The Pope Fails to Resolve the Fundamental Flaws in the Catholic Church
Pope Benedict XVI, according to the Financial Times made a statement on 11th May regarding the recent allegations of sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church.
Speaking to reporters on his way to Lisbon during a four day trip to Portugal, His Holiness blames abuse by clerics on “sins within the church” and stated that this was “the greatest persecution” that the Catholic Church has ever suffered.
He stressed that the Church had a “very deep need to relearn penitence and accept purification” and that “the biggest enemy of the Church came from inside and not outside“.
My first reaction to this news report is “What planet is this man living on?”.
The Catholic Church has for years been very backward in making strides forward as times change, and past Popes have been adamant in rejecting the use of contraceptives, stating that “sex is for procreation” and that the only permitted form of contraception should be abstention.
Sex before marriage and indeed living together without having been married is still seen as a sin by the Catholic Church, and don’t even think of mentioning the topic of D-I-V-O-R-C-E (I almost broke into a Country song then).
But it’s the topic of members of the clergy abusing children, in particular choir boys that has hit the news lately, with numerous allegations of priests taking advantage of children of a tender age.
One thing I have not seen reported anywhere is the question as to why this only seems to happen in the Catholic Church, and not the Baptist, Methodist, Church of England or other denominations.
The answer to me is simple, and it’s also another reason for my saying that the Catholic Church and it’s thinking are way behind the times.
In a nutshell, the solution as I see it is to allow Catholic priests to get married.
A priest is currently not allowed to marry, and therefore is required to lead a life of celibacy.
Look at a simple scenario if you will, that of a young man, a devout Catholic, a churchgoer, and raised in a good Catholic family.
This man is possibly plain looking, shy, especially when it comes to girls, and as he reaches his teens he has no girlfriends, and spends more of his time at church, rather than hanging around with other boys who are more outgoing and who do have girlfriends. He more than likely doesn’t have any friends like this at all.
Over time it dawns on this boy that he is destined to become a priest, and so he follows this path and joins the brotherhood of priests in the Catholic Church.
Not having had any girlfriends might not bother him, especially now that he is a priest, although he still has sexual feelings and desires, but for some years he makes himself believe that these are the work of the devil, and forces himself to suppress them.
Until that is, one day, he finds something about a choirboy attractive. Maybe it’s his looks, the way he dresses or acts, who knows, but there is something about this boy, or maybe boys, that begin to drive him crazy.
For what seems like an eternity he struggles with the demons inside his head, fighting the desire to do something he knows that he mustn’t, but one day the opportunity arises, when he is alone with this boy, to maybe place his hand upon him, or to expose himself.
The guilt is driving the priest crazy, he prays, he can’t sleep, he struggles with his sermons, has doubts about himself, and yet the urges don’t go away, they just get stronger and more needful.
He begins to make opportunities to be alone with this boy, who himself trusts the priest, and as a shy boy himself is too scared to tell anyone about what is happening, and allows the priest to use and abuse him, not knowing how wrong this is.
Does this sound familiar at all?
What I created here is a fictional account of the illegal and immoral relationship between a Catholic priest and a young boy, but it could have been any one of the hundreds of similar situations that have been reported in the news over the last few years.
A Catholic priest, despite being a priest, is still a man. Like all men he gets desires, and these desires need to be fulfilled. Suppressing them only works for a while, until they can be contained no longer.
I am sure that many monks in times gone by also kept their sanity through gay rituals, but since these took place in a closed location, the Monastery, and out of the public eye, almost certainly also with consent from their partner(s), scandals here are virtually unheard of.
Other than turning to minors, priests could turn to other means, such as pornography, to help satisfy their desires, but the fear of being discovered here is just another nail in the coffin of their life and career.
The answer to me is as simple as allowing priests to marry. This not only would provide them with an outlet for their frustrations and needs, but a constant companionship of a kind not available from other occupants of the priestly home, such as the housekeeper or secretary.
Everyone needs someone that they can confide in, someone who can not only listen but that can answer back as well. A priest is a councilor, but even priests need councilors of their own.
The leader of the Catholic Church also added in Portugal that “the Catholic church has always been tormented by problems of its own making — a tendency that is being witnessed today – in a truly terrifying way“.
Reflecting back on what I just wrote, in response to the Pope saying that the biggest enemy of the Catholic Church came from the inside and not the outside, I believe that he is actually correct.
So in essence The Pope agrees with my way of thinking, but lacks the courage to break with tradition and to reform many of the fundamental rules of the Catholic Church, which are needed to prevent the Catholic Church from falling apart from the inside.
However, the enemy is not one of priests allowing themselves to succumb to evil, the enemy is a regime that refuses to allow changes to the Church that are in line with the needs of society in our present time.
On Wednesday The Pope is set to visit the shrine at Fatima in Central Portugal, and to hold mass there Thursday, which is the anniversary of the date in 1917 when three children claimed to have seen visions of the Virgin Mary. Over half a million people are expected to be present for the visit of His Holiness to Fatima, which shows the continued strength of following in the Catholic Church.
On Friday The Pope will conclude his visit to Portugal with a trip to Porto, which is the country’s second largest city.