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Tee:

I think you may have hit on a big part of the problem when you say that sex needs better definition. As a nation we are so conflicted, confused, befuddled, and well anal about this topic. We view sex as something rather dirty and yet at the same time sacred. It is strange how we have taken this gift - such a big part of our humanity and demeaned it. We have turned it into a commodity, as a means of control, as a way to punish, as a way to use. All self-directed - all taking - using another to satisfy self.

Love is not self-directed but directed towards the other... not a taking but a giving and sex is an expression of that love - and it is also or I believe should be a form of shared commitment.... a mutual giving of self between two people.

Celibacy is the same type of commitment but simply a different expression of it perhaps. This is why I have a problem with enforced celibacy. I simply do not believe that all priests are necessarily called to this commitment. It is something that should be left between them and God. Meddling in His affairs always makes me a little nervous.

It is not so much sex that is the problem but what we do with it... how we use or misuse this gift, this part of our humanity. Not so much what we do as why we do it or as a friend once said, I don't want to be in a relationship if Christ is not there too.

Ok... I'll shut up now..(grin)
Peace,
Wanda
 
Posts: 278 | Location: Pennslyvania | Registered: 12 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just thought I'd add a few formal definitions to this ongoing discussion....

pedophilia--Sexual attraction felt by an adult toward a child. (p. 1007, The American Heritage College dictionary, Third Edition)

celibacy--remaining unmarried as part of a religious vocation......Christianity: Being unmarried, as well as abstaining from all sexual relations, is a requirement of male and female Christian monastic life. Roman Catholic parish priests are celibate; Orthodox priests are not.......(p. 191, The Harper Collins Dictionary of Religion)

I think sexual involvement happens whenever there is voluntary contact with the "private parts" of another. Obviously, that includes oral sex.

This definition still does not specifically rule out mutual self-touch or phone intimacies. I am guessing that the Church has a specific list somewhere of exact acts that are prohibited. It should be reviewed. Also, there's so much more to sexual involvement than just physical contact with
'private parts.' Reducing it to that level leaves
enormous areas open to exploitation.

Perhaps, we should start a thread about the sexual teachings of the Church in general without a focus on pedophilia.

thanks phil.

tee
 
Posts: 203 | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Celibacy is the same type of commitment but simply a different expression of it perhaps. This is why I have a problem with enforced celibacy. I simply do not believe that all priests are necessarily called to this commitment. It is something that should be left between them and God. Meddling in His affairs always makes me a little nervous.

Beautiful Wanda!

Yes, I also have a problem with enforced celibacy.
I, too, do not believe that all priests are called to this commitment. Trying to force it on people can cause serious problems. I think that celibacy is something that comes from within, not from without.....just like a genuine vocation to the priesthood. I also think being a priest is something that comes from within, not magically from without....but that is a different topic.

I also don't think that all of these things come
immediately, prepackaged, so to speak because one says the certain 'magic' words. Wink Perhaps, for some, celibacy grows from within as a progression.
For others, it may be immediate and lasting. I am guessing that, for most, it is a daily decision.

There are correlates to all this in marriage.

What bothers me most is when the Church tries to
force sexual practices that were meant for sexual athletes down the throats of people who are not ready, psychologically or emotionally, for that degree of vigor. No ejaculations may be great for someone in the fullness of the kundalini process but it may be horrible for someone not at all interested in developing this aspect of their
spirituality/sexuality. People are unique and at different places on the continuum. That should be respected.

Please don't shut up Wanda.....What do you think?
I know I'm digressing a bit here...sorry phil....

tee
 
Posts: 203 | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Uraqt and Wanda, no one is forcing anyone to become a priest. One of the requirements is celibacy, and that's hardly a hidden requirement. If one is not prepared to make the commitment to celibacy, one ought not become a priest.

Granted, these are separate calls--to priesthood and/or celibacy. Some might feel called to the priesthood but not celibacy (that was my predicament), in which case s/he should not become an ordained minister in the RC Church. Some might feel called to celibacy, but not ordained ministry; these obviously should not marry, not even out of a strong social duty to do so.

