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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Saturday, June 08, 2002
1:35 PM

There is a long story in the upcoming Weekly Standard now online titled The Elephant In the Sacristy. It's about the Catholic Church's gay sex scandal and the reluctance of the media and of many people inside and outside the church to acknowledge what is really going on. After recounting the scandalous career of defrocked priest Rudolph Kos and other developments, author Mary Eberstadt writes:

What even this brief recitation makes clear is a cluster of facts too enormous to ignore, though many labor mightily to avert their eyes. Call it the elephant in the sacristy. One fact is that the offender was himself molested as a child or adolescent. Another is that some seminaries seem to have had more future molesters among their students than others. A third fact is that this crisis involving minors--this ongoing institutionalized horror--is almost entirely about man-boy sex. There is no outbreak of heterosexual child molestation in the American church. In the words of the late Rev. Michael Peterson, who co-founded the well-known clergy-treating St. Luke Institute, "We don't see heterosexual pedophiles at all." Put differently, it would be profoundly misleading to tell the tale of Rudolph Kos--what he was and what he did--without reference to the words "homosexual" and "gay."

But that is almost always what happens when the Post (and of course many others) cover the latest outbreak, as in today's story by Maureen O'Hagan, Md. Priest Faces Child Porn Charges. O'Hagan does eventually get around to the facts of the case--the man has not been charged with child abuse, but with trading pornographic pictures of boys.

I think if most of the victims were girls and young women, we'd be treated to a long series of essays from Maureen Dowd, Mary McGrory, Ellen Goodman, Anna Quindlen and the like about predatory men and the sins of the patriarchy. We'd also see lengthy news analysis and supposedly straight-ahead reporting on male abuse of women and quotes from psychologists and feminists about how men are conditioned by the dominant culture to use women and etc.....But a gay sex-abuse scandal doesn't fit that template, so, as Eberstadt says, no one is connecting the dots.

I do not believe homosexuals are uniquely evil. Let me be 100% clear about that. I don't have a fully developed PostWatch GLBT Platform, but let me put it to you this way: I know wonderful people who are gay and lesbian and Menaces to Humanity who are straight.

But in the current crisis, we must get down to cases. And this is overwhelmingly a gay sex scandal and the Post's natural inclination is to change the subject.

Liberal priest Andrew Greeley was trying to get somebody's attention on this issue more than a decade ago, Eberstadt writes:

The idea that the crisis is being stage-managed as a traditionalist plot ought finally to be put to rest by another whistleblower [Greeley] who has consistently exposed and decried both the scandals and the proliferation of active homosexuality in Church life. In 1989, this Catholic complained: "Blatantly active homosexual priests are appointed, transferred and promoted. Lavender rectories and seminaries are tolerated. National networks of active homosexual priests (many of them administrators) are tolerated." The United States, this writer went on to charge, is developing "a substantially homosexual clergy, many of whom are blatantly part of the gay subculture".... Here is Greeley again, in 1990, urging the archdiocese of Chicago to "clean out the pedophiles, break up the gay cliques, tighten up the seminary, and restore the good name of the priesthood."

I don't believe any of this was inevitable, or the automatic result of admitting gay men to the priesthood. But certain things are tolerated at certain times and places. Gays now have a liberal outlook sexually almost by definition, and rejecting celibacy despite taking the vows is just part of the package. It didn't have to be. It doesn't have to be.

Eberstadt adds, in a reference that sounds as if it may have been retracted (or mistaken), that Greeley "was quoted" as saying that the "two phenomena [of homosexuality and pedophilia] shade into one another."

I'd say straight-thinking gays need their own Martin Luther King here, just as the big roiling world of Islam does. If gay culture really does tolerate pedophilia, then guess what, guys, you gotta start condemning it in capital letters.

In the meantime, the Post should start thinking about why 95% of this circus is out of the NAMBLA manual, and stop pretending that it doesn't matter.

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