Pope Emeritus Benedict wrote an extended essayon the clergy sex-abuse and cover-up scandal, where he cited the sexual revolution coming of age in Europe in 1968 as a contributing factor.
Some critical commentators thought Benedict’s attention to the sexual revolution was misplaced. Some, such as seasoned reporter and Vatican watcher Christopher Altieri, observed that the problem preceded the sexual revolution. Some say the problem is bigger than sexual morality. And to be perfectly honest, some want to say that the problem is anything but the sexual revolution and/or anything but homosexuality.
I’m willing to concede that clergy sexual abuse didn’t start in 1968 and that the clergy sexual-abuse crisis has many other important facets.
In spite of this, however, I maintain that the sexual revolution really is a significant factor. I will go further. We will not get a full grip on this problem until we confront the toxic ideology of the sexual revolution and the damage it has done.
In a recent column, I introduced the concept of weaponized self-pity. I noted how often I’ve seen divorced parents become defensive when I talk about the impact of divorce on children.
Numerous times, my friend Leila Miller and I have assured people that, yes, of course, spouses have every right to remove themselves from a genuinely abusive environment — although these assurances often go nowhere with some of those divorced parents to whom we speak.
In a similar way, I was about to respond yet again to someone claiming that the “Catholic right” seeks to “purge” all “gay priests” from the priesthood. Then I caught myself doing for priests who identify as “gay” what Leila was doing for divorce: repeating myself.
The Sexual Revolution of the sixties is portrayed as a rebellion against the Establishment. It was a spontaneous love fest that allowed youth to do their own thing in an atmosphere of serendipitous freedom. Women were liberated from past oppression. It set in motion other movements that advanced ever greater sexual freedom.
COMMENTARY: Put an end to the exploitation of an 11-year-old boy.
Imagine this scenario: A married mother and father encourage their 11-year-old daughter to dress in sexually provocative clothing. They take her to a strip club and allow her to dance onstage. The patrons throw money at her. No one touches the girl in any way, given the environment. What are we to think of these parents?
Now imagine this scenario: A priest invites an altar boy to spend evenings with him. The priest encourages the boy to dress in women’s clothing. The priest tells the boy how nice he looks and how wonderful it is that he is expressing his true self. The boy and the priest spend time together watching videos of men in drag. He arranges for the 11-year-old boy to perform at a nightclub that caters primarily to a homosexual clientele. The patrons throw money at the boy. No one, including the priest, touches the boy, at the club or elsewhere. What are we to think of the priest? Continue reading “Stop Exploiting Desmond: A Challenge to the LGBT Community”
Published at the National Catholic Register, November 26, 2018, with the title, “Cherished Beliefs of the Sexual Revolution (And How they protect Sexual Predators.)
One curious feature of the current clergy sex-abuse scandal is the reticence of the non-Catholic media to go after the predators.
Many journalists in the “Legacy Media” seem to have an “anti-Catholic default” setting. One might think such journalists would leap at the chance to pile on with negative reports about the behavior of the Catholic hierarchy. Yet most secular newsrooms have been quite subdued on this issue.
This situation cries out for an explanation.
I propose that many people in our culture, including the media, subscribe to what I call “Cherished Beliefs of the Sexual Revolution.”
These tenets of secularism have been so widely promoted, defended and accepted that they are part of the air we breathe. We don’t even recognize that we believe these ideas.
Some of these ideas have specifically to do with homosexual activity and identity. Others are part of the more general ideological structure of the sexual revolution. Dissecting these ideas and correcting or even discarding them is a crucial step in getting to the bottom of the clergy sex-abuse scandal.
Allow me to assist.
Let me state for the record: Gross generalizations are unfair and unhelpful. I will never say “All gay men are … .” In fact, I once wrote an article called “Fifty Shades of Gay” — so I’m not about to draw rash conclusions about “gay men” from the behavior of a few.
However, the over-representation of homosexual predation certainly casts doubt on what I will call the “Grand Gay Narrative.” The marketing machine for “LGBT” activism and its allies in the sexual revolution have gone to a lot of trouble to create the following impressions in the public mind:
Being gay is a normal variation of healthy human sexuality. “Straight” vs. “gay” is no more significant than left-handed vs. right-handed.
Gay people are “born that way.”
Any problems that gay people might have are the result of “homophobia,” that is, unjust discrimination against them by society, or “internalized homophobia,” that is, self-hatred.
People who hold these ideas might very well object, “That isn’t exactly what we mean.” I will be glad to accept a moderation of their position if they care to walk back these extreme versions.
Let’s see where that would leave us:
In response to each of these points:
Not every person who claims a homosexual identity or engages in homosexual acts is a paragon of mental health. Some of them are out of their minds (including, perhaps, some of the sexually compulsive priest-predators?). Not every person who claims a homosexual identity or engages in homosexual acts is an innocent lamb. Some of them are mean, nasty and selfish (including, perhaps, some of the serial predators?).