Celibacy has been strongly emphasized in the RC church since the 4th century and required for all ordained ministers since the 12th. This is not a new development; maybe pedophilia isn't either, but who knows?

BTW, pedophilia is by no means confined to the RC priesthood. I saw a recent report on TV that coaches, bus drivers, teachers, and even a couple of judges have been implicated. There's a much broader problem with sexuality here than an RC church situation.

------------

Uraqt, I grant that my definition of sexual involvement was not all-encompassing. Phone sex and other forms of involvement not utilizing physical touch do qualify. I think we all know what it is, really, Bill Clinton notwithstanding. Wink

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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tee
What bothers me most is when the Church tries to force sexual practices that were meant for sexual athletes down the throats of people who are not ready, psychologically or emotionally, for that degree of vigor.......... People are unique and at different places on the continuum. That should be respected.

I have to agree with you Tee. St. Paul in the first letter to the Corinthians addresses this.... he states that while celibacy is perhaps a better way, it is not required. (1 Cor. 25-28) ... and this was written at a time when the church felt the second coming was imminent. It should be an option, maybe even held up as an ideal, but not made a necessity.... a condition to serve as Priest.

In a way, it seems rather presumptuous for me to be talking about this.... an Anglican woman which means that I will not be confronted with this problem personally. It would be really interesting to hear what Roman priests honestly think about this. I do know that we have some in the Episcopal church that served in the Roman until celibacy became too much of a problem... now happily married Anglican priests. With the shortage of clergy - maybe I should be arguing the other side (grin).

Question.... what does someone do if they feel called to serve as Priest but are already married?

Ok... all of that said, I am not sure that the problem of pedophilia has much to do with the issue of celibacy. Maybe it is more the opportunities and the shield that the priesthood presents.... or the gift of forgiveness that the church holds out to the world. It would be interesting to find out what it was the drew these people to the church and the priesthood to begin with. Could it have been a "cry for help"? Maybe if we knew why they came, the church would be in a better position to address the problem.

So many questions... so few answers!

Peace,
Wanda
 
Posts: 278 | Location: Pennslyvania | Registered: 12 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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... If one is not prepared to make the commitment to celibacy, one ought not become a priest.

I think there are sincere people who are called to be priests in the Roman Catholic church who are not called to celibacy.....also, if priesthood is seen as emanating from within,then the external confirmation of it is simply a recognition of what is already there....sort of like marriage....the couple marry each other long before the priest says the words.....the words simply make public what already exists.

Granted, these are separate calls--to priesthood and/or celibacy....

And there are combined calls to priesthood and to
marriage... Smiler

BTW, pedophilia is by no means confined to the RC priesthood. I saw a recent report on TV that coaches, bus drivers, teachers, and even a couple of judges have been implicated. There's a much broader problem with sexuality here than an RC church situation.

Yes, good point, Phil. However, I recently read a suggestion that many pedophiles may enter the priesthood because they think it is a way to avoid sex but then they see that it doesn't work.
So, I think there may be a subtle correlation between pedophilia and the Church's call of celibacy. I am also guessing that the percentages are proportionally higher in the population of priests.

------------

Uraqt, I grant that my definition of sexual involvement was not all-encompassing. Phone sex and other forms of involvement not utilizing physical touch do qualify. I think we all know what it is, really, Bill Clinton notwithstanding. Wink

Phil, I don't know the ages of your sp readers.
However, if there is one child out there who is being currently molested by a priest and doesn't understand exactly what that means, we should be very clear about it. Perhaps, they have no one to turn to with questions as to what is or is not appropriate and reading it here would be invaluable to them in deciding to seek help.

Oral sex does not mean kissing each others mouths.
It doesn't mean oral like in reading either. It does mean touching each others private parts with
mouths, tongues, etc.

thanks phil.

tee
 
Posts: 203 | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Question.... what does someone do if they feel called to serve as Priest but are already married?

