Tuesday, July 13, 2010

An Ultimate in Absurdity: Celibacy and Molestation

Some years ago, a noted comedian declared, with a straight face, that the 1969 landing on the Moon was a fake, a complete farce. Some gullible folk believed him. The scenario he painted---“it was all done with mirrors in the desert of New Mexico”—was enthusiastically gobbled up by those unsophisticated or intellectually lazy ones who are prone to have others do their thinking for them. The more bizarre the “picture”, the more delicious the gobbling. Most persons scoffed and dismissed his absurd fantasy as something frivolous at best and harmful at worst. Could anyone come up with something even more bizarre?

Well, since apparently there is no end to the human capacity to swallow the “nutty”, there is an even more wild claim. This one, likewise, non-rooted in fact, is fuelled by fantasy, and by personal agenda. It is usually verbalized in some form as the following: “If those priests who molest kids were allowed to marry, they wouldn’t molest these kids. Celibacy is the cause of the whole thing. Let them marry, have sex and molestation will stop.”

Such a perception is so unbelievably out of touch with reality that it is difficult to take it seriously. I would dismissively laugh at such an absurdity were it not so harmful to so many good living but innocent people. The absurdity lies in the colossal “non sequitur” or illogic of such an assumption. The hard fact is this. Those unfaithful priests who engaged in such filthy behavior (filthy is Pope Benedict’s word to describe their actions) were at least 80% homosexual. Generally, homosexual males are not the least bit interested in having sex with a woman. They have no interest in marriage. Homosexual predator priests usually so self-identify. Should only the celibacy ban be lifted with nothing else being done, the pattern of molestation could remain unchanged. It would be relatively the same as of the last 60 years.

And such a lifting of this ban would have relatively insignificant impact on the dedicated heterosexual priest who would continue his commitment to Christ and Christ’s people regardless of any statute. The essence of the sick behavior centers on the male/male sexual interaction which is essentially homosexual. The clumsy attempts to explain away such an identification simply reinforce the obvious fact that when men have sex with men, it is homosexual or same sex behavior. It is not merely that women are not available as in prison or military [1] situations. For the homosexual male, the sexual drive is towards males and not females—regardless of availability of attractive and good women.

It is important, if one wishes to understand what actually has happed, that one knows a basic distinction about age range. I am surprised that the media and others continue to refer to those “filthy” behaviors as “pedophile.” I say surprised because pedophile explicitly means those who are pre-pubertal, which is approximately under 12 years of age. The specific about these behaviors is that (approximately 80% of the time) the victim persons involved with these situations were adolescent, not pre-pubertal. The distinction is basic. The psychological harm is extremely significant. And different. The impact is far more scarring on young children than on teenagers. The public outrage erupted when the public perception arose that these terrible crimes were generally perpetrated on little children while in fact the crimes involved older persons. This is in no way an attempt to whitewash the evil behavior of these erring clerics but it is necessary to clarify these various factors.

When the crime involves adolescents the term is ephebophilia and can extend to include those who are up to nineteen years of age. The crimes are principally, but not exclusively, committed by those with the homosexual tendency. Since pedophile crimes are committed by both homosexual and heterosexual persons, some special interest groups try to lump all the crimes under the umbrella of pedophilia and thereby attempt to dilute the real source of most of these crimes. And the other 20% of these cases? They were heterosexual as well as homosexual. The 20% include clerical abuse of young girls and various sexual deviant behavior. All of it wrong, inappropriate and sinful. There can be no defense for any of it and it must be stopped.

The only real way of preventing such evil behavior in the future is through the recruitment process. The Vatican has, for over 20 years, insisted that admission criteria be scrupulously observed. In spite of stringent testing, the unfit have sometimes fallen through the “cracks.” This is the challenge. Make the entrance requirements strict. Set the bar high. Exclude any candidate, heterosexual or homosexual, who shows any sign of undisciplined same-sex tendency or ambiguous understanding of sexuality. Fewer are better if it means that we have good, dedicated priests who understand the Cross as the meaning in their lives and who come to serve and not be served and who are capable of profound and loving sacrifice.

For centuries, high ideals, high protocols have been articulated in seminaries and in annual priests’ retreats. For the most part, as the statistics indicate, the ideals and requirements have been remarkably and comparatively well observed. Most priests of the past 60 years have been good men whose memory has been unfairly besmirched by the terrible behavior of a comparatively few unfaithful clerics [2]. There are many problems intensified by the stresses of modern living. But to associate the two words “celibacy” and “molestation” as if there were some intrinsic connection between them is not only absurd but approximates the oxymoronic. Clearly, within the human matrix we will always have disappointments but abolishing the celibacy requirement would be the wrong and useless road to follow. It is nothing more than the proverbial “red herring.”

[1] Napoleon wrote that on some of his campaigns, his men “satisfied each other…” However, when these men returned to civilian life, they resumed their sexual lives with the opposite sex. This is a classic example of what Dr. Lionel Ovesy of Columbia University called “Pseudo-homosexuality.” This is not true of the homosexual.

[2] Statistically insignificant but horrendous in the actual quantity. One molestation alone is outrageous but several hundreds—even over a 60 year period—cries to heaven for correction. Over that time period, however, there were thousands of dedicated priests who were chaste and faithful . Out of this large N, on a statistical level the predator numbers were insignificant but enormously destructive in the harm they did to individual persons.