The Roman Catholic Church, Rapist Priests, And Homosexuals
The Roman Catholic Church
The Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, publishes a list of 50 clergy members accused of sexually abusing children—CNN, July1, 2019
And the beat goes on.
Why? I kept asking; why the Roman Catholic Church even started protecting pedophile priests, let alone why it continues to do so. My answer was always that the Church hierarchy was dedicated to taking care of its priests because they are “married” to the Church (you stick with your married partner through thick and thin), and because it was protecting the institution of the Church. I have found that both are true, but what I learned is the reasons behind the cloak of secrecy, the brotherhood of Omertá, are disgustingly banal.
My interest in the Catholic Church is personal: I was born and raised a Catholic, though my parents were not what you would call “devout”. Yet, I attended Mass every Sunday, and was even an altar boy at the local Church for my first two years at Michigan State University.
I regularly went to confession, but the single sin I confessed repeatedly was that of masturbation. Our parish priest, Monsignor Wastohowitz, finally said, “Look son, I’ll absolve you of your sin every week, and you say ten Hail Mary’s and five Our Fathers and we’ll call it good. Unless you develop other bad habits, you don’t have to come every week. Take your sister to a movie or something.”
What I didn’t realize at the time was that the Monsignor’s attitude toward my “sin” would be considered clerically progressive a half-century later.
Before my retirement I ran one of the largest prison-based sex offender treatment programs in the U.S. After I retired, I consulted with various agencies regarding issues such as sex offending and internet pornography. I was asked by a parish priest to make a presentation to a group of seminarians about to be ordained. Apparently, priests were hearing an increasing number of confessions from parishioners addicted to internet porn, and this priest wanted me to cover the available treatment option that might be suggested in the confessional. Seems saying Hail Marys and Our Fathers penance wasn’t doing the trick.
There’s a reason people watch porn, something this priest and his charges seemed to never consider. You watch porn to enhance masturbation. This means that being addicted to porn likely involves being addicted to masturbation: so, to determine addiction one of the variables you have to look at is masturbation frequency, which begs the question, “What is normal masturbation?”
Psychologists and Psychiatrist differ on this, but there is general agreement that a normal masturbation frequency is no more than once daily. Mind you, I personally think this a bit excessive, but as the pope said recently, “Who am I to judge?”
I didn’t want priests telling people who confessed masturbating once a week to seek professional help, so I reported what is considered normal masturbation. The faces of the dozen or so seminarians were things to behold: Their shocked looks, spread across flush faces, telegraphed moral crises. Immediately the priest in charge stood up and said the Church’s position is that any masturbation was a serious sin (mortal?), and there was no such thing as normal self-abuse. From then on I relegated my remarks to things like the growth of internet porn, and the effects of porn addiction on one’s employment and family. It was obvious the seminarians were ignorant about motivation or mechanics, and the Church intended to keep them clueless.
A light lunch was served after my presentation (there was no need for a Q and A) during which a seminarian kept quizzically glancing at me.
“Is there something on your mind?” I asked.
He hesitated but finally said, “Does science really think it okay to…uh…masturbate once every day?”
“I’m not sure you can call psychology science, but yes it does.”
I’m not sure where this all led in this young seminarian’s head, but I suspect he was grappling with normal sexual urges and hope this information gave him a way out. Relief was at hand, as it were. Yet, I knew the Church would act to crush his sexuality under a press of prohibition, guilt, and secrecy.
My pathway to becoming a “recovered” Catholic (I use the term in the same sense as “recovered” drug addict) started slowly and painfully with the Vietnam War: That war made me question almost everything in my life, including the existence of any God that would allow such a mass injustice to occur; I began to lose faith in faith. The path away from the Church wound its way through numerous withdrawals and recommitments, and accelerated with the exposure of clerical pedophilia, so that today, for me, there’s no way back.
My last contact with the Catholic Church was at the time my wife and I had our Son, forty years ago. Nothing like having a kid to make you start thinking of religion again. Maybe it has something to do with facing mortality; having a child will do that. I never realized that if I simply sat down and took several deep breaths, the feeling would pass.
The priest at our church was a guy named Tim: on the short side, and a very boyish-looking thirty-five.
He baptized our Son, and gave thoughtful homilies each Sunday at the eleven o’clock Mass. I liked him. The thing about Tim was what nobody in the parish would mention: He was so obviously gay that he walked enveloped in a pink cloud. I mean, there was no way Father Tim was straight.
I wondered how a gay guy could be a priest, given the Church’s hostility to homosexuals. How did he hide it from his colleagues and superiors when it was so obvious to me and others? How was it that the Church hierarchy didn’t toss him out on his cute little tush? (I never directly asked him if he was gay, something I now regret). I found out later that the Church finessed the question by maintaining a gay guy could still be a priest if he didn’t have sex. For me it was just one more betrayal because ever since I can remember, the Church told me just thinking about screwing Norma Jean was a sin.