Wanda, my guess would be that they could convert to the Orthodox Church or the Episcopal Church or another denomination that accepts married priests.
If they decide to stay in Roman Catholicism, they
could try to develop their own sort of ministry, like Phil. However, not all have the resources or
the inclination to do so.

They could also simply minister without any formal declarations or formal recognition of it.....many women do this.

I think there are many more 'priests' out there than are formally recognized by any institutions.
If we do stop a moment and focus on the aspect of priesthood that originates within, there are more than enough 'priests' of all genders to meet the needs of the people. I think a lot of it comes down to the broadness or narrowness of definitions again.....and how we see the role of priest.


It would be interesting to find out what it was the drew these people to the church and the priesthood to begin with. Could it have been a "cry for help"?

As I mentioned in another post, I read that celibacy may be a way for the pedophile to try to avoid sex altogether. However, it obviously doesn't work.

I think this avoidance of sex may apply in other circumstances, too. That would explain why
so many of the teachings in this area need to be rethought and revised in the light of contemporary understanding. I don't think people who choose to avoid sex because of problematic issues within can be entirely trusted to formulate healthy policies about it.

my two cents.....

tee
 
Posts: 203 | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Re. call to priesthood: maybe it would help to state that it's not simply enough that one feel called to be a priest or nun or whatever. One must also be "called-by" the religious community, diocese, institutional Church, etc. A vocation of this kind is not merely a private matter between a person and God which the Christian community is supposed to accommodate. The community is part of the call/discernment process.

At this time in history (and for centuries prior), to be called to priesthood in the RC Church means to be called to embrace celibacy as well. If one cannot do both, then there is an apsect of this vocational inclination that does not fit with the RC priesthood, at which point one ought to pursue other options.

Also, there is very rarely a call to priesthood per se. It's usually more general than that--a desire to serve the Lord by preaching, ministering to the sick, teaching, etc., and the priesthood presents itself as one compelling way to do this. It's not the only way, however, and the Spirit will surely lead those who wish to be generous in responding to numerous outlets for doing so.

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Phil:
Re. call to priesthood: maybe it would help to state that it's not simply enough that one feel called to be a priest or nun or whatever. One must also be "called-by" the religious community, diocese, institutional Church, etc. A vocation of this kind is not merely a private matter between a person and God which the Christian community is supposed to accommodate. The community is part of the call/discernment process.


Jesus didn't have a formal community when he started preaching.

At this time in history (and for centuries prior), to be called to priesthood in the RC Church means to be called to embrace celibacy as well. If one cannot do both, then there is an apsect of this vocational inclination that does not fit with the RC priesthood, at which point one ought to pursue other options.

This sounds like a bunch of bull from someone in the hierarchy. Philip!!!! You shouldn't repeat stuff like that.

Also, there is very rarely a call to priesthood per se. It's usually more general than that--a desire to serve the Lord by preaching, ministering to the sick, teaching, etc., and the priesthood presents itself as one compelling way to do this. It's not the only way, however, and the Spirit will surely lead those who wish to be generous in responding to numerous outlets for doing so.

Of course...while the others, who agree with an age old tradition that is wrong, of course, get everything handed down to them organizationally.....get all the support, both emotional and financial....and all the recognition.

I don't buy this line of thinking....

tee
 
Posts: 203 | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Jesus didn't have a formal community when he started preaching.

That's true, but he wasn't part of any particular school. Anyone can do as Jesus did--start preaching, ministering, etc. You don't have to be ordained or a member of a religious community. But if you do want to do that as part of the institution, there are conditions which have to be met. That's the way things are, and so no one should pursue the priesthood in the RC Church if they're not willing to be celibate.

This is not to say that the Church shouldn't re-visit that rule, or that it's not a hardship for some. I made no comment on that, and would personally like to see celibacy an optional condition.

