|Battle Lines Are
By Rod Dreher
The Corner on National Review
March 6, 2002
BATTLE LINES ARE DRAWN, PART I: [Rod Dreher] I promised K-Lo I'd try to go a day without blogging something about pederasty and the priesthood, but attention must be paid. There was a tremendously important column in today's Boston Herald, in which an anonymous Boston priest characterized the clerical pederasty problem as primarily one of gays in the priesthood. You should read the whole thing, but in brief, the priest says (accurately) that very few of these cases have to do with pedophilia, which is a compulsive sexual attraction to children. They are almost all cases of ephebophilia, which is sexual attraction to adolescents -- and almost exclusively a gay male phenomenon. The distinction is crucial because it brings up a big problem with active gays in the Catholic priesthood -- and this, says the priest, is something the bishops are keen to ignore. This priest complained about the gay subculture in clerical ranks, especially in seminaries, and said straight priests loyal to Church teaching are sick of being tarred with their taint, and are considering taking a public stand against them.
Posted 4:40 PM | [Link]
BATTLE LINES ARE DRAWN, II: [Rod Dreher] Enter Andrew Sullivan, who cracked hard on this issue in his blogging today. Andrew, who is a sexually active gay man and a churchgoing Catholic, has written angrily about this issue. He says the Herald column is part of a "deliberate" strategy by the Church to smear gay priests to distract from the bishops' own failure to protect children from predators. He decried papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls' weekend comments saying that gays should not be ordained, and questioning the validity of holy orders taken by gay men (a foolish statement for Navarro-Valls to have made, by the way, and not representative of the Church's teaching on the priesthood). Andrew writes, "A civil war could soon break out in the American priesthood," and calls on gay priests to come out to their congregations, and for "decent American Catholics" to back their priests against the hierarchy. "This is a watershed moment," Andrew writes.
Posted 5:01 PM | [Link]
BATTLE LINES, FINAL: [Rod Dreher] What to make of all this? First of all, Andrew Sullivan is brilliant and persuasive on many things, and in my view a good man. But he will never be able to square active homosexuality with Catholic moral teaching. Furthermore, the idea that the Catholic hierarchy is deliberately putting out this story is absurd. Frustrated orthodox Catholic priests have been telling me for years how unwilling see-no-evil bishops are to challenge the gay subculture that runs many archdioceses -- and how they themselves don't dare speak out, for fear of being ruined. We have solid evidence that many seminaries systematically exclude candidates who don't favor women priests or accept homosexuality as legitimate. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that some seminaries are not much better than gay brothels. I've talked to enough priests personally to know that the problem is large, and undeniable. And I hear every day from faithful Catholics who are confused and angry about parish life. Just today, a New York cop friend told me he walked out of his parish with his family this weekend because the swishy priest kept talking about "God, Our Lover." Andrew is upset about this because he wants an American Church that will approve of gay marriage and the like, as he does; others of us are upset because we want an American Church that will be authentically Catholic. I can agree with Andrew on this statement, though: "This is a watershed moment." Yes, absolutely. It is time for an end to secrecy and cowardice on all sides. Gay priests should come out, and so should priests who are opposed to their agenda, and the laity should face the truth squarely. This has to get settled. The lies, denials and cover-ups are ruining us all.
Posted 5:25 PM | [Link]
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