Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Vatican Sex Scandals

There's a lot happening today. From the rise of Christian-fascism in the USA, to the Obama Administration's simultaneous condemnation of Canada at the Arctic Conference and its request for further Canadian blood to be spilled in Afghanistan. However, I'd like to post a little something regarding the explosion of sex scandals within the Catholic Church.

Some are saying that this pedophilia is a result of the Church's mandatory policy of priestly celibacy. Essentially, sexual desire is an unavoidable aspect of being human and when it is artificially stifled, it leaks out wherever there are opportunities. I heard from Bertrand Russell that the reason the Catholic Church imposed celibacy on its priests was to prevent powerful Bishops (in the feudal political-economy of the times) from having "legitimate" sons who they could then pass their bishoprics [don't laugh!] down to. This celibacy policy has stayed in place for centuries and the result of this enforced, unnatural abstinence is the terrible sexual abuse of children who fell into the hands of frustrated priests.

The thing is, years ago I read an article in Z Magazine by (I believe) a lesbian former nun, who disputed the claim that abusing children was an inevitable result of enforced celibacy. I don't have much luck with Z-Net's search engine, but I'll take a few minutes to try to find it ... Nope.

Here's how I remember it going. When a male liberal columnist said that this was the result of priests not being allowed to marry, the woman philosopher accused him of saying that priests should be allowed to get married so that they could rape their wives instead.

I recall being angered by what I saw as a distortion of his words. But when I read on, she seemed to have a point. The male liberal obviously didn't consciously mean to say that priests should have wives to rape. But he was treating as natural the idea that when adult men can't get sex through traditional channels (that is, open, adult relationships) that it's understandable that their urges will explode as rape. It was the notion that we can understand why these men were doing this that irked her. She pointed out that nuns (female members of the Catholic Church who are also committed to vows of celibacy) do not have anywhere near the same level of resorting to the rape of children as do male priests. This, she said, was not a product of men and women being wired differently, but was more due to the fact that men are encouraged to take what they desire. As a result of condoning or ecognizing the "right" of men to take what they want, male priests, institutionally prevented from adult sexual relationships resort to child rape. Female nuns, the writer said, have "passionate affairs" with each other, when they are unable to control their sexual urges. Men's inability to imagine equal sexual relationships makes covert homosexual relationships less attractive than raping powerless children.

That's how I remember it in a nutshell and I thought I'd toss that into the marketplace of ideas.

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