Your comment, who agree with an age old tradition that is wrong, of course, get everything handed down to them organizationally.....get all the support, both emotional and financial....and all the recognition goes beyond the focus of this discussion and seems excessively harsh.

Truth be told, most priests are very fine men who are sincere in their love of God and service of the Church--the people of God. I don't think too many of them would say they feel they get a lot of recognition or emotional and financial support for their work.

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This is not to say that the Church shouldn't re-visit that rule, or that it's not a hardship for some. I made no comment on that, and would personally like to see celibacy an optional condition.

Agreed. Me, too.


Your comment, [i]who agree with an age old tradition that is wrong, of course, get everything handed down to them organizationally.....get all the support, both emotional and financial....and all the recognition goes beyond the focus of this discussion and seems excessively harsh.[/i]

Phil, I think it would be good for you to spend some time talking with the parents of children who have been violated by pedophile priests and betrayed by their Bishops. Your comments about my comments seem excessively harsh.

Truth be told, most priests are very fine men who are sincere in their love of God and service of the Church--the people of God. I don't think too many of them would say they feel they get a lot of recognition or emotional and financial support for their work.

Do you see yourself alone as the Truth teller?
My perspective of Truth counts, too!

Wasn't there an old Bing Crosby movie about the
priest as a fine man? Well, it's an old movie perpetuating a myth that makes most people feel comfortable. I think the reality, for most, lies somewhere in between. Priests are people. Period.

I doubt very much that most people who have been violated by priests, their brother priests who remain silent, and their Bishops would ever share
your viewpoint.

Thanks for letting me share mine.

tee

ps.....Phil, I think your style of pretending to be Truth teller is not a very effective one that enhances the sharing of
experiences and Truth by each member of shalomplace. I would think our Truths are varied and multi-faceted and it would be important to listen carefully to each person as he/she shares their perspective, rather than judge their perspective and find it wanting. I don't think this approach is really conducive to good
discussion.
 
Posts: 203 | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There are so many informative articles in the news today about the pedophile crisis that I wanted to call some of them to your attention...

All of the following were found with the help of yahoo.com

http://www.latimes.com/news/pr...eadlines%2Dfrontpage

Quote from the above article:

"For perspective, some activists offer a venerated priest's warning about the clergy's sexual abuse of minors: "Unless the [Catholic Church] intervenes as soon as possible, there is no doubt but that this unbridled wickedness, even though it should wish to be restrained, will be unable to stop on its headlong course."

Those are the words of St. Peter Damian, a Benedictine monk writing in the 11th century."

Looks like this has been going on for quite a long time....

Also, the following list of articles can also be found at yahoo.com......

- Pope Comments on Church Sex Scandals, but Only Vaguely - NY Times (registration req'd) (Mar 21, 2002)
- Pope Breaks Silence on Sex Abuse - Associated Press (Mar 21, 2002)
- Bishop delayed disciplining priest - San Francisco Chronicle (Mar 21, 2002)
- US Catholics Disillusioned Over Priests' Sex Abuse - Reuters. (Mar 21, 2002)
- Pope denounces 'evil' sex priests - BBC (Mar 21, 2002)
- Defrocked S.F. priest released from jail - San Francisco Chronicle (Mar 21, 2002)
- Local priests to read missive from top cleric - Denver Post (Mar 21, 2002)
- Must a priest's celibacy be condition of his work? - Baltimore Sun (Mar 21, 2002)
- Many Catholics See Coverup in Abuse Scandal - Washington Post (Mar 21, 2002)
- Pope Calls Priestly Pedophilia 'Grievous Evil' - Reuters. (Mar 21, 2002)
- Pope Speaks Out on Sex Scandal - Associated Press (Mar 21, 2002)
- Bishop's apology was 'too little, too late' - Irish Times (Mar 21, 2002)
- Priests' Victims Feel Vindicated - Los Angeles Times (Mar 21, 2002)
- Catholics critical of church's response - USA Today (Mar 21, 2002)

Also, an article on Celibacy from the Catholic Encyclopedia can be found at:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03481a.htm

What a wonderful cross-section of information!

