Sunday, 31 January 2010

Why did it all happen? Reason #1a: Celibacy

See previous blog

Mandatory celibacy is often pointed to as a reason for the sexual abuse of children. There is the idea that removing the mandatory celibacy legislation from the Roman Catholic system is somehow going to solve problems of, not only the sexual abuse of children, but also all sorts of other "sexual issues" within the Roman Catholic priesthood (read: homosexuality). However, how can this be a solution?

The first issue is, "if celibacy is the problem, then why is it that there are lots of cases of non-Roman Catholic religious authorities (ministers, organists, counsellors)who sexually abuse children who are married?" Obviously, a married clergy does not solve the problem, and it then follows that a celibate clergy cannot be at the root of the problem. Celibacy can be chosen; sometimes celibacy is thrust upon people; some people just aren't all that interested in sex. However, human beings are made for relationships and most human beings crave the intimacy that a positive sexual relationship can bring.

Christianity has been obsessed with sexuality almost from the beginning. Jesus didn't have much to say about it; frankly neither did Paul. It was up to the Church Fathers to make it the central issue for Christian spirituality. Historically, there are reasons for this, not many that have been truly put in the context of the socio-cultural background out of which the Fathers came. The attitude towards sexuality only changed slightly with the Reformation, which attacked the issue of celibacy but little else about the rationale of sexual relationships within the Christian context. A good little book (now out of print) that discusses this is John Phillips' Eve: The History of and Idea. It is not celibacy that is the problem, but the idea that all sex is essentially a dangerous facet of human relationships. Celibacy puts the idea of the non-sexualized life on a pedestal. Everything else follows from that. Once not having sex is the be-all and end-all of holiness, then all sex is sinful - even if there are degrees of sinfulness. Sex with children just gets lost in the shuffle. Changing mandatory celibacy will not change much if the theology of celibacy remains as one of the lynch pins of holiness. I haven't seen anyone suggest that celibacy won't still be the ideal to strive for.

What would be the theology of the Roman Catholic priesthood be without mandatory celibacy? Is it possible? What would it look like?

Monday, 25 January 2010

Ads by Google - In this case, please don't click

I have to laugh. When you play God's Gonna Cut You Down, you get Google ads running along the bottom of the video. Since Google determines the ads, I can't to anything about them. I don't put ads on this website. Goes against what I think the website is about. Furthermore, I can't control the ads.

The last thing that I would want would be to have ads about "Free Christian dating" - there are more than enough Christians out there. We don't need any more. I wouldn't want the ad "Why do bad things happen?" that then sends you to a Christian website that is recruiting more people to be saved - I assume that Jeeeeeeeesus will make sure that bad things don't happen to you - just accept the Lord as your Saviour and everything will be alright. All you have to do is read the website or my dissertation to see why that would give me the "screaming heebie jeebies".

The two ad links to get more songs by Johnny Cash would be just fine.

I would have no control over the ads chosen for the website. I don't want to make money from the websites.

So all I can do is laugh when these ads come up. If it allows me to actually embed the odd YouTube video onto the blog, I'll live with it.

Just so you know, there are no ad links on the trailer for Deliver Us From Evil.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

They Still Call Him "Father": The Power of the Belief System

Whenever I watch the trailer for the documentary Deliver Us From Evil, I am always struck by the fact that the term the one woman uses for O'Grady is still "Father". It is a testament to the power of the socialization of this belief system. It is also a testament to the level of pain she still feels

Yesterday, I added Johnny Cash's God's Gonna Cut You Down. I just love that song. I so want it to be so, at times. I no longer believe in God, in heaven, in hell. I raised my children without any of these belief systems. However, I have no problem understanding why people do believe. Life sucks big time for many of us. I know that it isn't true, I know that there is no great cosmic payout. I know that there are some people who will never pay for the evil that they have done - mostly because they are able to justify within their own minds whatever they have done. (Generally speaking, I think we call them sociopaths!

On the other hand, part of me believes that what goes 'round, comes 'round - sometimes. As long as I don't think about it. Then I know it's a crock.

Jesus has been attributed with the words, "Let the dead bury the dead" (Matt. 8:22 - my youngest son's favourite gospel). I like to think of that as a mantra - one must leave the past in the past (and, trust me, I know that that is easier said than done). When the old is shown to be dead, one must let it go and find a new way to do things. There has always been a lot about the sayings of the prophet, Jesus that have been at the core of how I view the world. I probably raised my children as secular Jesus followers (if that is not an oxymoron - I don't happen to think it is. Jesus was no more a god than I am.).

But it sure would be nice to know that "God is gonna cut you down". In other words, to quote another of those sayings of my childhood, "be sure your sins will find you out". It all depends on what you think are sins.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Deliver Us From Evil: The Trailer

This is the trailer from Deliver Us From Evil. It is a perfect introduction to the full horror of what has been happening for centuries. It is only now that we can actually begin to understand what this does to believers.

Johnny Cash: God's Gonna Cut You Down

This is the song from the Trailer for Deliver Us From Evil



I tried to put it as a sidebar - like the Lucinda Williams, but it just won't work - it keeps bringing in all sorts of useless videos, so here it is for the future.

All the Usual Suspects

"The CHURCH has never erred, the CHURCH cannot err" (Pope Gregory VII, Dictates of the Pope)

And they ask why there is a problem.

So who are the usual suspects in the reviews of The Bishop's Man and society at large?

The Institution (or the people who run the church or the bureaucracy)
Yes, of course, because it let the priests (and, yes, nuns) get away with it for millennia. However, the problem is much deeper than the institutional nature of the Roman Catholic Church.

Celibacy
No, not even the fact that celibacy is not a choice for Roman Catholic priests, this plays no part in the sexual abuse of children. If celibacy were the problem, how can anyone account for all the men (and women) who are sexually active and still sexually abuse children?

Individual "sick" priests
Yes, of course, they did it. However, the institution has a responsibility for allowing them to do it. The people in the pews want these priests fired. The church hierarchy wants them gone - because they are an embarrassment.

The Unusual Suspect: The one that just doesn't enter into the equation
What does not seem to be questioned is the Christian belief system itself. After all, there is no shortage of Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox (and all the other types) Christian men and women who sexually abuse children.

Over the next few weeks, I will post on each of the usual suspects. Finally, I will look at the belief system itself.