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There is a "basher of opportunity" dynamism that can certainly be at play in such circumstances as these. At the polar ends of our unfortunate polarizations in our Catholic family, just such charges issue forth, presently. For example: The liberals charge that conservatives are witch-hunting for homosexual priests. The conservatives charge that the liberals are taking unfair aim at celibacy and other gender-related issues. Both sides claim that pedophilia issues cannot be used to advance the other side's pet agendas. There is a grain of truth in all of these assertions and counterpoints. Everyone mourns for the children (some now adults) who were tragic victims and prays for their healing and wholeness, struggling to forgive the unforgiveable. Everyone mourns for all priests who have been unjustifiably tainted.

I DO scratch my head at this situation, in particular, but no more than I have ever scratched it concerning Catholic Moral Theology, in general, with its STUPID manualism, codifications, etc ---

Many revisit "why remain Catholic?", although I long ago figured out, for myself, there was no place else for me to go --- pretty much following Why I�m Still A Catholic by Andrew Greeley.

For me, the Catholic analogical imagination and sense of everything being sacred, the bells and smells, the myth and stories, the marriage of fides et ratio, the love of philosophy and critical realism, the appreciation for modern science, the sweeping Thomistic metaphysics and theology, the Great Mysteries of Emmanuel and emphasis on Presence, the timeless formative spiritualities of our Church doctors and fathers, the Word and Sacrament, the affirmation of the apophatic and kataphatic and of the implicit and explicit faiths --- all combine in a logically coherent, internally consistent and externally congruent whole --- best suited for ME in my unique cultural milieu, linguistically, culturally, socially, historically, politically, economically, etc

It is almost as if our Catholic garment of "prescriptions" of how to do philosophy, metaphysics, science, theology, formative spirituality and mysticism are so well-integrated into a systematically whole and seamless garment FOR ME, that I feel I'd be existentially naked should I ever cast it off. [Not to worry, Brad, Shalomplace is clothing optional, Wink in this regard.]

At the same time, it is almost as if our Catholic garment of "proscriptions", of how to do the "negative side of formative spirituality", which is Catholic Moral Theology, with its Canon Law codifications, its heritage of seminary manualism, its obsession with sexual sin and lack of parvity of matter, its uninspired interpretations of the Natural Law, being so biologistic, minimalistic and one-sidedly philosophical & deductive -- is so riddled with holes as to leave one with the impression that the Catholic Moral Theological Emperor is truly wearing no clothes!

My inventory of what we've gotten right, far outweighs, in the balance, my inventory of what we've gotten wrong. Sad thing is --- spirituality and mysticism took a real back seat in seminary training to some of the silly moral theology and manualism until very recent decades.

Just like Maslow ushered in a humanistic psychology that studied healthy folks rather than the mentally ill, just like, as Brad suggested in the now running K-Pax Thread: One of the core things about Buddhism, about Buddha really, is that it strikes me that he wasn�t so much looking for the causes of suffering as he was looking to understand why happiness wasn�t the norm --- we as Catholics need to retake the definition of Moral Theology and make it a subsection, properly deemphasized, of Spirituality. IOW, we need to spend a LOT more time and pay a LOT more attention to the prescriptive and a LOT less to the proscriptive. [I hope my parallels to what Brad said and to Maslovian psychology were not obtuse -- it's all about changing focus.]

enough,
shalom, anyway Razzer
jb
 
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Phil

You mentioned Gandhi getting young relatives/acquaintances to lie down naked next to him to test to prove his victory over sexual desire. He definitely did not have any sex with them. That is just an example of something done to the extreme, Gandhi style, not an example to be imitated. He almost got himself killed and put his son in great danger with his fanatic ideas about food too. His motives were noble all along - he was willing to pay any price to realise God, but that doesn't mean he was infallible in the methods he sometimes considered absolutely necessary.

