The reason that out of 50 cases of pedophilia, or child abuse that is reported about at any given time, the only one that is given the lion's share of attention is the one where there is a priest involved is because of the high standards that society holds priests up to. In the Catholic tradition priests are held up by their parishoners as holy and sanctified (set apart) from the corruptible world. I know that a priest is a sinner and no different than any other Christian who professes faith in Jesus and Jesus alone for his salvation. I've been told by some but have never seen any empirical facts to support this, that more than half the priests who enter the priesthood have homosexual leanings and enter their priestly vocation to seek safe harbour from a road that could very well lead them to destruction, a homosexual lifestyle. The problem though is that Roman Catholicism relies not enough on the power of God's Word in a believer's life and too much on traditions and rote Constantinian practices (the Mass) where in more churches than not the Holy Spirit is missing. If you tell me that the Holy Spirit is there during transsubstantiation, I will tell you that if He is He is awfully subdued and that is not the Holy Spirit's nature. My experience with the Holy Spirit is that there is joy, laughter, excitement and supernatural things happening when He's present. If you look at any of a thousand Catholic church services on a Sunday (if it were possible to see them on 1000 different monitors) they look like a morgue. Somber, unexcited people herding up and down the aisle. I was raised Roman Catholic and still attend Catholic mass (only to stay in fellowship with my Christian brothers who I have bonded with through various Emaus retreats and not for any spiritual purpose) . It was nice talking to you and God Bless you and your ministry as a servant of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rejoice, the Kingdom is at hand.
Thank you for the e-mail & the word of encouragement at the end. I would ask you to read I Kings 19. The Lord was not in the strong wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire, but in the "small still voice." Also Romans 8:26. "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words." We need to be careful about judging what we see on the "monitors."
I have heard those assertions that a large percentage of seminary applicants have homosexual inclinations. As someone involved in the review process, I can only wonder where such claims come from. It would be a pretty intimate subject to take a survey on. But as you indicate, priests like everyone else must struggle with the consequences of original (and of course personal) sin. St. Paul describes the "works of the flesh" in Gal 5. Jesus has a similar list of the "evil things from within" (Mk 7:21ff.)
Part of what I was trying to do in the article on pedophilia was differentiate the perspective of faith from that of our current culture. In fact the mission of this website is to help sort out faith and culture. One of the strongest ways our culture expresses its sense of right and wrong is thru the legal system. Pedophilia is a clear-cut, universally recognized wrong--and as such is harshly punished. Likewise child pornography is heinous and appropriately prosecuted. Sexual harrassment is reprehensible, but less punished because it is hard to define. On the other hand some behaviors formerly considered wrong are accepted legally and socially, viz. sodomy and fornication. Because Abortion has been legal for so long, many have concluded it is not only morally OK, but that it deserves government funding. Contraception, once strongly condemned by all Christians, is not only accepted but positively promoted. A few decades ago science fiction writers imagined in vitro fertilization as the ultimate dehumanization ("test tube babies"). The mainstream media now features wide eyed reports about its wonderful benefits.
What I liked about Jenkins book Priests and Pedophiles was that he challenged some of our cultural presuppositions. Not that pedophilia is OK or that priests who abuse children or adolescents should be exculpated. But that this issue should be used as a battering ram by folks with other agendas. Or that pedophilia can be condemned without also questioning the acceptance of the activities mentioned above.
I would welcome your further refections. God bless.
Fr. Phil Bloom
P.S. Our goal as Christians would not be so much to change laws, but peoples' hearts and to win their souls. I mentioned laws (and lack thereof) because they indicate where our society is and what obtacles we face in proclaiming the Gospel. As C.S. Lewis noted, forgiveness of sins thru Jesus will hardly be received as Good News if we don't know we have sinned. A precise diagnosis comes before the prescription.
Pedophiles and Priests
Pedophilia or Pederasty?
Pedophilia and Teaching of Bible
Other Letter regarding Boston Scandal
Letter from Former Catholic
Catholicism is the Answer
Is Celibacy the Problem?
"devil is asserting his power"
"you want Holy Priests, then we must adopt them..."
"I would still like to see him stay"
Homily on Boston Scandal
Homily on Local Scandal
A Satanic Temptation
What Jewish People Said About Pius XII
Historian Refutes Claims of "Hitler's Pope"
Mit Brennender Sorge Encyclical on the Church and the German Reich March 14, 1937
Not Hitler's Pope Articles on the subject of Pope Pius XII during WWII
Letter to Brill's Content Was Pius XII Hitler's Pope?
Nazi Policy and the Catholic Church by KAROL JOZEF GAJEWSKI
Germaine Greer on Birth Control
Human Cloning: A Catholic Perspective (How the Unthinkable Became Inevitable)
The Bogus Knights of Columbus Oath