It’s celibacy’s fault

It’s celibacy’s fault

No one can doubt that Fr. Tom Doyle was instrumental in first revealing the extent of the Scandal as far back as the 80s and was treated very poorly for his efforts. And there’s also little doubt that his raw treatment by the Church he had been bonded to as a priest left its marks on him. Frankly, his coziness with Voice of the Faithful in recent years has left me wary of him. It seems I had good reason.

Doyle has co-authored a book with former priests A.W.R Sipe and Patrick Wall entitled “Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church’s 2,000-Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse.”

When the press release begins by referencing The Da Vinci Code, you know it’s trouble. The book claims “that sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by Catholic clergy not only spans the Church’s history, but has in fact, been well-known and protected by its hierarchy for centuries.” Is it likely that there have been bad apples in the priesthood and the episcopacy for the past 2,000 years? Is the Church made up of both sinners and saints? Of course! Certainly, there have always been perverts in collars, just as there have been perverts in the pews. We’ve also had more than our fair share of ambitious power-hungry, butt-covering bishops, but you’ll find men and women like that in every field of human endeavor.

In the end, we find out what this is all about:

The book also examines the moral questions related to the celibate practice of all Catholic clergy, and how it relates to why sexual abuse has been such an inflammatory issue for the hierarchy-now forcing the Church to re-examine itself in terms of its ideology of sexuality, its responsibility to its members, and its role in today’s society.

Ah yes, celibacy is a perversion that warps your very soul!. If only priests could have sex with their wives, then there would be no abuse. Never mind that most of the abuse in the Scandal was of a homosexual nature. Never mind that in the vast majority of cases of sexual abuse of children in society as a whole, married men are the culprits.

In their efforts to attack the Church’s teaching on chastity, celibacy, and single-hearted dedication of the priestly vocation, Doyle, Sipe, and Wall are willing to drag the entire Church down into the mud and soil her completely. Anything for their agenda.

(Incidentally, if celibacy only started in the past 1,000 years, how to explain all that child abuse in the previous 1,000? Hmmm?)

[Thanks to Dragon and Phoenix for the link.]

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  • What. A. Surprise.

    But of course Tom Doyle Can Do No Wrong. Wait for it.

    Eric – disproportionate to what? Eastern Christendom? If so, should we ask if the non-mandatory-celibate priesthood of Eastern Christendom causes a disproportionate number of wife-beatings and domestic child abuse? If so, might it not be good for that discipline to be altered?

    (Short point: Yer talking apples and oranges all over. I think I can see the point you’re trying to make, but you didn’t quite get there. Which happens to me all the time. ) smile

  • Linking celibacy to the disgusting practices of some of the ordained would lead one to the conclusion that when virginity before marriage was the norm, all kinds of deviancies resulted.

    Do you believe that the present age of unrestrained premarital and extramarital sex has prevented deviancies?  Absurd!

    It may be true that during the 70’s and 80’s some deviants took refuge in the priesthood to hide their evil from society.  Sadly, many are still there and in high positions.  Hence, there has been almost no effort to root out the bad apples.

  • Dom:

    I heard they uncovered a secret document, detailing the conspiracy involving lawyers, church leaders and of course, homosexual activists, to keep the clergy celibate for the benefit of homosexuals . . .

    It was written by St. Peter!

    What a bombshell!

  • Wow … Lee you nailed it.  I suspect you know somebody who was in the religious life in the 1970s as I do.

    Hmmm.. child abuse has been rampant in the Church for 2000 years .. sounds like a defence of homosexuality … did the USCCB finance the publishing of this book?

  • Not to get off course from the topic at hand, but celibacy and continence for clergy has been around since atleast the fourth century from what early Church councils documents say. See Christian Cochini, S.J., The Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy. 

    I had to quote from my wife’s master’s thesis on the topic of celibacy.  Here are the relevant quotes from the Conclusion:

    “Does celibacy cause priests to develop in such a way that it leads to sexual indiscretions and scandal within the Church?  To such a question one must in turn ask where is the faith in Christ?  The priest’s ordination is a configuration to Christ, the Son of God, who is ‘the ordained Savior of the world, yesterday, today, and forever (Tertio Millenni Adveniente).’  And since every ordained minister is conformed to the one Savior, who never changes, there is an essential aspect of the priesthood that must remain always the same.  ‘The priest of tomorrow, no less than the priest of today, must resemble Christ (Pastores Dabo Vobis).”  And one of the great ways the celibate priest is called to resemble Christ is by his voluntary choice of perfect chastity.  To argue the priest could not remain celibate and be a mature, well-balanced person is to deny that Jesus could do likewise since he was also fully human.  Contrary to driving the priest to psychological or sexual problems, celibacy ‘colors all human relations and leads to experiencing and showing … a sincere, human, fraternal, and personal love, one that is capable of sacrifice, following Christ’s example, a love for all and for each person (Pastores Dabo Vobis).’”

