. The Judith Levine’s will sound their siren call when that threat looms: “What’s so bad about sex with children anyway? We need to confront these irrational taboos!” etc.