Does Mo Dowd think Celibacy = Pedophilia?

Zoran Karapancev / Courtesy of

I hadn’t read Mo Dowd’s latest screed because I’ve been really busy and because, well, her Yosemite Sam act has really begun to bore me over the years — as Joanne (envisioning Dowd as another Looney Toon fave) writes here:

I wonder sometimes why she doesn’t simply self-destruct in her Tasmanian Devil hissing and spinning…

Anyway, because I read Joanne’s piece, I read Dowd’s — and if you’re going to read either you should read both. The story of Sister Margaret Farley being corrected by the CDF is very interesting and one that (predictably) has its share of Yay-ers and Nay-ers. The sister’s own rather elegantly crafted statement is here.

I don’t have the head to write about the Farley story, today — I have maintained for a while, now that Catholic teaching on sexuality is the teaching of an ideal, and a worthy one, because the pursuit of the ideal ultimately puts our focus not on ourselves but on God and our union with him; I’ve said (at least once) that I think the Catechism is thoughtful, wise and actually pretty broadminded on the issue of masturbation, but I know that gets drowned out by the tyrannical sentimentalist’s cry of “mean church, cruel church” which Dowd supplies in abundance, but a truth drowned out is still a truth.

What bothered me about Dowd’s piece was this bit of utter stupidity:

. . .celibacy is enshrined, even as a global pedophilia scandal rages.

So, in Maureen Dowd’s world, a celibate person is a de-facto pederast? Is she making the ignorant argument that if only priests were not vowed to celibacy, child molestation would never happen? Does she really think this? Does she think only celibate priests molest children or is she pretty sure that celibate sisters like Sister Farley are, because of their celibacy, inclined toward predatory instincts against children? Does she think that elitist-approved Buddhist and Taoists, who understand the discipline of celibacy to be a positive thing, are budding pederasts?

A “pedophile scandal rages…” well, yes, they do rage, where they are reported on and paid attention to; pedophiles are all around us, and most of them are not celibate people; they are in our public schools, although Dowd seems not to notice. They are in our families — all of those non-celibate, married mothers and fathers who sexually abuse their own children.

The thoughtless and causal assertion, by those who hate the church — and Dowd is surely in their number — that celibacy is to blame for the terrible pederasty scandals we have been addressing for ten years forces me to ask a rude question: at some point in your life, Ms Dowd, you were a celibate person. For all I know, you are celibate today. Have your periods of celibacy awakened within you urges to molest youngsters?

I am sure the answer to that question is “no.” I am sure it is “no” not just for Dowd, but for everyone, because pederasty does not arise from celibacy; it arises from a sick need of a damaged person to assert power over someone else, and to prey on vulnerability.

“. . .celibacy is enshrined, even as a global pedophilia scandal rages.” Is a line that can only be written by someone who has substituted cheap emoting and sloganeering for thinking, and who understands that her audience wants nothing more than that.

It’s boring; it’s predictable, so lets call it that; let’s also call it what it really is at its core: rank stupidity, encouraged by a hate that feels like love.

Related: Max with The Paranoid Style of Church Politics

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About Elizabeth Scalia