Yes Gandhi was married when he took his vow of Bramhacharya. Buddha left his wife and son behind when he decided to leave in search of Nirvana. In zen there is the concept of returning to the marketplace after enlightenment. Although it takes many years of hard work to attain enlightenment, a zen master may or may not choose marriage. Many did choose marriage. In Hinduism there is a place for the 'Pujari', the temple priest, who is a married man and who conducts the religious rituals for the community. Isn't the role of a diocesan priest similar to that of a 'Pujari'? Don't the Christian mystics also claim that only a few are called to contemplation - that mystical union which alone can be an adequate substitute for partnership and marriage? I agree with Wanda's opinion that celibacy ought to remain an ideal, but not considered the essential criterion to serve as a priest - after all even the catholic church survived eleven centuries with married priests.

You wrote: "Being married doesn't resolve all sexual problems." That is true. Availability of food doesn't prevent anyone from developing eating disorders. Starvation however creates a whole lot of other problems, which wouldn't be there if the person had enough food. Allowing a catholic priest to marry won't solve all the sexual problems that one could develop in spite of having a sexual partner, but it does prevent the neuroses that develop as a result of having to suppress the legitimate human need of having one sexual partner.
 
Posts: 158 | Registered: 14 February 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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An excellent resource that is a most useful reference, bearing on this issue of Catholic Sexual Morality, in general, is:

Ethical Questions Relating to Sexual Morality and the Catholic Tradition by Yuri Koszarycz

and on clergy sexual abuse, in particular, is:
Clergy Sexual Abuse: Annotated Bibliography of Conceptual and Practical Resources by James S. Evinger

Basically, Catholic sexual moral theology identifies the following values to be realized in all sexual acts. Each act must be conjugal, procreative, heterosexual, unitive and consensual. Any act not meeting each of these criteria is intrinsically evil, seriously disordered and gravely dangerous.

The natural law, or essential tradition, provides the procreative and heterosexual criteria. The divine law, revealed in the commandments, provides the conjugal and consensual criteria. The unitive criterion comes from the existential tradition, which combines the insights of modern science, reflections of theologians and experiences of human beings.

Using these criteria, the use of artificial contraception within marriage fails the procreative criterion but a married couple having sex, technically, can, even when using birth control, meet all the other criteria. Masturbation fails to meet conjugal, procreative and unitive criteria. Homosexual activity fails to meet conjugal, procreative and heterosexual criteria. Someone fornicating or commiting adultery fails to meet the conjugal criterion. Of course there are other objective evils such as breaking one's marriage or celibacy vows that can come into play.

Traditional church teaching overemphasized the essential tradition, using natural law, until recent years, even to the exclusion of the existential tradition, and in it there was no parvity of matter (basically meaning that the violation of any single one of the criteria vs another was equally instrinsically disordered and gravely dangerous). A most thorough treatment of how the Natural Law informs Catholic Moral Theology can be found here: BIRTH CONTROL AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH .

It is almost as if, setting the unitive criterion aside, one could calculate how seriously sinful an individual act was by the arithmetic addition of how many individual criteria were being violated. In theory, you could take your place in hell next to history's mass murderers (and people who missed mass or ate meat on Fridays), simply for masturbating or using birth control (and masturbating clearly fails to meet more criteria). [There are a lot of technical loopholes that can make one exculpable --- one must be willful and knowledgeable, for instance.] You can almost see the type of twisted logic that can lead to the hideous conclusion that a single act of child molestation was not as serious as a priest getting married without being laicized. None of this is that simple, however, but I am afraid this glimpse I've given, using hyberbole, is far closer to the truth of the actual situation than any of us realize or would want to admit. Frowner

By all means, someone point out any errors.

Respectfully,
jb
 
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Priya, you make some good points about a lot of things, especially concerning the merits of allowing priest to marry. I view that as a separate discussion from the pedophile issue, however. I don't really think pedophilia is an acting out caused by sexually-frustrated, basically-normal, heterosexual (and even homosexual) priests. Most "healthy" priests who get too frustrated either masturbate or find a lover; these are common occurrences. And so allowing priests to marry will not really resolve the pedophilia situation--unless one of the criteria for becoming a priest would be, say, several years in a relatively healthy marriage. I think we all know that's not likely. Wink

JB, I wish I could say it ain't so to some of your points about legalisms and natural law, but I can't. The situation for confessors has always been that the Church's teaching is one thing, and pastoral practice is another. For every moral theologian who's adamant about, say, the teaching on birth control, there are 100 priest/confessors who show compassion to penitents and give them proper counsel concerning their rights in conscience.

