26 October 2015

This time, Peripheries without Irony

One Synod Father has said "We can't leave people dangling in the air and in limbo. The Lord loves us all and we need to find a way of embracing everyone". Just checking, Bishop: by 'embracing everyone' you do include embracing paedophile priests, don't you?

Another Synod Father has said "The Synod would have been enriched if the Synod Fathers had listened to same-sex couples". Just checking, Cardinal: you do think it would have been enriched by also listening to paedophile priests?

Paragraph 85 of the Synod's Final Report (which only jumped over the necessary hurdle by one vote) ... you can see it on Rorate. I invite you to look at the section about the reduced imputability of sin in cases where the sinner can't really help it. And ask yourself: "I wonder if the Fathers intended that to apply to paedophile priests?"


(1) The old mantra was: Hate the sin, love Mr X the Sinner.

(2) My test questions: Granted that you hate Paedophilia, do you love the Paedophile Fr Y?    

(3) I ask this to test my awkward feeling that (1) has now gone dead out of fashion and has been actually replaced in some minds by:  
                     Don't talk to me about Sin; I just love Mr X without going into all that.
So, you won't condemn Adultery or Sodomy; at least, not if their perpetrators are Nice people living in an overtly attractive pseudo-Marriage.

So my question to a Cupich, a Doyle, a Gracias would be: Does your impressively pastoral language really apply everyone? To Fr Y the Paedophile? Or is the reality of your position that you are unwilling to use the terminology of Sin to describe some Adulterers and Sodomites because you do not really and viscerally feel that their conduct is sinful; whereas, with regard to Fr Y, you do still regard Paedophilia as a Sin, because you sense within yourself a gut revulsion?

And my comment would be: dialogue with your position would be easier if you avoided the vague and kindly woffle and simply spoke frankly about what you do still regard as sinful, and why. Then Catholics on each side of this divide could have a look at Veritatis Splendor (especially, for example, Paragraph 80), and could perhaps discuss intelligently with each other which bits of it they accept, which they deny, and why.

When the Lord spoke about His Father's mercy extending to 'tax-collectors and prostitutes', my understanding is that he chose categories normally seen as beyond the pale, as being on the ultimate ethical periphery. What I think needs to be tested is whether modern pastors, claiming to be garbed in His mantle of Mercy, actually do extend His Mercy to a category of humans still by most people held in unqualified detestation, our modern ultimate periphery. That is why I keep bringing in paedophiles.


Michael Leahy said...

The liberal view seems to be that nothing is sinful if there is consent.

Woody said...

One would ask all the cheap grace fellows, do you not recall Luke 13, among other biblical texts calling for repentance? Of course, if the particular acts were not sinful, I suppose there would be no need for repentance, but if they guess wrong about that, then they perish.

FrB. said...

@ Michael Leahy

Indeed. For them the grey area would appear to be restricted to the question of, at what age a minor can give informed consent, and whether there are other matters to be taken into consideration. After all, minors capable of consent have a RIGHT to sex with adults!

The visceral reaction should now come into play...

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. This morning, ABS was reading the resolutions of the 1930 Lambeth Conference and the democratic resolution of such nettlesome matters as artificial birth control - voters approved of it if it was done for good reasons - and ABS is wondering why our Synodlaism can't just pick-up the pace a bit for we are clearly now walking down that same path into moral quicksand.

Doctrine by Democracy.

One is reminded of Richard Nixon saying, We are all Keynesians now and so who will be the Prelate who first confesses, We are al protestants now

Cordelio said...

Unfortunately, I think you will find many of the modern clergy - at least the ones who are already comfortable with adultery and sodomy - have suppressed the gut revulsion that pedophilia should inspire, as has much of the degraded Western "civilization" whose colors (or lack of color) these clergy assume. Look at the case of Roman Polanski, who repeatedly sodomized a 13-year-old girl yet still remains a liberal media darling.

P├ętrus said...

Can I quote Peter Tatchell on this :

"The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures. Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy. While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful."

Alan said...

I start at the periphery.....

I wholly understand your explanation of why you raise the issue of paedophilia, Father, with its likely horrified/outraged reaction among homosexuals and those who have divorced and remarried. However, I do have some reservations, since the word has now entered everyday language in a rather loose sense, as exemplified, if I may say so without uncharity, in Cordelio's post. Paedophilia is sexual attraction of an adult to prepubescent children, not to young people below an age of consent which varies from country to country and age to age.

