For a documented period of time spanning 70 years, priests ranging from lowly parish priests to Cardinals raped and sexually assaulted boys and girls, men and women and bishops covered it up and protected themselves from punishment for doing it.
The blame for this has been placed on
- laypeople for disregarding Humanae Vitae
- all gay priests
- the media for reporting it
- feminists infiltrating the Church
- a plot by Communists
- Fr. James Martin
- Vatican II
- bad liturgy
Root out these things, and especially all gay priests, we are told, and the problem will go away.
What is pointedly not suggested in such discussions is that bishops who protected abusers should be fired and imprisoned as accessories to rape and sexual abuse and that the focus should be on abusers whether gay or straight, not on all gays (since the abuse is neither caused by all gays, nor is it all homosexual abuse).
This last point is important, since the most popular stuff I saw from last week, among the always wrong about everything Conservative Catholics was indeed, some form of Get the Gays[TM].
Matt Walsh wants to Get Fr. James Martin and All Them Queer Priests[TM].
Bishop Morlino upped the voltage not only by pointing the finger at the “almost exclusively homosexual — acts by clerics” but with the battle cry, “[W]hat the Church needs now is more hatred!”
By “almost exclusively” is meant 3/4 to 4/5 of victims are male. Meaning that if we assume the very lowball of 1000 victims documented in PA, 200 to 250 were girls and women. Women like the sisters molested whose priestly molester collected their body fluids like the creepy weirdo he was. Women like the adolescent girl impregnated and then pressured to abort while the bishop wrote the priest to console him on the tough time he was having.
What the Get the Gays[TM] strategy does is threefold, all of it evil.
- Deflect from the fact that the crimes here are committed by abusers, not gays, thereby encouraging the falsehood that gays are all child abusers.
- Deflect from the crimes committed by heterosexual abusers and put those crimes on to innocents.
- Deflect from the crimes committed by bishops who protected both gay and straight abusers.
I know, I know. “But being a gay priest is wrong.”
Being a sexually active priest, whether gay or straight, is a sin, but not necessarily a crime. We are talking about crime here, not mere sin.
This is where the “fog of war” mentality begins as a dozen different agendas move in to take advantage of the rage and fury over the abuse of the flock–and especially of children. Very quickly the dynamic of the Girardian scapegoating mechanism human social groups instinctively and blindly fall back on kicks in: find somebody to blame, somebody we can all agree to hate and expel with the sins of the community on their head.
The first thing smart leaders do–especially when they are the ones who bear the responsibility for the failure–is deflect from themselves to that scapegoat, in this case, All the Gays. We have to expel the Gay Subculture in the Church. They must all be driven out!
Um, some questions.
- Who are these people?
- What do you mean “gay”?
- Do you mean somebody who is same-sex-attracted but celibate or a sexually active person?
- Do you mean both gays and lesbians?
- Do you you mean both priests and laity?
- What does “expel” mean? Laicized or excommunicated?
- If you mean priests and they are living celibate lives, how do you tell they are gay?
- If they self-identify as gay, but chaste, then what, exactly are you punishing them for?
- Do you get to demand their expulsion merely because you think they are gay?
I see no practical way forward on that front, apart from an orgiastic witchhunt in which idiocy instantly triumphs over justice. And I see no way forward along those lines without inevitably telling chaste faithful gays, whether lay or ordained, that Jesus Christ rejects them without trial and hates them for their temptations and despises their obedience. If you are comfy with sending that message to gay people, good luck standing before God at the Pearly Gates, because you will be just as guilty of causing one of his little ones to stumble as the worst abuser–because you will be an abuser of gay Catholics.
“Stop saying gay!” comes the response.
No. I will not. Stop being precious about the English language and face the fact that “gay” is the normal English word people use to describe those–sexually active or not–who feel sexually attracted to people of the same sex. It just is so, whether you like it or not. And so if some priest decides to describe himself that way–often to encourage those who are Catholic or Catholic wannabes that Jesus can love them too–you have not proven anything either about their sex lives, nor about their abuse of anybody. You may, horror of horrors, have to get to know them as human beings to discover who they are.
I’m not gay. The wife and I have been happily married for lo these 34 years. I’ve known many gay folk in my community and in my parish. No idea what’s going on in their sex lives. What I have seen of them have been, in some cases, a deep devotion to Jesus and the Church and huge commitment to the life of the parish. I have no doubt some of the priests I’ve known have been gay (a couple of fulfilled the hopes and dreams of the Expellers and left, which is how I, who have very bad gaydar) figured out they were gay–because they said so.
And that’s one of the things I keep wondering about: how do know the person you’ve decided needs expulsion is gay if he is celibate?
More than that, how do you leap from “I think Fr. So and So just seems light in the loafers to me” to “That man is raping children!”