You can recognize the attraction of objective/essentialistic approaches, however: things are more clean, defined, etc. Let a few more people with actual life experience in some of these areas have a voice in the policies and I think we'd see some changes. Back to the problem of a two-tiered Church. Mad

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Phil wrote: "You can recognize the attraction of objective/essentialistic approaches, however: things are more clean, defined, etc. Let a few more people with actual life experience in some of these areas have a voice in the policies and I think we'd see some changes."

Agreed. And, furthermore, far more than the transcendent anchorage for ethical moorings sought by some natural law proponents, its attraction, to me, lies in the very Catholic perspective that human beings are inherently sacred and good: noetically, aesthetically and ethically, aspiring to truth and beauty and goodness. Despite our Adamic fall and whatever its epistemical, aesthetical and ethical impacts, human beings are existentially oriented, independent of Revelation, to the very theological imperatives made known through Revelation. In that regard, I must continue to side with Thomas Aquinas and not with Calvin or Luther.

After all, and of perhaps over-riding importance, to me , this fundamental Catholic approach is what also affirms implicit faith and grounds the anthropological methods in our transcendental theology. This approach makes our Catholic-Buddhist and Catholic-Hindu dialogues fruitful. Yes, there is MUCH attraction in objective/essentialistic approaches. What I advocate is more cognizance of existentialistic approaches. Inherent instincts and philosophical reasoning have normative force. Human statutes have normative force. Divine Revelation has normative force (and its interpretation is problematical due to cultural, lingusitic, historical, exegetical, social, political and other human realities --- is why we don't ascribe it the most force, necessarily). Evolutionary, existential and experiential factors have normative force. Changes in policies should derive from all of these normative forces if we are to ever be considered a reliable, credible and authoritative source of morality in the modern world. This is not a caving-in to post-modern subjectivism but, rather, would be a wonderful affirmation of everything universal about our rich and catholic tradition. Cool

Agreed.
jb
 
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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". And so allowing priests to marry will not really resolve the pedophilia situation--"

It won't resolve the problem of itself, but priests will be allowed to marry when the church has a healthier view of sex and sexuality. That will create a whole different climate within which to educate priests, and how the laity are pastored, especially in these areas. And that brings us back to Phil's two-level system as the heart of the dysfunction.
 
Posts: 38 | Location: kansas | Registered: 22 January 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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J.B.,

Wow . . . damn . . .


Actually, what I learned today from a priest friend who has some knowledge of Canon law is that a civil law marriage or concubinage situation is considered a worse offense than molestation because it indicates a greater degree of committed infidelity to the vow of celibacy, not because it is a more heinous offense. When you think about it, that's absolutely correct, so long that one is not considering these offenses in terms of injustice to the parties harmed. It seems the Code in question is not addressing that particular angle of the issue. Leave it to the media to give a bad spin to things, however.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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so long that one is not considering these offenses in terms of injustice to the parties harmed Frowner

ah, and there is the crux

it is further enlightening to ask which offenses the code considers de facto the most serious vis a vis the penalties involved, for instance, those of Shanley or those of our sisters and brothers who have been excommunicated for a laundry list of less heinous delicts

there is, ironically, an implicit fundamental option/orientation approach which the canon law commentary seems to be appealing to? for instance, in looking at an isolated instance versus a pattern of behavior? and i could affirm this --- but where does one find support for this type of approach in the curial part of the magisterium, nowadays? Wink

the article did allow some nuancing in the same direction you described but i think the negative spin is still substantively on the mark

but i get your point

cheers,
jb
 
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Phil

I thought I made it clear that pedophilia is a mental disease which results in criminal behaviour to be just as commonly found among married men - so celibacy and pedophilia are only related in the sense that perhaps some men with pedophile tendencies choose the priesthood, perhaps to keep their disease in check with spiritual strength, while others with pedophile tendencies choose other professions which bring them in contact with children.