    ““The faithful need to see ‘the priest of deep faith, who professes his faith courageously, prays fervently, knows how to love disinterestedly and is close to all, especially to those wo are most in need (Novo Incipiente Nostro).’  Celibacy sheds luster on the nature of the priesthood and enhances the work of the priesthood itself.  ‘It eminently actualizes that consecration to God, conformity to Christ, and dedication to the Church.  It expresses the ideal which the priestly character is supposed to convey (A Guide to Formation in Priestly Celibacy).’  The removal of celibacy from the priesthood would have vast repercussions in practical as well as spiritual matters.  The priest is ‘the defender of truth, who stands with angels, gives glory with archangels, causes sacrifices to rise to the altar on high, shares Christ’s priesthood, refashions creation, restores it in God’s image, recreates it for the world on high and, even greater, is divinized and divinizes (Catechism of the Catholic Church).’  He lovingly and celibately continues Christ’s redemptive work on earth in love.”

  • “No, this is exactly the wrong question to ask. Grace builds upon nature, and the overwhelming majority of Catholic Christians do not experience miracles after conversion or ordination that suddenly make celibacy easier. Such thinking is just naieve, like the alcoholic, or celiac-disease sufferer who thinks he can get by consuming the Eucharist because he “trusts in Christ” that they will not cause him physical harm. Mircales do happen, but they’re rare and we ought not to build Church policy around it.” 

    You miss the point Eric.  Celibacy is not something a priest is given to take upon himself when he is ordained to the priesthood.  It should be something nurtured within him from God’s grace to his decision to be celibate.  My quote merely refers to whether celibacy causes problems for the single men in the priesthood.  And the answer from faith points us to Christ and his example showing us that celibacy is not the problem.  Rather, the problems lie in the deceit and lack of honesty of men who find themselves called to the priesthood.  And not to mention the immaturity of many of them to handle themselves according to God’s will.  And to make matters worse, seminaries and bishops have neglected their pastoral responsibilities to make sure that these men ordained to the priesthood are capable of living the life of a priest.  Instead of men molded after the heart of Jesus, we get men molded after the heart of the golden calf.

  • Dear Anon:

    I hope some of the wonderful Catholic priests who occasionally post here will answer your second paragraph perfectly learned and parroted psych 101 statement. I for one, being a Catholic for 46 years have met many, many wonderful and happy and fulfilled priests whose lives belie your tidy analysis.

    What about the abusers found in much greater numbers in ‘the outside world’ – did they also have the ‘demands of celibacy’ foisted on them at a young age? Was the educational environment they were in also responsible for stunting them emotionally and psychologically?

    I don’t think there is a cut and dried answer to this question at all… there are sick men and women in every walk of life. Self centered, immature and sexually stunted – the scandal is that some or most of them should have been spotted before being admitted to a seminary and once their sickness was realized, the further scandal was the squelching of their acts.

    And, you may want to consult Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital who provided much of the research of the John Jay Report. His research included unlimited access to facts and figures which were gathered by lawyers and pertained directly to the scandals in the Catholic Church.

    John Jay’s report found that 81 percent of sexual abuse by clergy was homosexual.

    Dr. McHugh called that a “bombshell” and said, “I’m astonished that people throughout America are not talking about it, thinking about it, and wondering about what the mechanisms were that set this alight.”

    Your man Dr. Fred Berlin was a long time advisor to Bernard Cardinal Law and the US Bishops. That sure didn’t turn out too good.

    ‘pedophilia….can be effectively controlled with appropriate psychiatric intervention.’—Dr. Fred Berlin. Been there, done that. NEXT….

  • Eric: That an institution attracts deviants doesn’t necessarily mean that there is something wrong with the institution… unless it admits them intentionally. That’s a separate question.

    By some estimates one-third of spouses cheat on their wife or husband. The institution of marriage seems to attract a lot of philanderers. But that doesn’t make us question the value of chastity within marriage.

  • Anonymous’s claims are so old and tired and lacking in reality and I have responded to them so much in the past four years that I’m sick of it. I’m not going to bother, but anyone else is free to.

  • I think the John Jay data is straightforward enough and has been widely reported.  81% is the known figure.  It is composed of two raw statistics, that 90% of the victims were post pubescent and 90% of those were males.  Do the math.  81% of the victims were post-pubescent males = homosexual depravity.  Case closed.

  • Priest abusers are arrested in their development at the adolescent stage of sexual experimentation.  They have never formed mature sexual relations; they cannot and they do not know how to.  For this reason they see their victims as their peers and not as victims.

