Friday, December 6, 2002

Be careful

Over the past few days, I've noticed some commentators here and there criticizing the decisions of those releasing the Boston documents to emphasize incidents of priests' misdeeds with women as much as their misdeeds with children or males.

Many have determined, it's obvious, that this Situation is a homosexual thing, and they receive the news of the day in a way that fits in with that framework. From the very beginning, I have stubbornly maintained that while the apparent over-representation of homosexuals in the seminary and the priesthood is a problem, and that the presence in priesthood or seminary of any person who publicly or privately subverts the Church's teaching on sexuality is a problem, this is not the totality of the problem, nor is it even the core. Priests may conceal homosexual activity in their midst, but one of the reasons they are able to do this is that in the parish across town there is a priest who is in a comfortable, long-term relationship with his housekeeper or secretary, and then in the parish in the other part of town there is a priest with an alcohol problem who doesn't want to be sent away for treatment for the third time in five years, and working together - implicitly, of course - these guys, plus the guys on the priests' personnel council (who DO know all about these problems, believe me) and the various laity who work in the rectory and see what's going on - as I said, all of these people implicitly agree to maintain silence to protect their secrets and maintain the status quo.

It's all of a piece. A jagged, lumpy, shadowy piece, but all of a piece, nonetheless.

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