I had in fact suggested that somebody open a new thread to discuss other issues related to sexuality but not to pedophilia which is a class by itself, it being a mental disease manifesting in criminal behaviour with long term damage done to its victims.
 
Posts: 158 | Registered: 14 February 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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JB, I think we have one of those situations where it might help to actually go and count the horse's teeth instead of wondering how many it has. Wink I'd like to see what Canon Law actually says in those numbered codes and why. We both know that Catholic moral theology already condemns illicit sexual contacts of all kinds, and common sense tells me that this applies to priests as well. So I don't think there's ever been any doubt about pedophilic acts by priests being very seriously wrong. Those C.L. codes are usually written in reference to certain situations to inform Church leaders in their decision-making. Whatever is written there doesn't "trump" the very clear condemnations of all sorts of sexual misconduct found all throughout Catholic teaching.

I'll see if I can find the codes in question and any commentaries on them; maybe you or others can do the same. Right now, my mistrust of the media is at an all-time high, and that includes even the Catholic media. "Bashing opportunities" such as you referred to in another post seem to run rampant as anyone with any pet peeves about Catholicism seems to be seizing the moment to try to connect the dots between pedophilia and their peeve. Goodness knows there's enough real evil out there worthy of condemnation without adding bogus issues--not that this one necessarily is, of course. Time to "count the teeth." Big Grin

-----------

I thought I made it clear that pedophilia is a mental disease which results in criminal behaviour to be just as commonly found among married men - so celibacy and pedophilia are only related in the sense that perhaps some men with pedophile tendencies choose the priesthood, perhaps to keep their disease in check with spiritual strength, while others with pedophile tendencies choose other professions which bring them in contact with children.

I had in fact suggested that somebody open a new thread to discuss other issues related to sexuality but not to pedophilia which is a class by itself, it being a mental disease manifesting in criminal behaviour with long term damage done to its victims.


Yes. Maybe I was mixing up your post with someone else's, as it seems to me there have been a number suggesting that allowing priests to marry (which you did recommend) was one solution to preventing pedophile cases (which you didn't suggest). My bad. Frowner I think you've made some very good points on this topic.

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Phil wrote: "JB, I think we have one of those situations where it might help to actually go and count the horse's teeth instead of wondering how many it has. I'd like to see what Canon Law actually says in those numbered codes and why. We both know that Catholic moral theology already condemns illicit sexual contacts of all kinds, and common sense tells me that this applies to priests as well. So I don't think there's ever been any doubt about pedophilic acts by priests being very seriously wrong. Those C.L. codes are usually written in reference to certain situations to inform Church leaders in their decision-making. Whatever is written there doesn't "trump" the very clear condemnations of all sorts of sexual misconduct found all throughout Catholic teaching."

Those are excellent points, Phil. We do both know that, in Catholic moral theology, virtually every sexual sin is mortal Wink but that, at the same time, the road to exculpability is wide Smiler

Phil continued: "I'll see if I can find the codes in question and any commentaries on them; maybe you or others can do the same."

Here's my quick search; just browse for the canon # 1395 in these urls, below. My quick reading is that, although most bishops are indeed going to need more authority to deal effectively with this problem than that currently available to them in canon law, there may be many cases where laicization petitions could have and should have been instituted but were not. For all the reasons I cited before, regarding the imbalance between essentialistic and existentialistic approaches in Catholic teachings on sexual morality, I'm not optimistic about the very foundations on which the canon laws have been codified. Still, for all the reasons you cited, I absolutely must agree with you that there is far more danger of this becoming a bogus issue in the secular press than there is promise of it getting prudently aired out and fruitfully resolved.

For those who want to "count the teeth":

http://www.advocateweb.org/hope/pdf/evingerbiblio.pdf

http://www.americancatholic.or.../Nov1996/Wiseman.asp

http://www.cwnews.com/Browse/1996/09/2225.htm

http://www.thelinkup.com/execsum2.html

http://www.hbgdiocese.org/cano...b_Version_Policy.doc

http://www.olph.com/1400.htm

http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a45 0044f331/f0f0735b247a5eeec125692f004fecd2/$FILE/G0042493.pdf

http://www.peak.org/~snapper/D...port/Doyle_Page1.htm

Warning: this can be depressing Frowner

pax tibi,
jb
 
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I want to be clear that I'm not saying married clergy would solve the problem of pedophilia. As priya says, that is a disease separate from the issue of married clergy. I'm thinking that a church that would allow marriage of its clergy would finally have a more sane, healthy view of sex and sexuality. Therefore, the seminaries would be healthier and aware and it would be harder for unlealthy men to be there. Pedophiles have been getting in 'under the radar' because the radar was faulty.