Even if people are born with a sexual attraction to people of their own sex, it does not follow that those same people (or anyone at
all) is born with an uncontrollable urge toward sexual predation or habitual lying. (Was Theodore McCarrick “born that way”?)
“Homophobia” has nothing to do with the current situation. “If only people were more accepting of homosexual activity and identity, then … .” Then, what exactly? The clergy could behave like Harvey Weinstein and all the other married men who sexually exploit women? Blaming “homophobia” is not a credible response to decadeslong patterns of abuse.
In short, it should be appropriate to say, “Men of homosexual inclination used the priesthood as a base of operation for preying on teenaged boys.”
Behind these specific beliefs about homosexual practices are also some general cherished beliefs of the sexual revolution. They include:
Sexual activity is an absolute necessity for a healthy life. (News flash: No one has ever died from not having sex.)
Sexual activity is an entitlement. (Only a rapist truly believes he is “entitled” to sex.)
Any problems one might encounter from sexual activity are the result of either lingering “sex-negative” prejudices or not using your “protection” correctly and consistently. (People can have all sorts of problems from having sex at the wrong time, with the wrong person, in the wrong situation, even if their condoms work perfectly.)
This ideological aegis is providing cover for clergy sexual abuse. Journalists, judges, lawmakers and opinion-leaders who subscribe to these ideas are going to squirm when they try to face the evidence. Like the “#MeToo” movement, they are trying to condemn sexual abuse while still embracing the ideologies that made it possible.
Some of my readers no doubt have already figured out from experience that the sexual revolutionaries have been lying to them.
I urge you to examine your conscience in search of lingering traces of these beliefs. Go to confession. You will feel better, I promise you. And you will be a more credible witness in the Church’s current hour of need.
If you are still hanging on to any of these beliefs about same-sex attraction, I beg you to re-examine them. If you have friends who are hanging on to them, share this article with them. You can feel good about yourself without subscribing to superstitions.
In fact, you’ll feel better about yourself and about life in general if you know the truth. Just follow the One who described himself as “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” In this case, as in so many others, the Truth really will set you free.
Andrew Herrod reviews The Sexual State at LifeSiteNews. November 15, 2018. You can read more about The Sexual State here.
November 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – “The Sexual Revolution needs the State because it needs enormous amounts of power to accomplish its impossible objectives,” writes the Catholic intellectual Jennifer Roback Morse. She amply proves this conclusion in The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives and Why the Church was Right All Along, an excellent book that is essential reading for understanding today’s sexual culture wars.
Morse reviews the Sexual Revolution with its tenet that “[s]exual activity without a live baby as a result is an entitlement for men and women alike” and accordingly “children must accept whatever the adults choose to give them.” The results have been family breakdown, abortion, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) on a massive scale. This evidences a “simple fact: the Sexual Revolution has harmed millions of people.”
My friend Dan Mattson has written a truly Catholic, truly great book, called, “Why I don’t call myself gay.” Part memoir, part social commentary, part theological commentary, “Why I don’t call myself gay” is a great counter-weight to the numerous people in society, including sadly, many in the church, who tell young people to “come out.” The whole society tells young people that best way to deal with feelings of sexual attraction to the same sex is to “admit it: you’re gay.”
Dan shows that people who experience same sex attraction have other options. You need not declare yourself “gay,” live a sexually active life, and endorse the entire political agenda served up by the Gay wing of the Sexual Revolution.
A certain very public Jesuit has released a book justifying certain sexual sins. (I don’t want to mention either his name, or the name of his book.) I know many of my friends will want to express their disgust with this man, and disagreement with his views. May I make a respectful suggestion? Every time you mention the heresy, or the heretic, please mention this Dan Mattson, and “Why I don’t call myself gay.”
Catholic and Christian public intellectuals who toe the Sexual Revolutionary Party Line will get plenty of attention from the Main Stream Media. Dan Mattson will only get noticed if we notice him. Please give Dan Mattson more time at the microphone and heretical Jesuits less. Dan’s our guy. Let’s root for him. Let’s ignore the other guys whenever we decently do so.
And get the book.
If you have young people in your life who are telling you that they think they are “gay,” get this book for them. Read it together with them.
IN the meantime, read this story about Dan’s book, by my friend Doug Mainwaring.
Dreher’s chapter on the Sexual Revolution neglects both John Paul II and contraception. That struck me as odd.
St. John Paul wrote volumes, literally, on the human sexuality. Michael Waldstein, the editor of the second edition of Male and Female He Created Them: A Theology of the Body, goes so far as to say that this work is JPII’s response to Cartesian mind-body dualism. I agree with him.
Dreher liberally quotes Wendell Berry, who speaks eloquently on gender complementarity, but who can’t figure out the problem with genderless marriage. But no mention of JPII. That is just: odd.
