Today I want to think about the thoroughly unpleasant subject of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. I just take a paragraph from a 2020 study: The 162-page report said, in summary, “the church’s neglect of the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of children and young people in favour of protecting its reputation was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and vulnerable.” (A), see below; fuller, international, details are provided by (B). And a search will bring up other reports on different countries.
Frankly, I was naive. I went through my early years as a born Catholic — including 10 years at a Jesuit school. I assumed that priests were holy men, and I admired their authority and their virtues. And there was no moment when I was tempted in the slighted sexual way. Perhaps I was simply a revolting child, but I never heard accounts of clerical sexuality from any of my schoolmates.
But I am very aware that, had I been seduced into sexuality with a priest, I would have remembered that throughout my life. It would have been a black spot on my sexual self — throughout my lengthy, and, as it happened, happy marriage.
This takes my back to the old question of married priests. Of course we have some married priests — married before they joined the Church. But how about the others? I must not over generalize, but I am aware that my marriage helped me to be a broader and fuller man. And that included my ability to recognize the values and understanding of the feminine. I am certain that, had I become a priest, I would have been a better one through what I had learnt through the life and love of a woman.
Another factor springs into my mind. Is it possible that some men who happen to be drawn towards homosexuality are attracted by the priesthood? A lack of heterosexuality might feel more comfortable if it was expressed as a call from the Almighty. But I have never found a study which examines the sexual feelings of those who have chosen roles which exclude close feminine connection. I just guess so.
If you would like to comment positively or negatively, please avoid any anecdotes which could identify any individual. The law is rightly demanding.
(C) French study: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-58801183