As for the comments on hope for a real change of heart amongst the men in red, and the media reporting that the cardinals will try to blame the problem of homosexuality: both areas look bleak for real truth. In Andrew Greeley's column (I know he is part of the media, but I think a little more truthful), he writes that is is hard to believe in the sincerity of Law and Egan while in Law's diocese there is still an active countersuit against the parents of the victim, claimin that they are responsible for not teaching their child to beware of strange males. And Egan's lawyer's are putting up an argument that the priests don't really work for the church.
as jb says...let us pray
Ana
 
Posts: 38 | Location: kansas | Registered: 22 January 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks, JB, for understanding my point. And thanks for all those links. I'll print some of them out and take the ones dealing with Canon Law to bed with me to insure that sleep comes quickly. Who needs melatonin when you can read about Canon Law, right? Wink

The issue of homosexuality in priesthood has come up several times on this thread and is a front-burner topic in the Vatican discussions. As priya and others noted, pedophiles aren't necessarily homosexuals; just what percentage are, however? Also, it seems that one of the issues is the disproportionately high number of homosexuals in Catholic seminaries. A priest friend told me yesterday that in another Catholic diocese he's close to, 7 out of 8 priests ordained there during the past two years are homosexuals. They aren't in active relationships, of course, but given that kind of high percentage, it seems that "straights" have become increasingly wary of the priesthood. It's becoming known as a vocation for homosexuals, and that's no more good than the contrary.

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

Related topic: often, celibacy is blamed for a decline in vocations to the priesthood and religious life. But prior to Vatican II, there was no shortage of priests, and religious orders were constantly building larger residences to accommodate new members. Celibacy was just as sure a requirement then as now, and my guess is that there were just as many adjustment problems and even molestation incidents per capita then as now.

Vocations declined after Vatican II, however, and the Council is often blamed for contributing to this--especially its retention of celibacy as a requirement for priesthood and religious life.

I've seen this written in a few places, but not many, and as it's an idea that makes sense to me, I'll air it here: the reasons priestly and religious vocations declined is not because of Vatican II, but because the Baby Boomers had "come of age."

Think about it. Who are the prime candidates after the Council ended in (1963?). How was this generation different? Why might men from this generation be not as attracted to priesthood? Consider the rise in materialism, the loss of respect for authority, the release of Humane Vitae, and other diminishing issues. The Church could have allowed marriage and even provided knock-out brides for this (my) generation and we still would have opted out.

Now what's today's generation like? Why are more being drawn to the priesthood--especially more homosexuals? New thread, perhaps?

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

I meet with several Protestant ministers for spiritual direction, and they have all stated that they recognize the wisdom of mandatory celibacy for professional ministry. Their struggles in finding a balance between ministry and marriage/family are many; the divorce rate is high. As St. Paul noted in first century Christianity, a man who is married has to serve his wife and so can't serve the Church as fully. There's no getting around this, no matter how valid the point about marriage giving priests more experiential familiarity with the struggles of the people whom they serve. This consideration along with the point I made earlier about how celibacy can provide a context for total surrender of all one's energies to God still points to celibacy as a very compelling lifestyle for ordained ministers. Even if marriage were allowed, I believe celibacy would still be emphasized as the "better choice" for the ordained.