Along with neglecting the person of JPII, Dreher neglects the issue of contraception. The government and the major cultural elites have engaged in near-constant promotion of the contraceptive ideology: everyone is entitled to unlimited, child-free, care-free, costless sex. Without this ideology, the distortions of sexualty Dreher rightly decries would not be even remotely plausible. Perhaps these two omissions are related. He quotes Michael Hanby, in the chapter on technology. I know for a fact that Hanby understands the connection between technology, contraception and modernity. How could Dreher overlook this point?
So here is my friendly amendment to the Benedict Option. Dreher includes many suggestions for Benedict Option communities. Here are a few additional suggestions for a counter-cultural Christian sexual lifestyle. First, for young people of child-bearing age:
Throw away your condoms, your diaphrams and your pills. (But don’t flush them down the toilet: its probably not good for the environment.)
Go to your doctor and ask him or her to remove your IUD or the implants from your arms.
Ladies, begin charting your cycle. It is completely harmless, and you will know your body very well before you get married.
Young married couples, go take a good Natural Family Planning class. Learn to cooperate with God, and with your body. I don’t care which method: Billings, the Sympto-Thermal Method, or any other fertility awarenss method. The right method for you, is the one that you will use regularly and comfortably.
For old people like me who are past child-bearing age, you can help the young families in your community:
Support them in getting married at a reasonable age, in their mid-twenties, rather than insisting they wait until they have a Masters degree and their student loans paid off. That may mean:
Help them avoid college debt in the first place.
Help them with babysitting, transportation, and other necessary chores, if they have kids while they are still in school or in the early stages of their careers.
Help them with low-cost housing.
Be pro-active in seeing what things would improve the quality of
their family lives. We got recruited this past weekend, to do yard clean-up for a family expecting their 7th child. By “we” I mean me, my husband and our 28 year-old son. We were recruited by a couple in their 30’s, who observed the situation, and moved into action. We try to say “yes” as often as possible to these requests.
Above all, tell them how much you enjoyed your parenting years, and how the kids will be grown before you know it, and how you wish you could have had more kids.
I can honestly say that a lot of us Baby Boomers wish we had more kids. We were full participants in the Sexual Revolution. We didn’t figure out that we were being bamboozled until it was too late.
(If you’d like to share your story, consider contributing to our Tell Ruth the Truth blog. We’re always on the look-out for honest, heart-felt tales that will encourage the young to stay the course, and to discourage them from buying the lies of our toxic sexual culture.)
Christian sexual morality is good news for everyone, male or female, gay or straight, young or old. And, Dreher correctly observes, getting sex right is the key to rebuilding a truly Christian civilization.
What do I say to a same-sex married lesbian niece whose mother (my sister-in-law) just left a phone message saying they “are expecting twins”? Congratulations just doesn’t seem right but it’s not the children’s faults. It doesn’t seem right to create a family rift over this but neither can I be happy about it. I have no idea who the father is, which of the females in the relationship is carrying the children, whose eggs were used, etc. Nor do I know if I will ever be told because the family knows I do not believe in gay ‘marriage’. I can’t just ignore this, but do I say nothing? What do I say when the children are born? Any kind of congratulatory words would come out as fake, & they would be falsely said.
Your problem is becoming increasingly common. We are all figuring this out on the fly. So, let me offer a few suggestions for you to consider.
You cannot give people the impression that you approve. It sounds as if you have that covered.
Your instinct that it is not the children’s fault is a sound instinct. Remember that God loves these children. He wills their existence, even if He does not will the circumstances of their birth. Pray for these kids, starting right now.
You can, and should rejoice that new life is coming into the world. There is nothing immoral or wrong about you sending them a card, or a gift that the children would enjoy, or that they would enjoy. They are going to have problems, that is for sure. You don’t necessarily need to pile on. Reality will exact its own punishment.
Pray for wisdom to find an opening to be good friends to the adults, and eventually, to the children. A time will come when they will need friendship. But don’t push it. It may take years for this situation to unravel sufficiently that they see the need for friendship.
In the meantime, pray to have all the sting of your disapproval removed from your relationship with these adults. They are beyond the point where you can talk them out of or into anything. They have chosen their path. You may be their only connection with Jesus. Don’t let that connection be soured. (No pressure!)
Don’t ask questions about the identity of the father/mother at this point. Your niece will interpret that as a hostile act. When the children are older, they may want to know. You may be one of the few people in their lives who will honor the fact that they want to know. You may be their best source of support for the kids.
Check out Anonymous Us. Read the stories there. I think the pain that the kids feel in these situations will become more real to you. You may also see stories from mothers who used donor sperm. You can see their thought process. All this will prepare you to be an empathetic friend when the time comes.
In general: keep your powder dry. Save it for when you really need it. There is absolutely nothing you can do right now to prevent this situation from unfolding. A time will come when you may be able to make a truly unique and valuable contribution. Prepare yourself for that time, through prayer and charity. Who knows? Maybe your preparation will allow you to help someone outside your family.