Sunday, April 4, 2010


Why cover up the sexual improprieties of priests? Oh, the logic went (and goes), to protect the Church from "scandal," though the term is used improperly.

And yet, they weren't going around covering up all the crimes of all Catholics, they denounced them all the time; they seemed to positively want the Catholic laity to feel sinful and guilty. They'd even go so far as to denounce priests for financial malfeasance and heresy (in the good ol' days).

But when it came to sex, then it all had to be swept under the rug. So methinks it was a little less about protecting the Church, in general, from alleged "scandal," and a little bit more about maintaining the facade that mandatory celibacy was actually credible. Of convincing people that the Canterbury Tales weren't true, as it were, at least not anymore.

They can blame a "culture of secrecy" all they want, but it needs to be admitted that this wasn't so much a culture of secrecy generally, but rather a culture of secrecy specifically about sex.

They didn't really ever care about people thinking that Catholics were actually good people in general...but mainly just, specifically, that priests were actually celibate. Because I think they know that that's where their psychological power came from for a long time (pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!)

By arguing that "celibacy doesn't cause pedophilia," they're knocking down a straw-man. The more you think about it, the more ways become obvious that it could have contributed to the institutional dynamics of cover-up.

Mandatory celibacy isn't an end in itself, and yet they've gone to great (and evil) lengths to maintain (the appearances of) that one institutional feature even at the cost of effectiveness in the areas that are supposed to be the primary institutional concern (namely, salvation.)

It has to be asked, then, what the hell is going on inside the heads of these men psychosexually that they are so committed to stopping other men from having sex (they themselves would always have the option of being single), to making sure their peer-group remains shielded from the influence of women, and from being thought of as sexless by their followers??

Celibacy in itself isn't necessarily a sign of deviance or perversion (indeed, many good healthy priests are celibate themselves while personally believing it shouldn't be mandatory). But an obsession with "enforcing" it on other people as a matter of policy? You've really got to wonder. Both about them, and even about the conservative members of the laity (many of whom are married) who are also for some reason nevertheless very emotionally invested in that idea. Why do people care what other people are doing when it doesn't hurt anyone (especially when the current system has)? They need to learn to mind their own business.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry if you have already done so elsewhere, but could you please recommend some works on the psychology of sex, power, and what you refer to as "Total Institutions"?

Thank you, by the way, for thinking outside of the box; at first, I was not inclined to give credence to your opinions, but I have certainly gained from reading your blog.