Yesterday I read the New York Times front page story about the $1.8 million report commissioned by the U.S. Roman Catholic Bishops to get to the bottom of the church sexual abuse crisis.
The good news is that neither the all-male celibate priesthood nor homosexuality is to blame. That is indeed good news, especially for those of us who never confused homosexuality with pedophilia. (As a matter of fact, if the study devoted more than 12 cents to looking for the link between abusive priests and homosexuality, I believe the good Roman Catholic Bishops deserve a refund.)
The bad news is that the 1960s culture of free love and sexual revolution is to blame. Because if you were one of those women who celebrated her sexual autonomy, I hope you’re happy. Because an untold number of children were molested by priests as a result.
See for yourself:
The abuse occurred because priests who were poorly prepared and monitored, and were under stress, landed amid the social and sexual turmoil of the 1960s and ’70s.
I’m afraid I’m going to need someone to explain this to me very slowly and carefully. With the use of sock puppets as possible.
Because my reading of that is that priests need to be monitored and prepared not to molest children. How does that work, exactly?
Something like this, perhaps?
“Now, Young Priest, remember. You will see a child. You must not molest that child! We’ll be monitoring you closely. WHAT? A bra burning at 12 o’clock! I’m on my way!”
The other fun part of the report is that it states that the abusive priests were not pedophiles. Huh.
See, I thought that in order to qualify as a pedophile, you just had to molest children, but apparently there’s a higher bar for admission. Pedophilia is defined as a “psychiatric disorder that is characterized by recurrent fantasies, urges and behaviors about prepubescent children.” I wish they’d added “sexual” to the mix, because I’ve been having recurrent fantasies about my prepubescent children cleaning their prepubescent rooms for years now. I’d like to think that it doesn’t make me a pedophile.
Of course it helped a lot that the report used the definition of “prepubescent” as children aged 10 and under. (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, of The American Psychiatric Association, classifies a prepubescent child as age 13 or younger.)
I’m truly puzzled by this, even assuming the older, 13 year old cut-off. Is an adult having sexual contact with a 14 year old not a pedophile? Is there a better word for that person?
I can’t wait to see the full study. I’d like to think that $1.8 million would buy more in this economy.