Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sex, Lies, Ireland and The Vatican

The Vatican is at it again. Another sex scandal involving pedophile priests has surfaced, this time in Ireland. The Pope responded immediately by calling a big meeting of senior Irish clergy in Rome and writing a letter expressing shock, surprise, and a lot of blahblah blah. It's a replay of the response to similar scandals in the USA and Australia. It's what the Vatican always does when it gets caught. Mea Culpa and more of the same.

Let's get real folks. Horny priests have been molesting the choirboys since the Middle Ages and they aren't about to stop now. It shocked Martin Luther too. The Pope can repent all he wants to, and call all the meetings in the world, but it won't do any good until a truly corrupt sexual culture of mysogeny, homophobia, and homo-eroticism that is part and parcel of clerical celibacy is addressed.

The current scandal in Ireland is neither unexpected nor surprising. It is merely the latest expression of an old old problem. The Church's official attitudes towards sex are twisted to begin with. Sadly, they encourage young men of faith, frightened about their own proclivities, to enter a celibate clergy to avoid facing the problem. That is mistake number one.

So they are immersed in a skewed culture, out of the mainstream where they can tell themselves that what they are doing is OK. I have a friend who was molested by his parish priest starting at the age of 7. I'm not talking just a bit of groping here, although that would be bad enough. This went all the way to sodomy which, given the priest's position, carried the weight of incest. This pedophile priest managed to molest at least 25 boys in my friend's parish before being discovered and transferred by the bishop to a new parish, where he could start all over again. There are millions of stories like this all over the world.

I know that there are wonderful priests and religious who are true to their vows and who have embraced a life of giving that deserves respect, and I know that they too are being betrayed by their leaders and the sexual creeps among them. Time for this culture of secret perversion and corruption to see the light of day and be recognized for what it is.

The bottom line is that in Ireland, North America, Australia or Vatican City, secrets and lies are not only just plain wrong, they are evil and the antithesis of what the Church says it is about. Time to open the windows and let in the truth.

Time for the Vatican to stop writing letters and start cleaning house.

photo from


JamaGenie said...

Hundreds of years ago, Catholic priests were allowed to marry. But back then, priests were kings of their own little (corrupt) fiefdoms. Took the term "Prince of the Curch" literally. In order to stop the spread of paganism and the power of its priestesses (as well as women in general) in newly-conquered lands, celibacy became a requirement for Catholic priests.

You're soooo right that the Church hasn't done enough to weed out (and then severely punish) the pedophiles in its midst. A **thorough** psychological screening for wannabe priests would be a good place to start.

Pamela Grundy said...

I hold the Church responsible for creating a climate in which sexual abuse flourishes, not just among the priesthood, but in Catholic families as well. It took me decades to deprogram myself and in some ways I never will manage it completely. I still feel EVERYTHING is my fault, like every good Catholic does, and I think you nailed the real problem: Patriarchal religions create a sexuality based on power and secrecy (also related to power), and that causes the kind of damage to children and women that perpetuates the cycle. It's been like this for centuries. Great post.

Susan Deborah said...

Church and sex don't go well together. I liked the free flow of thoughts that this post had.

Glad I stopped by.

Joy always,

pinkpackrat said...

Thanks to all three of you for your comments. Jama-- I never thought of celibacy as a power play,just as something that skews the Vatican's POV on sex--interesting

Pam--I have to say I have a great deal of respect for the Church, but the fat cats who run the place make my blood boil.

and thank you Susan. I'm glad you stopped by too:-)

Susan Deborah said...

Dear Packrat:

Thanks for having strolled by the Meanderings. And thanks for the following. The more the merrier! Welcome aboard.

I very much appreciate the time taken to read and write a comment.

Joy always,

glorybe said...

We live in an age of witch hunts and sexual hysteria. The Catholic Church does not wish to simply transfer a priest who is having a problem. They have referred them to clinical help and transferred them to new situations where it is hoped that they will cast off prior negative habits. The so called secrecy accusation relates to a lot of what is known stemming from the confessional. A priest's confessions, like all others, remains secret forever.

Avi Katz said...

In the Jewish religion there is no vow of celibacy--a seminary is expected to marry young and a rabbi without a wife is unheard of. But hypocrisy and homophobia are still rife; in the current scandal a respected rabbi, educator, TV talk star and political activist invited young men confused about their sexuality to "therapy" sessions which often ended in bed. It's not just the Catholic church!

pinkpackrat said...

You are absolutely right, Avi, and I am glad you made the point. This kind of behavior is not unique to Catholicism and is not just simply the result of clerical celibacy, but elevating celibacy to holiness creates a climate where this sort of hypocrisy, self delusion, and denial can flourish-- and has for centuries.