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi all...
This is an issue we discussed at an Episcopalian gathering last night. Most there are pursuing some form of ordained ministry and were curious as to problems and their resolutions within our church. None of us are naive enough to think that this is only a Catholic issue. This is what I learned. The Episcopal church views all forms of illicit sexual contact by priests consensul or not as an abuse of their power and definite cause for disciplinary measures... including removal from ministry. Is the case of a priest having an affair with a member of his staff and the case of a priest engaged with a child handled differently? Probably... the first having consequences only in regards to his position - his serving within the church, the second adding the "legal" consequences - sin vs sin and crime. What I understand is that the church views both/all as sinful and morally and ethically incompatable with a call to serve. Perhaps what enables us to deal with/address/uncover them is our organizational structure... the fact that more power is given to the laity than seems to be the case in the Catholic tradition.
I struggle with the idea of celibacy for clergy.... and the ordination of women for the very reasons you stated Phil. Watching our priest who is a woman struggle with the responsibilities of raising a family and her position - well it is not an easy balance to maintain and I think that there are times when either the family or the flock suffers. On the other hand, who am I to say that a woman cannot be called to ministry and that she will not be given the gifts needed to fulfill both roles? This is why I tend towards the view that while celibacy is perhaps the ideal, it is not or should not be the expectation... required. Both marriage and celibacy bring their own perspectives into the church - their own understandings of life and relationship and maybe both should have their place. Perhaps a celibacy not forced or required would have more meaning, be a richer and more fulfilling offering to our Lord being freely given - not only for the priest but also for the church as a whole. It's a difficult question.
Peace,
Wanda
 
Posts: 278 | Location: Pennslyvania | Registered: 12 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ana, I think you're right that Cardinal Law, in particular, has a long way to go to regain credibility. Frankly, I don't see how he can overcome the perception that he's more willing to protect priests than youth. Apparently, he believes he's still more of an asset than a liablility to the people of his diocese, which also speaks volumes. Mad

And wc, I totally follow your point about boomer's making a break with tribal/mythico-emotional consciousness. I think that's definitely the larger context of the "authority issue" I pointed out, especially insofar as the leaders of the Church are viewed as heads of a kind of spiritual family. Not trying to beat a "dead horse" here, I do believe the Humane vitae issue was a watershed in this regard, for here was an instance of the Pope rejecting the 35-4 vote of his own Birth Control Commission, which had studied and dialogued for years, even interviewing over 3,000 married couples during the course of their work. The Commission seemed to represent what the spirit of Vatican II was recommending, and Humane Vitae seemed to be a rejection of this--the Pope telling the Church what it should believe rather than clarifying what we actually believe, which is the appropriate role of the Pope in such disputed matters. Catholicism has never again been the same, and I'm sure many boomers decided they wanted nothing to do with such an authority-protecting institution.<br /><br />I don't follow your point about homosexuals being more open about their orientation, as "the norm" and general expectation has pretty much always been that the majority of priests are celibate heterosexuals and so the heterosexuals aren't facing the stigmas about this as the homosexuals are. What we are seeing in seminaries now is a disproportionately high percentage of homosexuals in priestly formation in comparison to the population at large. I think that is a matter of concern, without wishing to imply anything negative about our homosexual seminarians. It would not be a good thing for the Catholic priesthood to become identified as a vocation primarily for homosexuals. But that seems to be what is happening.<br /><br />Wanda, you wrote: Perhaps what enables us to deal with/address/uncover them is our organizational structure... the fact that more power is given to the laity than seems to be the case in the Catholic tradition. That's such a significant difference indeed. I noted with interest that the Cardinals meeting this week called for more participation from the laity on boards and committees evaluating abuse claims. Such mention seems to be missing in the resolutions and policy drafts emerging from the meetings, however. Frowner <br /><br />Phil

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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I think the catholic church is making themselves look worse if they are not willing to adopt a zero tolerance process. Anything else would seem to say that it's ok to commit 1 act of molestation against a child but if you do it multiple times, then you will pay the consequences. This is absurd! Don't they realize that people who behave in this manner don't just do it once but are repeat offenders? I have my thoughts on why they wouldn't be willing to adopt a zero tolerance but I would like to hear from someone else.
 
Posts: 31 | Registered: 23 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I seem to recall but couldn't locate a reference, here at Shalomplace UBB, that distinguished pedophilia vs pederasty or ephebophilia. Isn't this an important distinction? Do the psychological theories and clinical facts indicate different origins? treatments? prognoses? Does the apparent pattern of the victims mostly being post-pubescent teenage males mean anything vis a vis prevention of this problem? It seems like we can go far astray if we don't count the teeth in this particular horse's mouth.

jb
 
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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JB, I'm not sure I've heard of those definitions. Tell us more.

