Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Dr. Fitzgibbon Writes, " Homosexual Abuse of Adolescent Males Is at the Heart of the Crisis"

By William D. Lindsey
The Bilgrimage
February 12, 2012

Several days ago, Dr. Rick Fitzgibbon logged into an article by John Allen at National Catholic Reporter about the Vatican abuse summit to write the following:

Contrary to Bemi's and Neal's opinion, the data in the John Jay reports strongly suggest that homosexual abuse of adolescent males is at the heart of the crisis.
Michael Bemi and Pat Neal are two American experts from the "Protecting God's Children" leadership team who addressed those gathered at the Rome summit to discuss the abuse situation in the Catholic church.

And Dr. Rick Fitzgibbon? Why, this gentleman happens to be the psychological expert whom Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph brought in to advise Finn about Father Shawn Ratigan.

A priest who is credibly accused of taking pornographic pictures of little girls. A priest whose case has absolutely nothing to do with "homosexual abuse of adolescent males."

Fitzgibbon's advice to Finn is one of the reasons, it appears, that Finn kept Ratigan in ministry where he continued to pose a threat to little girls

And so one wonders how this psychological expert dares to argue with a straight face that the abuse crisis in the Catholic church is all about gay priests abusing adolescent males, when he himself is intimately familiar with a notorious case now being adjudicated in criminal courts, in which everything turns on credible allegations that a priest abused little girls. Gutsy of Fitzgibbon to write what he did recently at NCR, isn't it, given the circumstances?

Almost as gutsy (and as mendacious and downright evil) as all those Catholic men who do, in fact, know quite a bit about contraception in their own personal lives pretending that 1) no Catholics use contraceptives, and 2) the HHS guidelines controversy had nothing to do with contraception.

Or as gutsy (and ditto) as the choice of some leading centrist Catholic journals to feature as one of their chief defenders of traditional Catholic marriage and traditional Catholic sexual ethics a journalist proven to have gotten more than one girlfriend pregnant out of wedlock, with allegations from the girlfriends that said defensor fidei then pressured them to abort.

Or as gutsy as that other leading centrist Catholic journal that hires a (wink, nudge) openly gay man to inform us that the church really belongs to the bishops, who can do what they want with it. And who tells us that we Catholics always line up behind the bishops. And who never writes anything about gay issues at all, particularly anything that would reveal who he is to the world, except when he occasionally writes little blurbs about how "we Catholics" believe, of course, that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Or as gutsy as that other leading centrist Catholic journal where people can say something and then be received as if the wallpaper has just spoken. They're not there, not worthy of any response at all.

Especially if they happen to be gay and pushing for more honesty in the Catholic conversation about how gays are treated in the church. But the definition of authentic Catholicism--and it's this journal's trademark to determine that definition--apparently has nothing at all to do with one's choice to treat fellow Catholics and human beings as if they are no more there and no more conscious in conversations about what it means to be Catholic than wallpaper is.

Our tribal Catholic gutsiness (and downright evil mendaciousness) seems to know no limits, especially when it comes to fundamental honesty about matters sexual. We pretend, play-act, and bludgeon our critics with the best of them, when anyone tries to pull the curtain aside and talk about what's really going on within the tribal boundaries.

It's not hard, it seems to me--it's certainly not hard for me--to identify the common themes running through all of these dynamics, in terms of whom they privilege and identify as real Catholics and the embodiment of Catholic values. And whom they stigmatize, rule out of the conversation, demean, ignore, and treat as embarrassingly chatty wallpaper.

We Catholics, God's chosen tribe among all other tribes, seem strangely given to bald-faced lies as we do anything and everything in our power to keep our unyielding tribal norms firmly in place and attack anyone we perceive as a threat to those norms. We seem intent, in fact, on becoming God's chosen tribe most committed to earning the title of people of the lie as we do or say anything at all to keep the tribal shibboleths up and running.

This doesn't do us much credit among thinking people in the public square, I suspect.


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