    I can only recall from personal expereince growing up as a teenager in the 90’s here. But I grew up where young men were taight to experiement and encourage as normal sexual growth to sexually satisfy themselves and look at sexual imagaes. It was these young men that I dated, who treated me like crap not as a peer, but someone to use as if I was their palm of their hand.

    How was I as a woman suppose to defend myself in comprising positions, when they are the normal ones and I’m just being a “repressed Catholic”?

    Now my husband, didn’t do this. He was raised that it was wrong to experiement and lose control of his sexuality. Masturbation and entertaining sexual images of the sort was wrong, and replaced with other recreational activities. This doesn’t mean my husband wasn’t supressing it, it was still a part of him. It just wasn’t all of him.

    It is my husband who was celibate all those growing years, and it was him who had the ability to treat me like peer and loving wife, not as a victim.

  • You can’t argue with people who deny facts.  Mother always said, “don’t loan money to fools and don’t argue with crazy people.”  Goodnight.

  • I could have anticipated a neanderthal response such as you made.  Why can’t you deal with facts instead of your gut impulses?  Do you have a brain?

    … says the anonymous man. I could ask the same question of you as you spew forth the same tired rhetoric that has been disproven again and again.

    Pedophilia is a sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children of both sexes. Ephebophilia is attraction to post-pubescent teens and when it is directed toward a member of the same sex that’s homosexuality.

    Consult your local DSM IV. Heck, even Wikipedia will give you that answer.

    The John Jay report’s facts are straightforward, but the analysis was biased against the reality that is found in black and white.

  • Being homosexual causes homosexual acts—rather obvious news, I would have thought.  Being in a state of sin causes abuse—again rather obvious, you’d think.

    Maybe we should expect our priests to act the part or get out?  ie. regular re-commitments, regular confession, regular exorcisms, strict and complete modesty, accountability to a well-established standard or the alternative—expulsion from the priesthood.

    The alternative is “fixing” them, which I doubt is a good idea.  (But an entertaining idea in some cases, you must admit.)

    No, having good moral men without overarching psychological problems and with solid and sound commitments is a better idea.

    Note: getting them married won’t help.  A man attracted to little boys is not going to know what to do with a full-grown woman.  He’d probably just get her to cook for him and then continue browsing the altar boys.  Then again, she might maim him with a frypan if she caught him with a kid…….

  • And yes, Lee, I read your previous post.  I’m not sure whether to take it seriously. 

    Pretending to get God in the behind might explain pretending from the pulpit there is no heaven and hell.  But if these persons are convinced of the usefulness of their perversions(that it’s not just pretend), it’s not logical to pretend anymore about the teachings of God. They’d be real too.  And they’d be in deep trouble…

    Unless the whole thing’s illogical to start with which could be…..

    But I’m not convinced that this is what’s going on.  I hope it isn’t as pervasive as you say……

  • Assuming the distibution of males and females was proportionally distributed among the age ranges,…

    That’s a very big assumption. Since pedophilia and ephebophilia are two different issues, I doubt that the distribution would remain proportional. Apples to oranges.

  • Paul, I’ve looked at the figures in the report. I think making the division at 13 years old is somewhat arbitrary, since the important aspect of pedophilia v. ephobophilia is whether the child is pre-pubescent or post-pubescent. Thus the John Jay report itself marks the dividing line at 11 years old.

    From the report, in section 4.3:

    The majority of victims are males between the ages of 11-17, and just over half (50.7%) of all individuals who made allegations of abuse were between the ages of 11-14. The average age of all alleged victims is 12.6. This number has increased over time, however. In the 1950s, the average age was 11.5; in the 1960s it was 12; in the 1970s it was 12.87; in the 1980s it was 13.2; and by the 1990s it was 13.87.

    That’s another good point. Early on the abuse was more clearly geared toward pedophilia, but as time went on and we entered the 60s, 70s, and 80s, it became even more slanted toward ephebophilia and homosexuality.

    I would also note that no one at John Jay asked the obvious question: Was the abuse, either overall or during a certain period of time, characterized by a pathology related to a particular sexual orientation?

    Surely both those who think homosexuality had nothing to do with the crisis and those who think it did want the answer to the question. So why did no one ask it? Perhaps because they knew what the answer would be.

  • Do you think it might not be in the best manners yourself to show up someplace for the first time and insult everybody right off the bat? Just saying.

    That the book got a favorable review in National Catholic Reporter is no surprise. The newspaper may call itself Catholic, but the content is nearly always heterodox and openly dissents from Church teaching. That they would be pro-gay and anti-celibacy is no surprise.

    An NCR endorsement is no prize, not in my book.