Steve, I don't think anyone's really arguing against a zero tolerance policy where there is clearly a case of molesting a minor. The only cautions I've heard bishops making is that any priest accused of molestation is entitled to some kind of due process. It's not simply enough to accuse a priest; recent incidents where priests and even bishops were wrongly accused makes that clear.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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RE: ephebophilia - The following url has as fair a presentation on these matters as I've seen:CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE CHURCHES

It reads: "... the victims of Catholic clergy and religious tend to be older than those of other child molesters. All the available research points in the same direction. Indeed, there is an influential view within the Catholic Church that the Church�s main problem is with ephebophilia rather than paedophilia (Rossetti and Lothstein, 1990). Ephebophilia refers to sexual abuse of pubescent or post-pubescent minors, whereas paedophilia, technically refers to sexual abuse of prepubescent children. In a discussion paper commissioned by leaders of the Catholic Church in Australia on sexual abuse by priests and religious, the research team concluded that most sexual offences against children committed by priests and religious can be described as homosexual ephebophilia (Towards Understanding, 1999, p.20). While it may be true that the Church�s biggest problem is with abuse of adolescent boys, this does not mean that the problem of abuse by clergy and religious is any less serious than would be the case if the victims were generally younger."

There are FAR too many questions than can be answered by the casual shoot-from-the-hip articles and editorials we're seeing in the media. Not only is your previous caveat about media suspicions on the mark (re: some reporters' axes to grind), there seems to be a jungle of underinformed perspectives and misinformation, too.

pax,
jb

jb
 
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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All very helpful, jb. Thanks much!

The front page headline on USA Today, "Vatican summit confounds, angers." When you read the article, one is left wondering what's to be confounded or angered about, save that Cardinal Law didn't resign. Seems like the men in red had some very frank discussions and took some good steps toward articulating a strong national policy.

An NFP commentator yesterday, ". . . sexual abuse crisis that has literally paralyzed the Catholic Church in the U.S. . . ." Notice the word "paralyzed" in there. Says who?

There's a frenzied media feed going on in all this as reporters gleefully sieze the opportunity to bash one of their favorite targets, organized religion--and in this case, a religion which challenges most of their pluralistic preconceptions about morality.

Meanwhile, surveys show that around 90% of Catholics haven't had their faith affected in the least, and I'd have to say that those who have had misplaced it to begin with.

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I agree that this problem is not limited to the Catholic leaders. I'm sure all sects suffer this same problem. What I can't believe is that someone would resolve a problem by re-assigning them elsewhere. That will not resolve anything. It will only put someone else at risk. Because of the "respect" and "honor" given to religious leaders, it isn't only children that are taken advantage of. It is a position of "authority" and "power". People are told to respect and submit to people "above" them. When there is this kind of thinking , there is alot of room for great damage to be done. When a religious leader is proven to have committed such an act, then they should be removed immediately and handed over for criminal prosecution. They are not subject to special treatment because of their title or position! I don't know why the Catholic church will not agree to a zero tolerance policy. Perhaps the number of clergy would greatly decrease. Again, this is not a Catholic issue but it is in the news currently.
 
Posts: 31 | Registered: 23 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Steve wrote: "I don't know why the Catholic church will not agree to a zero tolerance policy."

I'm pretty satisfied with what I am seeing by way of response. There are quite a few dioceses which have what would make for good models or prototypes, which have responded in a well thought out manner. I have heard that the Pope wants to be extremely careful with investing unbridled power in administrative law systems and that this concern is well considered and deeply rooted in his experience with such systems run amok during the Nazi regimes he experienced personally. The mandatory turning of offenders over to local criminal justice systems is going to accomplish much, too. I think there is some concern for rights of the accused which mustn't get lost and there are legitimate concerns about authorities reacting knee-jerk like, going to the other extreme, rather than responsively and responsibly. This is tough. Your points remain valid.

