Friday, December 02, 2005

No gay priest, part 9: Keep talking...

I know this is ridiculous thing for blogger to write, but some people should know when to shut up--although I want these guys to keep at it, since they're making my argument for me.

First, from Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, the prefect of the Congregation for Education, on the difference between "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" and the other, "passing" kind: "For example, some curiosity during adolescence; or accidental circumstances in a state of drunkenness; or particular circumstances, like someone who was in prison for many years.” According to the Table article this quote appears in, "[Grocholweski] even provided the case of homosexual acts that one engages in to obtain favours." Okay ... uh, is that like prostitution? Well, it has to be at least three years since you turned your last trick before you can be a deacon. (Incidentally, the Tablet's editorial on this issue is world-class.)

My daily fave, though, is a Zenit interview with Cardinal Georges Cottier, who was until yesterday the theologian of the pontifical household; the interview is hilariously titled, "Document Shows Homosexuals Much Sensitivity," and includes these gems, among others:

"In general, homosexuality is accompanied by this emotional immaturity. It is an affirmation that is going to be criticized, but that is based on experience." Whose experience? Yours?

"I would like to add something to what is much talked about -- too much, perhaps, I don't know: pedophilia and homosexuality.There is a word that is never used and that, however, is important when we see the work that priests do; it is the word "ephebophilia." [Huh?] It is not pedophilia, which is attraction to small boys, but refers to attraction to adolescents. It is a very ambiguous and decisive age for every one. And I think it is a very extended form of homosexuality. I think it is necessary to present this clarification, as families entrust adolescents to priests -- scouts, summer camps, pilgrimages, groups. In those cases, these boys [and girls?] must be totally respected" (emphasis mine). Wow. A theologian telling us what he thinks about psychology, along with an embarrassing omission of females.

But finally, honesty. This instruction is about sex abuse, and its purpose is to blame the gays. Even though no healthy, well-integrated gay man wants to have sex with adolescents, just as no healthy, well-integrated straight man does.

There is a clear explanation for why most of the abused were males: access. Female altar servers were not common in the U.S. until 1990; most abuse occurred well before then.

Cottier is right in saying the ephebophilia has something to do with getting "stuck" in adolescent sexuality, it just doesn't have any direct connection with homosexuality, even though the behavior may be with a member of the same sex. In therapy, ephebophiles may end up heterosexual or homosexual. Their issue is not orientation but integration.

These distinctions, of course, are lost in this mess, especially since this document mixes psychology and theology with abandon.

It's a bad document. It should be withdrawn.


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