Sunday, April 18, 2010

Clergy Abuse and the Pope: A response to Anne Rice

For a couple of weeks now I have been participating in an discussion thread begun by Anne Rice, a writer whose recent work I greatly admire. I have made several contributions but become increasingly frustrated by the way this (like other threads) quickly starts going round in circles with no real movement in response to postings from different perspectives. Repetition and autobiographical statements produce no value added. The thread is at

A new participant, NY2VA, has made an excellent, clear contribution that does actually clarify things and take the discussion forward. Whether it goes forward from here remains to be seen. NY2VA has kindly agreed to allow me to repost her or his post with the disclaimer that the points it makes derive from conversations with others. (Don't they always?) Here's the post. It is a response to Anne Rice's points.


Posted on Apr. 18, 2010 1:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author 2 hours ago
NY2VA says:
As a gifted and skilled author you appreciate the value of words, what they mean, and the importance of their proper usage when reasoning through a problem in order to arrive at valid conclusion. We are told to let yes mean yes and no mean no. Just so.

Pedophilia is the inherently abusive commission of sexual relations with prepubescent children. The sexual abuse committed by some Catholic clergy does not fit the definition of the word being applied. So, why such insistence on using the word? Some 80% of the sexual abuse cases in the US involved boys between the ages of 11 and 17. That makes them adolescents. Male adolescents. In the spirit of calling things what they are, there is no pedphlilia scandal. There is an ephebophilia scandal. The men in question abandoned their sacred vows and succumbed to male hebephilia, attraction to pubescent male children. Ergo, there is a homosexuality problem.

The problem is that homosexual men who did not control their sexual desires were given positions of authority and trust, and placed in close proximity to adolescent boys. And when they victimized them, they were counseled and transferred - often based on the "best," most current psychiatric theory - instead of being arrested and imprisoned. The blame for the problems belongs to the men themselves, and the bishops of those times, predominately the 60's and 70's, not to the pope of today.

Regarding your oft repeated, loyal Catholic, hypothetical inquiry as to whether Pope Benedict XVI should be punished if he is found to have done wrong, of course he should. If he cheats at cards, he should expect to be horsewhipped. If Tony Blair is found to have embezzled millions from the Bank of England, he should be jailed. If LeBron James hacks an opponent, he should be whistled for a personal foul. If you do 85 mph in a 45 mph zone, you should be ticketed for reckless driving. And the point is?

I see no constructive use in hypothetical questions. Talking about what someone thinks should happen if something that probably did not happen but possibly might have happened actually did happen is a pointless (at best) and destructive (more likely) parlor game. If you want to discuss the scandal of homosexual abuse of adolescent boys by men who broke their vows and betrayed the trust placed in them by the Catholic Church, and the failure of their superiors to protect their flocks, you will be discussing something real. And some good might come of it.

The use of the political terms liberal and conservative is likewise misguided. The Catholic Church is not a political institution. There is no liberal or conservative Faith. There is orthodox and there is heterodox. Period. One is either obedient, the antidote to the greatest of sins - pride, or one is disobedient, Non serviam! We are all sinners. The priests who broke their vows and abused their charges were disobedient sinners. Had they and the bishops and therapists who enabled their abuse been faithful to the Magisterium, no scandal of this scale would exist. It is only when we insist on being our own Magisterium - Non serviam! - that we go wrong.

God love you.

Viva Cristo Rey.


For those who do not know, the last words of the above post were made famous as the last words of a great Catholic martyr of Mexico's secularist government, the Jesuit priest Miguel Pro. He was killed by firing squad in front of news cameras November 23, 1927. (See Robert Royal's inspiring book, The Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century.)

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