Tim joked with me when I shared my disagreement with the Church’s positions on issues like birth control, divorce, abortion, clerical celibacy, the ordination of women, and condemnation of homosexuals. It was not until I started talking to Tim that I realized how much the Church and I were at odds. I would say to him, “I can’t see anyone who doesn’t have sex, isn’t married, and wears a dress tell me how to live my sex life.” Tim would laugh, put his hand on my shoulder and reply, “Don’t worry about doctrines, just put your faith in God.” I tried to follow that advice until I found out about priests raping children; news that exploded my Catholic faith, and in my mind stripped the Church of every ounce of moral authority. Being a nominal Catholic was one thing; belonging to a Church that screwed kids was a whole other ball of wax.
The Celibacy Curse
I ounce asked Tim how it was to be celibate and he said. “Celibacy is a gift from God.” He then handed me a pamphlet that said:
“Christian virgins, called by the Lord to cling only to him with greater freedom of heart, body, and spirit, have decided with the Church’s approval to live in a state of virginity” (922; emphasis added). As this statement points out, celibacy also bears strong witness to true sexual liberation. For liberation consists of man being able to master his passions rather than giving in to his whims.
For some reason I have never found repressing my horniness liberating, nor have I experienced deep sexual gratification as whimsy. In fact, when I have had to repress my sex drive over an extended period, I become irritable and rather single minded. And when I do have sex, I feel fulfilled, grounded, and yes, relieved…you might say liberated.
But, let’s move on to this:
Even though celibacy is the objectively superior state (to marriage), this does not mean that it is for everyone. Our Lord makes this very clear when he says, “Not all men can accept this precept, but only those to whom it is given. . . . There are those who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this let him receive it” (Matt. 19:11–12).
When speaking to the Lord, did the conversation mentioned above go something like this:
“Lord, what can I do to show you I love you and want to serve you?”
“Never have sex again.”
“In fact, if you really want to show me your love, you should cut off your balls.”
Seriously? Being a eunuch is superior to the highs and lows of marriage, and more superior to the pleasures, struggles, and grief of forming, sustaining, and losing a loving relationship? What sick mind believes that? A total negation of life and its responsibilities. There may be several reasons why a man embraces celibacy, but believing it to be a superior condition is a justification covering up a lie.
And finally, this:
Although celibacy is objectively superior to marriage, it does not diminish the goods of marriage. In fact, celibacy elevates the good of marriage. It is a superiority that totally gives itself for the good of marriage. It also makes itself dependent on the good of marriage for its life. This interdependence of marriage and celibacy is not only spiritual but physical as well. After all, in order for a person to be able to embrace celibate love he has to be created, and the way God creates man is through the marital embrace. In this light, it is not by mistake that the family is seen as the source of priestly and religious vocations.
I’m sorry, but that paragraph is gibberish. Ask ten people what it means and you will get ten different answers. A good example of the use of arrogant scholasticism to obscure rather than enlighten, something at which the Church excels. The only response to this crap is, “You have no idea what marriage is.”
Priest Child Rapists: A Look at the Data
Older studies and surveys reported that less than 4% of the general U.S. population are child rapists, while more recent studies, using more advanced data collection techniques and more precise definitions, have come up with 1%.
Pope Francis says that 2% of Catholic priests are child rapists, which is twice the U.S. number. However, Bishop Accountability, an organization that tracks rapist priests state by state, says the number of rapist priests is between 4% and 10% depending on the state in question. In the four Catholic diocese that have so far been legally compelled to turn over records to law enforcement authorities, the percentage of rapist priests is 9%. In Australia, where there has been much research, the number is 7%. As news article after article has shown, we are talking about the Catholic Church doing virtually nothing about a large number of priests raping children for a long time.
This clerical kiddie rape causes severe crises in the lives of Catholics who are taught that the only route to God’s saving grace is through the Church; which, practically speaking, means through your local priest. It’s like the Church stores God’s never-ending grace as wheat in a granary and the only way you can get at it is through your priest. In Catholicism there is no such thing as the Protestant personal relationship with God: You either submit to the Church or you’re screwed.
The more informed I became about this tragedy, the more I asked Why? Sure, we are talking about a sizable group of priests at a time when it is desperate for seminarians, but surely the Church had to see what was about to happen after the first revelations, and that the news would further depress seminary enrollments. I mean, who wants to join a profession known for child rape? A profession that has given new meaning to ‘shepherding a flock’.
The Church hierarchy, the Roman Curia, are not stupid people. They are savvy politicians, financiers, and diplomats. Surely, they had to see that the church must be cleansed of these predators to save itself. It’s like General Motors ignoring the news that ten percent of its dealer salesmen were raping its customers; building cars with bad brakes may temporarily piss off customers, but rape pretty well puts a permanent dent in that buyer base.
Why did the Vatican not act, and still refuses to act in other than the most grudgingly, disingenuous, and dishonest manner?
As it turns out, it has everything to do with clergy sexuality.