It seems to me that this whole Get the Gays![TM] approach is Girardian Scapegoating in chemical purity. Instead of getting the gays, why not just focus on getting the abusers, whether gay or straight and, above all, getting the bishops and superiors who protected abusers? Don’t get distracted.
This comes back, by the way, to the Holy Father and–if he fails to act–to Caesar and (in a democratic society), to us. We have all the money, own all the guns, staff all the cops and courts, and hold all the keys to all the jails. We have options if the Holy Father does not act.
I’m not angry with the Holy Father–yet. As Michael Flynn has noted, when you look up “Rapid Response Squad” on Google, it will never show you a picture of the Vatican. These are people who took 40 years to conclude that the Beatles were a pretty good band. Expecting action two days after the PA report dropped was absurd. Getting a letter from the Pope in less than a week is a miracle of the snail beating the hare. And the letter was far better than Morlino’s, or the bishop (Tobin?) who said it was because of contraception, or the Mexican cardinal who said laity should take the blame, or all the other idiotic things that have been said, like Bill Donohue’s moronic argument that sexually assaulting a child is not rape without penetration.
But it was still not enough. It came off like more “thoughts and prayers”. It got what Morlino (a clericalist of the first order and the protector of the single most abusive (albeit not sexually abusive) priest it has ever been my misfortune to encounter–did not): that the issue is clericalism and the abuse of power. It even said that no effort should be spared to hold bishops accountable.
But what it did not do–what no bishop seems to have the stones to do–is hold bishops accountable. No action has (as of this writing) been taken. McCarrick’s outta there. But lots of other bishops and Cardinals (Wuerl–paying a priest to not tell him what he knows–and Carlson–testifying under oath that he was too stupid to know that priests banging kids was illegal stand out) are going to fail under the scrutiny currently focused on a mere six dioceses. So, for instance, when you are sincere about reform, you don’t–as NY has done–spend $2 million bucks to try to block changes to the statutes of limitations that would put molesters behind bars.
It’s been 16 years since this miserable mess came to light. Several people have remarked that is somehow feels worse this time and Simcha Fisher sagely remarked that it’s because it’s like finding out your alcoholic husband who you thought had sobered up has been binging when you were out of town.
Yes. Real reforms have made real progress. But the fact remains that the bishops have protected themselves from the consequences of their crimes. And Getting the Gays is not the fix for that, it’s just more of the same blameshifting. Get the Abusers, both Gay and Straight, and Their Enablers. Focus on the crimes first and get to the sins against chastity, both gay and straight, after that. And that means that the Holy Father must act. He must offer more than thoughts and prayers. He must do more than put it back on us laity to pray and fast and sacrifice. We have sacrificed a helluva lot already for these episcopal chuckleheads. We laypeople did not do this. They did. We laity are, every last one of us, their victims. Dissolving their crimes in the Generalized Collective of “All Have Sinned” is an insult to victims. Especially when they still hold positions of power while the man who could, just for starters, accept the two year old resignation of 77 year old Donald Wuerl has yet to do so.
I’ve always believed that everything you need to know about the pontificate of Pope Francis can be summed in the words, “He has preached good news to the poor”. Virtually all the hysteria and hatred directed at him has emanated from people who don’t get that, or who do get it and who hate him for out of a loathing of evangelism, a love of money, or a loathing of the least of these.
But the Petrine office is marked, all through history, with the odd reality that Peter is graced to see and teach the truth–and then often fails to live it. We see that in Matthew 16 when he is graced to see who Jesus truly is–and then immediately ends up being called “Satan” by the man he called the Son of God. We see it again when he articulates the truth the Gentiles are saved by grace through faith in Christ in Acts 15–and then chickens out on this at Antioch and must be rebuked by Paul in Galatians 2.
So I pray that Peter will not chicken out or otherwise fail here and will (per his request) be offering prayers and fasting that we laity can faithfully call him to account as another layperson once called Peter to account.
I see the infernal wolf carrying off your little sheep, and there is no one to rescue them. So I am turning to you, our father and shepherd, begging you in the name of Christ crucified to learn from him who with such blazing love gave himself up to the shameful death of the most holy cross to save this little lost sheep, the human race, from the devil’s hands. Because of its rebellion against God, here are the devils, holding this sheep as their own possession.
I tell you in the name of Christ crucified that you must use your authority. … You are in charge of the garden of the holy Church. So [first of all] uproot from that garden the stinking weeds filled of impurity and avarice, and bloated with pride (I mean the evil pastors and administrators who poison and corrupt the garden). … Use your authority, you who are in charge of us! Uproot these weeds and throw them out where they will have nothing to administer! Tell them to tend to administering themselves by a good holy life. Plant fragrant flowers in this garden for us, pastors and administrators who will be true servants of Jesus Christ crucified, who will seek only God’s honor and the salvation of souls, who will be fathers to the poor.
St. Catherine of Siena to Pope Gregory XI