Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Once again proving that liberal dissidents have no sense of causation or history

If opening the priesthood to women and married men would create a Church free of sexual abuse and less inclined to keeping secrets, then you would think that the proof would be shown in secular society or in the various religious groups that allow members of these two groups to become clergy. Alas, this is not the case. Married men have a rate of pedophilia that is no better than that of Catholic clergy, at least according to the sparse records that we have on groups other than the Catholic Church, and in fact oftentimes will abuse their own children which creates its own problems with reporting (Would a wife rat our her husband whom she loves and with whom she has built a life? Would a child rat out his own father?). As for women, the numerous Mary Kay Letourneau-type cases where female teachers abuse students would seem to indicate that they are no more trustworthy than men in this regard. Plenty of women are executives and even CEOs and Presidents of companies that do horrible things and cover up horrible things for the sake of profits.

The mere fact of being a celibate man doesn't make one a pedophile or a sexual predator, the fact is that many such pedophiles flock to the clergy of all religious groups as well as to teaching jobs and medical jobs because those jobs give them access to children in an atmosphere of trust. Allowing women and married men to become priests, just like allowing openly homosexual clergy to do so, would do nothing to increase transparency and decrease abuse, as all these groups commit abuse just as much as heterosexual men bound by a vow of celibacy. If anything the incidence of abuse among Catholic priests may be lower, considering that we hear about every unsubstantiated claim of abuse by a Catholic priest but there aren't statistics for non-priestly abuse cases that don't end in a conviction and therefore a Megan's Law registration. They don't keep abuse statistics that take into account how many teachers or coaches or doctors or police officers offend, they just keep statistics of the population at large and maybe male versus female offenders. Even other religious groups don't seem to have statistics available, which means that they are only counted as a percentage of the entire population. Only the Catholic Church has a comprehensive index of accusations, going back almost half a century, so for all we know the problem in other occupations may be even worse.

The motive of these protesters obviously has nothing to do with saving the children and everything to do with liberalizing the Church bit by bit until it becomes a less traditionalist version of Unitarian Universalism. They figure that they did such a good job with the Episcopalians, picking away a little at a time until a church once steadfast in support of tradition suddenly became a church without tradition and with no sense of what it believes in. They figure that if they can get us to acquiesce on women priests then we'll acquiesce on homosexual priests, and if they can get us to buckle on homosexual priests then they can get us to get rid of sexual morality in general. Unfortunately for them we are not the Episcopalians, rather we are a worldwide and truly universal Church that has no need to buckle to the agendas of small groups in individual nations. The media may make a big deal about this, but there have always been dissidents and heretics trying to undo the Church from within and the Church has always outlasted them. The whole idea that Austria is "at the forefront of demands for change" also strikes me as a bit disingenuous, as Cardinal Schoenborn only suggested a change to the rules on celibacy (which is a rule rather than a doctrine and could be changed at any time) and the other Bishop only said that allowing women to be priests was something that could be discussed "eventually" (certainly a dissent from Church teachings but not nearly as radical as the protesters would want). I also question the suggestion that Austria is a bastion of extreme traditionalism, considering that Cardinal Schoenborn has frequently shown himself to be mainstream among the Catholic hierarchy on abortion and even liberal on issues like using condoms. He may not be as liberal as a Cardinal Mahoney or Hans Kung, but he's certainly not a Cardinal Arinze or a Marcel Lefebvre either. The next time that Schoenborn says something in support of the hierarchy he'll be denounced by these same liberals as an ideologue, but for the moment he's saying something that helps their cause so they're acting like he's on their side.

Personally I wouldn't be upset if the Church allowed married men to be priests, I certainly wouldn't leave over it. It's an issue of discipline rather than doctrine, and so the Pope could change it at any time without any theological problems. I would caution against it though for at least a couple of reasons. Many parishes would find such a change to be an unbearable hardship, as they already struggle with finances and would have a hard time increasing pay for priests or purchasing larger houses for them and their families. Clerical celibacy is a time-honored tradition that gives the priest more time to serve his flock. While it wouldn't be the end of the world if this tradition was ended, at least as long as the Church made it easier on parishes to implement the change, it certainly shouldn't be changed because of the agitation of some liberals who won't be satisfied with it and will only look at it as a hole in the armor and a positive sign for their extreme liberalizing agenda.

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