Hope this is helpful to someone.

tee
 
Posts: 203 | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Very good post, WC. Thanks!<br /><br />and uraqt, what, specifically, did I say that bothers you so much? It might be more helpful to discuss that than to throw out broadsides like Phil, I think your style of pretending to be Truth teller is not a very effective one that enhances the sharing of experiences and Truth by each member of shalomplace. I'm not sure what you're talking about. If you're referring to my pointing out that celibacy is a requirement in the Catholic Church for priesthood, that's not merely my opinion. That's the truth.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Phil,
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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and uraqt, what, specifically, did I say that bothers you so much?

Oh, Phil, thanks for asking about it but that was two days ago and it's gone as far as I'm concerned....don't worry about it. No, it wasn't about celibacy. It was about the image....but it's not worth getting into a big discussion over it, so, just forget it, ok?

Hey, what do you all think of the Pope attributing the pedophile crisis to supernatural forces of evil? Didn't he say something like that? I thought it was because of a group of very sick people. Interesting... how we see it will determine if it's treated as crime, sickness, or sin. I think years worth of treating it as sin just didn't work. Hey, all, what do you think?

Hugs Philip...

tee
 
Posts: 203 | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Making the stand clear about Pedophilia to differentiate it from other forms of sexual misconduct : pedophilia is a mental disease, the consequence of which is criminal behaviour resulting in long term psychological damage to its victims. It cannot be cured, it can only be contained through insights gained in long drawn professional help. Discussion of other sexual issues belongs in a different forum. Who would like to begin? With the upcoming serious discussion in the Vatican about celibacy and priesthood, screening for homosexuals among those aspiring for the priesthood etc., it is a hot topic. Personally I'm 100% supportive of married catholic priests - the norm before the year 1139. That will open doors for perfectly normal men to aspire for priesthood, without it being a calling only for hermit types or a haven for those with sexual problems. The catholic church desperately needs a revival. I feel terrible when I see my siblings along with their families drifting to the Baptists and Pentacostals with the argument that the catholic church didn't care enough for their spiritual and social needs.
 
Posts: 158 | Registered: 14 February 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Personally I'm 100% supportive of married catholic priests - the norm before the year 1139. That will open doors for perfectly normal men to aspire for priesthood, without it being a calling only for hermit types or a haven for those with sexual problems.

I wonder if that's a fair assessment of ALL priests, although I have no doubt that �hermit types� is fair description of some. It�s quite remarkable, really, when somebody willingly (as opposed to those who couldn�t get a girlfriend even if they tried) sets aside their sexuality in service to their God and to their fellow believers. But in either case, I�d hate to cast aspersions on the celibate as being freaks of some kind � as �not normal.� It�s certainly not normal to have the discipline it takes to make that kind of commitment.

Speaking as a non-Catholic, I don�t particularly see the benefits of celibacy. I consider sexuality to be as natural (and good!) to our condition as breathing. I�ve never been one to ascribe sexuality (as opposed to sexual misconduct) as something that is inherently evil. It is taking part in the act of creation! Buddhism also considers sexuality as an impediment to higher awareness. It is considered just one more thing that a person grasps onto or clings to that gets in the way of non-attachment and ultimately enlightenment. But is it the sex or is it the pursuit of sex that is the problem?

I very much agree with something a wise football coach once said about his players as he explained his curfew and other rules that applied before a game. He said it wasn�t the sex that could undermine a player�s performance; it was the going out all night looking for it that did. The fact that sex is pleasurable is no good reason to me to dispense with it. It is as natural to our bodies as the elimination of wastes, which also �feels good.� I would no more have somebody stop going to the bathroom as I would have them stop having sex!

