There are no such things as “gays”. There are no such as “heterosexuals”, either1. There are men who have properly ordered sexual desires or, at times or for long periods, have intrinsically disordered sexual desires—of every kind, not just toward other males.
There does exist in our culture a subculture of “gays”, with its own tropes, customs, and habits, including the use of preposterous accents when the occasion suits, but the existence of this subculture is not to say there are “gays” in the same sense there are (procreative) males and females. And it is not to say that the people who enter into this subculture remain rigorously within its bounds at all times. They can and do stray.
Even scientists, poorly trained as they are in philosophy and metaphysics, though you would have thought they would have grasped the fundamentals of reproductive biology by now, are finally coming around to this view. (This is only one reference of many: see footnote.)
Allowing the use of the terms gay, lesbian, or any of the other dozens upon growing dozens of terms that describe non-procreative sexual desire as if these terms describe in an essential sense a category of people like male and female leads, has led, and will continue to lead to a certain painful and false judgment.
That judgement is the on-going abuse crisis in the Church is due to a misuse of “power”.
That is false at its core, though power is misused by bishops covering up crimes and by priests and bishops in choosing their victims. Power would not have been abused, and the crisis would not be with us, if it were acknowledged there are no such thing as “gays”. Recognizing men who self-identify as having intrinsically disordered sexual desires as being “gay”, having men who are told to identify as having these desires, can only encourage them to act on these desires.
And they have acted upon them. Repeatedly, often, and in every place these misconceptions are promoted.
Would you trust your teenage son to be alone with a priest who self-acknowledges the desire to have sex with your teenage son? Even if the priest says he will not act on these desires?
The answer, given by common sense and by all human experience, is obvious.
You’d give the same answer were you to substitute your wife or daughter into the question. But you never hear of priests asked to self-identify as men who desire sex with parishioner’s wives and daughters. Yet, as for the latter, even now there is a clamor for recognizing pedophilia as an “orientation” (in the same sense as “gay”). If the priest stood up and said “I am gay”, he is almost congratulated, if not actually celebrated, and nothing untoward is thought of it. But if a priest said, “I find the women (or girls) of this parish sexual desirable”, he’d be ousted.
Virtue is tough, and men slip. Perfection is impossible and cannot be expected. But it must always be aimed for. Allowing those with self-identified intrinsically disordered sexual desires to be priests tosses perfection out the window, not as something unattainable, which is admitted, but as undesirable, which is insane.
(The latest hip “orientation” is asexual, which is no sexual attraction at all. Which proves even the non-religious understand that this is possible.)
Allowing priests to call themselves “gay” says, implicitly at least but sometimes also explicitly, there is “nothing wrong” with the priest. Which is false. What is wrong with him is his intrinsically disordered sexual desire. Bolstering his self-identification as “gay” can only lead to the false and heretical belief that God created gays, that gays have certain gifts and qualities the rest of us don’t. That when gay desires are acted upon, which they will be for some, that they is not that bad, and certainly not a sin that cries out to Heaven for vengeance. All of which, as readers know, was exactly what happened.
So now we have the latest revelations, which fit into the same pattern as earlier revelations. Victims were mostly male, mostly teens (“One priest was willing to admit to molesting boys, but denied reports from two girls who had been abused; ‘they don’t have a penis’ he explained.”) As was also found in the John Jay report. The details are so sickening that the least punishment is booting all malefactors from the priesthood and the cashiering of all involved bishops. Though stringing up the worst is preferred.
I’ve seen estimates of anywhere from 20-50% of the priesthood self-identifies as having intrinsically disordered sexual desires. The population numbers are around 1-3%, growing higher in millennials (maybe up to 15%). Allowing self-identification as sexual desire causes subcultures to thrive. The subcultures cause the abuse. The abuse causes the cover-ups.
Pope Benedict recognized this and, believe it or not, so does Pope Francis, or so reports say.
According to various Italian news reports following a closed-door session with Italian bishops, Pope Francis on Monday [in late May 2018] said that men with “deeply rooted” homosexual tendencies, or who “practice homosexual acts,” shouldn’t be allowed into the seminary.
A report by Vatican Insider says Francis told the Italian prelates: “These tendencies, when they are ‘deeply rooted,’ and the practice of homosexual acts, can compromise the life of the seminary beyond that of the young man himself and his eventual future priesthood.”
Pope Francis’s judgement is correct. And borne out by events. The priesthood has been compromised grotesquely (in the West, and most especially the USA). It must be uncompromised. It must be purged.
If it isn’t, then what came out of Pittsburgh will continue to come out.
Addendum I do not agree with the grand jury that the statute of limitations be eliminated for criminal sexual abuse. This would effectively remove having to prove crimes beyond a reasonable doubt. And false accusations do occur, especially when money is involved.
Update All parishioners in New York this early evening received an email from Cardinal Dolan (which is why I thought it important to respond to Kent below) in which Dolan says, Boy, isn’t the Church doing a great job with abuse now?
I believe that the recent case involving Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, as gut-wrenching as it was, exemplifies the progress that has been made in dealing with such cases. When the Archdiocese of New York received the complaint, we followed our normal protocol as we would for any priest, and everyone involved — from the Vatican on down — agreed that we must deal with the case openly and honestly. It is hard to imagine that such would have been the case 30 years ago.
Bullshit. The Church was dragged screaming and scheming to acknowledge McCarrick, where it was revealed “everybody knew”. And that everybody probably included Dolan. “And while the Church in the past may have been an example of what not to do, today I believe it is a model of what to do to prevent sexual abuse, and how to respond when an accusation comes to light.”
Yes, just look at the list of complicit bishops who have resigned since McCarrick and Pittsburgh came to light. Where there’s, um, and there’s, ahh, and, well, yeah, the Church is doing a great job accepting responsibility.
Update Look at this nonsense from Cardinal O’Malley. He actually wrote he has to spend more time with his family.
Update “We are deeply saddened“. But not so sad that we’ll resign or do anything more than issue yet another strongly worded press release.
1I have a much longer essay on this subject in my new forthcoming book (which is almost done! and still in need of a publisher). The terms homosexual and heterosexual are recent additions to English, added about a century ago originally to classify those with excessive and aberrational sexual behavior and the objects of those behaviors.