Wednesday, March 20, 2002

When I look at how people are reacting to the current scandal in the Catholic Church, I unfortunately see a lot of the same old thing -- people are pursuing the agendas they've been pursuing all along, only dressing it up so that it looks like a solution to the current scandal. Unfortunately, these remedies have at best tenuous connections to the problem at hand, and do nothing but breed conflict in the Church.

Take Rod Dreher's call to arms for orthodox Catholics. Dreher limits his definition of "orthodox" to sexual morality. I wonder if NRO is equally vigilant in answering the pope's call for social justice and an end to the death penalty, which he talks about much more than sexual morality. Like Glenn Reynolds I feel like Dreher's run a bait-and-switch. First, get everyone upset about pedophilia and Church cover-ups, then tell us that it's not pedophila at all, but "pederasty", and the solution is to get rid of gay priests. Whoah, there!

I am most disturbed Dreher's call to "clean out the seminaries of dissenters." Dreher lists this as the first priority, adding zero tolerance for sexual abusers as an afterthought. This is completely inconsistent with any regard for the Church as "the Body of Christ." If my hand tells my brain that it's hurting, I don't react by cutting it off. We are one Church, one Body.

Unfortunately Andrew Sullivan is little better. Although I agree with his call for women in the priesthood, I fail to see the connection between that and pedophilia. It seems like Sullivan is desperate to change the subject from what's going on in the seminaries, which does seem to me to be a serious problem. (See his vain search for a double standard) If the seminaries are little more than brothels, then how do we expect priests to then instantly switch to complete chastity when they arrive at the parishes? I wouldn't prepare for a chaste marriage by sleeping around.

Now, this is not a reason to go on a witch-hunt against gay priests and those who question the Church's teachings. But it is a reason the shed some light on what's going on in the seminaries, and see if it's preparing these men for a lifetime of chaste service.
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