Of course Catholicism has its reasons for the celibacy of priests that are beyond my knowledge. But part of the problem is probably an institutional one, and one that is not unique to the Catholic Church. If the Priesthood is an important role in society then just consider the importance of the role of teachers. And in most school districts it is near impossible to get rid of an incompetent teacher. Teachers� unions usually squawk at any notion of being held academically accountable once they�re in the union. A threat to one is somehow considered a threat to all even while they go on grading and judging their own students, sometimes being responsible for holding them back a grade or even for their expulsion.

No doubt if membership in the Church takes a big enough hit then something might be done simply to change appearances. But pedophilia is not unique to celibate types, nor exclusive to men. If pedophilia occurs and there is any problem whatsoever in dealing with it (as there certainly is now) then you�re going to have the same problems but under different circumstances, whether involving non-celibate Priests or women Priests. One could say that any profession that puts adults in contact with children (and which gives them a certain authority over them) is going to be at risk of attracting a certain type of individual.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Brad Nelson: "I wonder if it is a fair assessment of ALL priests, although I have no doubt that "hermit types" is fair description of some".

You got me TOTALLY WRONG there! What I really meant to say was that the priesthood would then become an option for those who are not willing to put up the heroic effort of remaining celibate all their lives in the same way the priesthood attracts those in non-catholic churches. I would be guilty of the greatest injustice if I meant that only hermits and those with sexual problems are to be found among the catholic clergy. I have had the good fortune to know some really wonderful priests, who DID NOT HAVE ANY SEXUAL PROBLEMS and were not hermit types, who would have made wonderful husbands and fathers and yet chose the priesthood in order to serve God, paying celibacy as the price for it. My question is only : why should only one way be open to serve God as a priest? The Bible tells me that although Paul didn't, all of Jesus' handpicked disciples - the original 11 and the one chosen in Judas' place - had wives. I agree that it is ideal if a priest is completely free of family committments to serve God and others, but is it impossible to serve God if he does have these committments?

Read the Autobiography of Gandhi and you'll know the kind of struggles a man who tries to remain celibate while living in the world goes through. He had to do it by regular fasting and praying and giving up foods he thought would increase sexual desire. The sort of 'Bramhacharya' (celibacy) you are referring to advocated by Buddha and practised by Hindu Sanyasis are those aspiring for mystical union with God. They usually lived the life of a hermit or in monasteries cut off from the rest of the world. Gandhi was aspiring for the mystical union while living in the world. Can't one have the desire to be a priest without the desire for complete mystical union with God? Can't such a vocation be just as valid and right in God's sight and serve to glorify Him? The only point that I'm trying to make is that the church should allow for all options. It is much better than making celibacy mandatory and then having priests who make a mockery of the vow, leaving the lay people confused and angry. The need for one sexual partner is legitimate and human and the catholic priest should be allowed to satisfy that legitimate human need if he chose to.
 
Posts: 158 | Registered: 14 February 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Brad Nelson: "Pedophilia is not unique to celibate types nor exclusive to men".

That Pedophilia is not unique to celibate types is well known - we have heard often enough of sexual abuse in families and sexual abuse of children in general for that. It is a certain personality type that manifests the disease - those who were abused as children themselves, emotionally infantile unable to relate and build a sexual relationship with someone in the appropriate age group, inability to control their impulses, craving for absolute power in a relationship, self-centredness with total lack of empathy for their victims. Yes it is a disease but not insanity and therefore they must be held accountable for their actions. If they will not do it themselves, those responsible must remove them from the situation that would endanger children.

Studies show that Pedophilia is unfortunately a predominatly male disease!!! The percentage of women who abuse children is negligible in comparison. I can't give you the scientific explanation, except that one presumes that because women handle children physically in the course of their caring for them as infants and children, the maternal instinct in them prevents them from experiencing children as sexual objects.

I would be very interested to know how paediatricians are guilty of pedophilia as that is definitely a profession that puts adults in contact with children. I doubt if pedophiles feel particularly attracted to the profession - the setting in which they would meet their potential victims is too structured for that. I have the feeling that it is only in professions where one has the oppportunity to influence the minds of the victims without being directly watched by other adults that the danger is great.