The Church and Homosexuality
Before I continue, let’s clarify terms:
A homophile priest is a homosexual who does NOT have sex. He is physically attracted to men, but is abstinent.
A homosexual priest is a homosexual who DOES have sex with men.
A homophobic priest is one who denounces homosexuals.
Life has always been hard for homosexuals particularly in the 1960’s and 70’s; if they were sexually active, they risked exposure and systematic condemnation and harassment, frequently violence. Many men sought the relative freedom of Catholic seminaries where the requirement of sexual abstinence initially helped them deal with their sexual impulses, where they were welcomed because of the growing shortage of priests, and where becoming a priest would give them authority and legitimacy they could not get in society outside the Church. As the seminaries began filling with homosexuals, many found the “gift” of celibacy ineffectual and began acting on their sexual impulses just as many heterosexual priests have done for millennia by living with women. It’s a matter of giving in to one’s sexual needs, or slowly hating who you are. Remember that conflicted seminarian.
As anyone I have ever know will attest, it is very difficult to maintain sexual abstinence. As a young man, I and all the other young men I knew thought more and more about sex the longer we went without it. Meeting one’s sexual needs is normal, while abstinence is not.
The seminarians of the 60’s and 70’s became todays bishops, archbishops, and cardinals. Based on his exhaustive study of the Church, Frederic Martel estimates that 80% of the current Roman Curia are either homophilic or homosexual. Martel claims that one important way to determine the difference is: The more homophobic a priest, the more likely he is a homosexual.
A statistical study done in the U.S., based on the death certificates of Catholic priests concluded that they died of AIDS related complications at a rate four times that of the general population. Another study of 65 Roman seminarians found that 38% tested positive for the AIDS virus.
Concerning sexual matters, the Roman Catholic Church is one of the most proscriptive institutions, often being downright hostile toward sex: It forbids sex outside of marriage; tries to regulate it within marriage; condemns masturbation; and condemns gay sex and gay marriage. Yet a large proportion of its clergy are either homophilic or homosexual, and among straight priests a sizable number maintain sexual relations with women, particularly in third-world countries where your legitimacy as a man is linked to having sex with women, and with marriage.
Extortion and Secrecy
Many Christian organizations, such as The Family Research Council, claim there is a link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, citing deeply flawed research to support their claims. The best (most well designed and rigorous) research has found no such link. This is not to say there are no homosexual child rapists, but that their proportion is no different than for heterosexuals. Child rapists are attracted to children despite their general sexual orientation. In other words, the high number of rapist priests is not linked to the high number of homosexual priests.
Child rapists are attracted to the Roman Catholic Church for the same reason they are attracted to playgrounds, schools, summer camps, beeches, malls, and any other venue frequented by kids: The Church is a good hunting ground, and a pedophile sheltered workshop.
The Church (any church, for that matter) offers many opportunities for child rapists because it operates many programs for children. If child rapists are anything, they are opportunists. Parishioners inherently trust (or used to) their parish priests, a trust that is conferred by ordination, which designates the priest as your way to God. Child rapist priests know this and take advantage of their conferred trust and status, which they wrap around themselves as instrumental holiness; piety used to target, groom, and rape kids, and protect themselves from exposure.
The rapist priests also know about the large number of homophilic and homosexual clergy in the Church (particularly within the older priests in the upper levels of the hierarchy), and are in a position to expose their sexual orientation and misdeeds if action is taken against the child rapist priest.
Yes, the Church protects child rapist priests because it has a commitment to care for all priests, and yes it protects these predators in the delusion that it is shielding the institution of the Church. But there is a third, more prosaic reason that has to do with rapist priests having the goods on their homophilic and homosexual superiors.
The Roman Catholic Church has embraced a culture of extreme secrecy and hypocrisy built on a web of extortion and cover-ups; a hypocrisy that has destroyed the Church’s moral authority. I paraphrase Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism where she suggests:
When a community throws itself into organized lying, when everyone lies about what is important, and when there is a tendency to turn fact into opinion, to reject factual truths, the result is not so much that one believes in lies, as that one destroys the reality of the common world.
The irony, of course, is that one of the largest organizations on Earth, controlled by practicing and abstinent homosexuals, is being used to condemn homosexuals and deny them their human rights. How sad it must be to serve an institution that despises who you are. Even the Roman Curia, many of whom live in obscene luxury, must in some way sense the moral rot eating at their souls like white blood cells turned against their body.
Trapped by its past, the Church is an example of how a religion must reflects human moral evolution or be reduced to irrelevancy. Today’s Roman Catholic Church has taught us a very important lesson: Many believe that it is religion that provides society with its morality, when exactly the opposite is true.
Though I have secured my information from many sources, I have heavily relied on a recently published book entitled, In The Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, by Frederic Martel, a French sociologist and expert in the history and condition of homosexual culture. An extensive bibliography, as well as footnotes, quotes, and references for the book can be found at http://www.sodoma.fr/.