pax tibi,
jb
 
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Phil, et al,

The way this is being addressed in the media has concerned me for awhile now. Granted it is pretty much par for the course for the media to be less than friendly to the church but they are really running amok here. The second thing that concerns me is the way the media is addressing the crisis in the Middle East. Let's say the converage is anything but unbias.
In both instances, the media is not reporting the news, it is shaping the perceptions of their audience. Our news reports have become more editorial comments than journalism.
I don't know what you all believe about the power of evil... but there seems to be a lot of it around these days and the church has pretty much been sidelined in the fight by all of this - at a time when her presence is sorely needed.
This is not to trivialize the seriousness of the problem or its importance in any way but it bothers me. Am I alone here or do others feel this concern as well?
Peace,
Wanda
 
Posts: 278 | Location: Pennslyvania | Registered: 12 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hello all,
First, I would like to commend everyone who's posted here for the rational and peaceful way this topic is being addressed. Other message boards at places I subscribe to have not been so intelligent and mindful of the way in which something is stated...so thank you all.
This is my first time posting at these boards but, I hope not the last Smiler .
My own personal musings have been reflected in many of the comments I've seen here...so I'll share a few here.
When it comes to celibacy and the Priesthood: Though I am not Catholic, I do have very dear friends who are. This issue is something we've discussed and it seems to me that the whole idea of celibacy is based on the fact that the vocation of Priest or Monk is a much more than that. It isn't merely a vocation, but rather a marriage to the Lord Himself, thereby making any kind of partnership (like a marriage) would be as if committing adultery against God. And I wonder if some who are becoming Priests these days are doing so because of perhaps 1)pressure from within their own families because it IS a noble profession, 2)pressure from within the Church itself because Catholicism, just like Protestantism is suffering greatly from a shortage of Priests/Pastors, 3)because they DO feel called to serve the Lord, yet in today's society with all it's political correctness and "gray areas", they become frustrated with just what way they can serve the Lord in the manner they'd like to. Of course, there are other possible answers..these are just a few.

In reading all the posts, I didn't notice a reference to the fact that satan is a very real factor in the evil that resides in this world...most especially the Church. He is the greatest enemy of the Church (speaking of the body of Christ here...not one church in particular) and he has effectively brought a most horrible evil to the forefront of the public's scrutiny of the Church. I guess my question on this is that we seem to be looking for all kinds of legal answers to the problem....but isn't this also a spiritual problem? Is it possible that we're walking all around this issue without truly going to the center of it? Sexuality is a very core part of us all and what better place to be attacked with the "fiery darts"? One of my Catholic friends is homosexual, yet celibate because of his conviction to the Lord. Believe me, he deals with much spiritual attack because of this and knows that only by the grace of God is he able to remain celibate and sane at the same time. Is it possible that our churches do not address this issue of sexual misconduct within the Priesthood/Pastorship/Laity because they are sidetracked into thinking of it in more of a "flesh" type setting than a spiritual one?

I have to agree with several of the posts concerning what should be done with Priests/Pastors who are convicting these crimes. They should indeed be removed from their posts, as someone else stated, it's like allowing an alcoholic to be a bartender....it isn't healthy for any of the parties. However, I also understand that many many false accusations have been made over time and the damage is never completely healed. So there is a great need for true wisdom in dealing with the issue.

I wondered also...are there any articles out there from victims of pedophile abuse or sexual abuse that have written to say what their sufferings have been? How has it altered their lives, affected their spiritual lives, and their involvement with the Church (again speaking of the body of Christ..not one single church)? And do any of these victims have any input into the council meetings? Are they allowed to share the hows and whys of the abuse? It seems to me that they could have some very valuable input as to how situations that "leave the door open", so to speak, for abuse to occur could be limited or done away with altogether.

Thanks for the opportunity to post some of my musings and I look forward to replies.
God bless,
tk
 
Posts: 609 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Goodness...I got so wrapped up in the other post I forgot this part.
Wanda....YES....it bothers me greatly how the media is handling this and I think it's a correct evaluation to say that they are indeed trying to manufacture what the public "sees" and "hears" on this subject...facts, unfortunately have no place in selling news. Sad...very sad. Frowner
 
Posts: 609 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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