The solution then is to develop clear structures in all professions that would minimise such abuse and to educate the potential victims thoroughly, just as one would tell a child not to touch a hot stove.
 
Posts: 158 | Registered: 14 February 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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From Priya: Read the Autobiography of Gandhi and you'll know the kind of struggles a man who tries to remain celibate while living in the world goes through. . .

This seems as good an opportunity as any to introduce a new twist to the discussion, for the fact is that Gandhi embraced celibacy while he was still married, and he did so for the very same reason that priests and religious are supposed to commit to it: namely, to give all of his energies over to God. This is the meaning of Jesus' "becoming a celibate for the sake of the Kingdom," and there is an esoteric dimesnion to this teaching which Gandhi understood no doubt, given his acquaintance with Hinduism, where is taught that sexual energy becomes transmuted in the kundalini process into a higher form of energy that nourishes the brain and nervous system so that one can live in higher consciousness and a deeper union with God. He found celibacy in marriage helpful in that the presence of opportunity for sexual desire generated more sexual energy to transmute. In fact, after his wife died, he frequently slept with young female relatives, creating something of a scandal in the process, but my guess is there was no sexual involvement, only the arousal of the energy, which was desirable to him unto the kundalini transmutation he was seeking.

Problem is . . . not much understanding of such matters in Christianity, including the priesthood. They speak of being married to the Church, and married to God, but the energetic transmutation process isn't necessarily activated simply because one makes the proper commitments. When it is activated and given expression in some of the highly erotic writings of Catholic mystics, there is considerable embarassment about the situation.

Let's also be very clear about something else: being married doesn't resolve all sexual issues. Having sex can relieve the edginess of sexual desire, but it doesn't quench the deeper hunger of which sexual longing is only the tip of the iceberg. And if the marriage relationship isn't in good shape, sex can actually accentuate the sense of loneliness and alienation which married partners feel. As a married man in a troubled marriage recently shared with me, "I never feel so good as when my wife and I have sex, then I never feel so lonely as after." I've known such times as well, as have other marrieds on the forum, I'd guess (no, it's not "show and tell" time Smiler ).

My hunch is that pedophilia is as some of you have noted--a very specific pathology not necessarily tied to homosexuality per se, and not really well understood until recently. It seems that the mental health profession believed it was curable and advised dioceses unto this end until recently. There have been cover-ups, for sure, but what was more characteristic was treating the problem in a manner similar to alcoholism: treatment, restitution to those harmed, and reassignment when a "clean bill" was received. Note that a few former pedophiles went on to serve after treatment without further incident; some of them have been forced into resignation recently against the wishes of their parishes. Note, too, that most of the cases in the Church are from 20-30 years ago, with only a few exceptions. I'm not minimizing the problem, but I am trying to provide some perspective on the problem, the supposed solution (married priesthood, women priests, etc.), and the reason why celibacy was emphasized even by Jesus in the first place!

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You got me TOTALLY WRONG there!

Only totally? I can do MUCH better than that. Sorry we had a misunderstanding.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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wc, I agree that pedophilic acts are criminal in nature and should be treated as such. <br /><br />But my hunch is that there was a time in the Church when they were viewed as the kinds of abuses which accompany any addiction--like the alcoholic getting in fights, for example. And let's note that the Church did attempt to make resitution to the victims, although without bringing it to the attention of the State nor going public in a way that might embarass the priest and even the injured party. <br /><br />What seems really dumb, especially using the addiction paradigm, is reassigning priests to duties where involvement with youth was part of their duties. This would be akin to reassigning an alcoholic to serving as a bartender. Eeker Dumb. Dumb. Frowner And probably some kind of denial process at work.<br /><br />My view is that the clergy should be subject to the same laws as other helping professionals when it comes to reporting cases of abuse to the State. An exception might be made for information disclosed during Confession, but not much of one.<br /><br />Phil