Compare Polanski's behaviour with that of Sigismondo Malatesta. Isotta degli Atti caught his eye when she was 12, and bore him their first child at 14. The cathedral church of the diocese of Rimini, commonly called the Tempio Malatestiano, is a stone love poem arising from this great romance of the renaissance. Historians don't call Malatesta a paedophile.

Turning to the core issue, perhaps in a future post you could explore HOW and WHY the Church has so completely failed to persuade lay people in Europe and North America to internalize Christian sexual morality. I am sure you will remember from your many years on the other bank of the Tiber how many priests, otherwise robustly Anglo-Catholic, sat lightly to this teaching in their ministry and in their private lives.

Highland Cathedral said...

Nixon’s view was soon out-of-date. In 1976. Jim Callaghan said the following at the Labour Party’s Annual Conference:
“We used to think that you could spend your way out of a recession, and increase employment by cutting taxes and boosting Government spending. I tell you in all candour that that option no longer exists, and that in so far as it ever did exist, it only worked on each occasion since the war by injecting a bigger dose of inflation into the economy, followed by a higher level of unemployment as the next step. Higher inflation followed by higher unemployment. We have just escaped from the highest rate of inflation this country has known; we have not yet escaped from the consequences: high unemployment.”

Highland Cathedral said...

In answer to your question about modern pastors and mercy I think that it involves two types of mercy: the real and the false. The ‘modern’ pastors offer false mercy to those they favour. I doubt that they would offer this false mercy to the paedophile priests. As to real mercy I don’t think they understand what it means.

Michael Leahy said...

Children in Belgium can "consent" to their own euthanasia at a shockingly young age now, apparently. How long before consent is extended to what are after all less than life-and-death matters?

Melinda said...

The First Things article about "Country Club Catholicism" raised some interesting points about the hidden snobbishness of who exactly counts as peripheral these days. Too bad Lady Julia Flyte couldn't have been invited to speak to the Synod Fathers about the "positive aspects" of living in sin.

Paulusmaximus said...

For those among the hierarchy who still believe in Scripture, a reading of Jeremias 23 might prove beneficial. If this doesn't put the frighteners on them, literally, nothing will! The Chapter should be read in its entirety.

RichardT said...

Sadly too many of our bishops did seem willing to excuse paedophile priests.

Father, I think you may need even more shocking sins for your comparison. What about tax evasion or failing to recycle correctly?

Cordelio said...

Hi Alan,

I'm conscious of the inaptness of pedophilia to describe a disordered attraction to a 13-year-old girl. However, since the reference to "the Paedophile Father Y" clearly evokes the clergy sexual abuse scandal (which involved virtually no instances of true pedophilia), I assumed that we were talking about pedophilia in the looser sense.

Indeed, one could argue that the widespread use of "pedophilia" in reference to the scandal served to distract from its true nature. However, the "clergy sodomy scandal" wouldn't have played as well in the press.

The looser sense of pedophilia has some merit, though, as the common element in all of these "philias" is that the attraction is disordered. Polanski's attraction towards the young woman was grossly disordered, as was Malatesta's in the example you posit.

John Vasc said...

Many of the bishops appear to have 'decided' that whoever denies stubbornly that he's doing any wrong, is simply exerting his 'conscience', and this is so personal as to need no justification. This is using the word in a most un-Catholic, woolly, CND/Cambridge Spies kind of way. One wonders about its users' upbringing, let alone catechization.
It reminds me of the Hassidic joke in which each village vies to sing the praises of its own 'Miracle-Rabbi'. One villager tells how their Wunder-Rabbi has often travelled on the train, from Lodz to Warsaw - on the Sabbath! And yet he managed to avoid any stain of sin:
'As the train steamed along, our Rabbi sat in the railway carriage, and stretched out his arms: and there was Sabbath to the left of him, and Sabbath to the right of him - but there where the Rabbi sat, there was no Sabbath at all!'

Kathleen1031 said...

If they did really detest the sexual assault of children, in the case of the church scandals, primarily boys 10 to 17 or so, they would openly acknowledge the problem as one of homosexual predators, not pedophilia, and the seminaries would be closed to them.
Pederasty is moving to the mainstream, all according to Satan's plan.

Tony V said...

To be fair, there are degrees of sin. Molesting a child seems to me a bit worse on the sin-scale than contracting a civil marriage (or a non-Catholic marriage) after a civil divorce. That's not to avoid Jesus's words on divorce, but there's degrees here.
Add to this the fact that homosexuality is endemic in the western clergy. Many of those who have not engaged in this behaviour themselves know, or at very least suspect, others who have done so, and in some cases may have covered up for them.