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Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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wc wrote: "I can accept that there wasn't good information on the problem, yet the problem is more on the order of other crimes that, if committed, would prompt dismissal immediately." and also: "What I'm saying implies, at least in my own mind, that the idea of sexual exploitation of children may have been perceived by some clergy as not on the same order of other criminal assaults ... "<br /><br />Yes, wc, this problem is lot more insidious than what appears in most surface analyses. The problem IS more on the order that Canon Law, itself, apparently perceives molestation by priests as not on the same order as concubinage and civil marriage by priests.<br /><br />Richard N. Ostling, Associated Press, wrote yesterday, in the following article:Catholic church law leaves victims with little protection :
quote:
The code's canon 1395:2 specifies that sex between priests and minors is an ecclesiastical crime. Yet the 1985 code commentary stated that an initial charge of molesting "is not viewed as seriously" as "concubinage" (cohabiting with a woman) or "attempted marriage" (a priest's civil marriage, which the church does not recognize).<br /><br />The distinction is apparent because a priest involved with an adult woman is penalized with suspension, while one who molests a minor faces lesser and undefined "just penalties," the commentary says.<br /><br />The Canon Law Society produced a revised commentary in 2000 that says this about molestation: "Somewhat surprisingly, the code does not seem to view such delicts (offenses) as seriously as other violations of clerical continence."
This is not really surprising, for it comes from the same convoluted natural law approach that teaches such things ... oh, good grief ... Let us pray.<br /><br />pax tibi,<br />jb

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Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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J.B. Wow . . . damn . . .

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wc and JB: JB's last post seems the clincher to my gaze from afar. As serious as it may be for a Priest to break his vow of celibacy, no one is really "hurt" in the usual sense. But for the offense of pedophilia, where someone without questions IS hurt, to have it be dealt with as a lesser offense is incredible.<br /><br />The only rational explanation I can think of is that it is a false "common knowledge" among those in the hierarchy that sexual abuse claims are 99.9% false and are brought about by vindictive members of the Church who have some sort of grudge against a Priest. At the very least this would show an arrogance and hostility towards the laity if not outright ignorance.<br /><br />Unless the real issue is that in one instance, celibacy, a Priest breaking a well-known vow would threaten the whole structure of the Church if left unpunished. But if some kid is molested that's certainly bad, but not viewed as a threat to the power structure. Thus it would seem that, in at least certain circles, it is more important to protect the Church than the laity. I'm not Catholic and I'm not trying to be a basher of opportunity but I can see where some of you people must be scratching your heads.

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Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Phil

You wrote: "And let's note that the church did attempt to make restitution to the victims, although without bringing it to the attention of the State nor going public in a way that might embarrass the priest and even the injured party."

To my knowledge, no family member or relative of a person suspected of a criminal act is required to testify against their family member or relative. Extending that to the church, couldn't one have more understanding for the fact that the church as you wrote chose to make restitution to the victims without involving the state - that the church did not hand over the matter to civil authorities when the victim had not filed a case against them? Denial of the existence of the problem of pedophilia among priests, not offering help to the victims or the ignorance about how to deal with pedophile priests is another matter altogether.

There is much information available about the family dynamics of child sexual abuse which can easily be carried over to pedophilia and the reaction of the church. Denial is the first line of self-defense. The process is unconscious, even mothers are guilty of it even though it is their own flesh and blood they are dealing with. Victims of sexual abuse in families will tell you how mothers unconsciously act as accomplices to the crime and try to save their own skin! The whole family gets unconsciously involved in the dynamics of cover-up, leaving the victim alone, confused and helpless. It usually takes the effort of someone from outside the family to break this destructive dynamics and help the victim. A legal procedure involving public exposure causes the victim a lot of trauma in addition to the trauma it has suffered due to abuse. It is important to keep that aspect of compassion for the victim in mind while crying out for justice.

With the Pope summons to discuss this issue seriously, I trust the catholic church to come up with solutions in the best interests of the victims and the priests in need of help for their disease now that the push from outside has forced them out of their denial mode.
 
Posts: 158 | Registered: 14 February 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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