Monday, July 25, 2005

Selwyn Duke offers up the "Confessions of Liberalism’s Man in the Mirror"

I have heard many preposterous theories on why the Priest Sex Abuse Scandal has occurred. I have heard few sensible ones. Mr. Duke's will now make the lastest of the latter that I've encountered. Get the story here! He echoes the thoughts that Mark Shea has often alluded to, if not said: The Bishops arise from our culture, and our culture has become toxic. Indeed, Pope John Paul the Great spent much of his papacy calling on all Catholics to re-evangelize their cultures. He understood the power that culture has to nourish, or wither, the Faith. Mr. Duke also recognizes the power of culture. He understands how the ideology of liberalism, as it came to be practiced since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, has corrupted American culture. He draws a controversial connection between this corrupted culture and the Prelates that emerged from is, who eventually presided over the horrendous scandal that has engulfed the Church:
What I’m about to say may shock you. It may offend you. It may even raise your ire. The sexual abuse and the consequent cover-up, as egregious as they were, were not the scandal – they were symptoms of the scandal. The real scandal is a lack of fidelity to age-old Catholic teaching. To put it differently, the origin of the problem lay in an embrace of the liberal values of the age and the subjugation to them of the Christian understanding of morality. Sadly, some prelates of the Church, charged with the holy task of molding consciences, saving souls and transforming culture through the propagation of Christian truths, instead allowed the culture to transform them.
He then focuses on the specific aspect of Liberalism that facilitated the Bishops into making the tragic choices that they made:
Before I can elaborate on that, however, I must address what is a prerequisite for fully understanding the problem. Something that has been camouflaged must be clarified. That something, is homosexuality.

You’ve most likely heard the unconventional conventional wisdom: “the abuse was not homosexual in nature. Homosexuality and pedophilia/pederasty are two entirely different matters.” Dare to contradict this, and you’re a homophobe and will be accused of trying to divert attention from the main problem, which, curiously, always remains ill-defined.

So let’s analyze this logically. You can divide people into three basic groups: those who are attracted predominantly to members of the opposite sex, those who are attracted predominantly to members of their own and those who are attracted to both. Within these groups there are subgroups, such as individuals who are attracted mainly to: older people, people their own age, younger people, teenagers or children. The salient point is, however, that regardless of what subgroup you find yourself in, it doesn’t change the fact that you fall into one of the aforementioned basic categories. Now, if that category is that of “those who are attracted predominantly to members of their own sex,” there’s a name for it. That name is homosexuality.
Once he names the phenomena of the One Thing That Matters, he makes the connection between it and the behavior of Bishops towards it:
You may not realize this, but some seminaries have been knowingly ordaining men with homosexual inclinations for many decades now. The question is why? After all, definitive Church teaching states that homosexual feelings are “disordered” and that homosexual acts are gravely immoral. And while merely possessing the feelings themselves is not sinful – after all, they may emerge within an individual through no fault of his own – the Church has long held that they do render one unfit to join the priesthood. In fact, a 1961 Vatican document stated clearly,

“Advancement to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers.”

This position was reiterated on September 5th, 2002 by Pope John Paul II, when he said,

“It would be lamentable if, out of a misunderstood tolerance, they ordained young men who are immature or have obvious signs of affective deviations that, as is sadly known, could cause serious anomalies in the consciences of the faithful, with evident damage for the whole Church.”

So, why were these directives ignored? The answer is that instead of embracing and applying the Catholic understanding of human sexuality, certain prelates embraced and applied liberalism’s secular misunderstanding of human sexuality. You see, one of the latter’s tenets is that there is a moral equivalency between heterosexual and homosexual behavior and that neither tendency is psychologically healthier than the other. And, of course, once you believe that, it quite logically follows that homosexual tendencies shouldn’t disqualify a man from anything, including the priesthood.
He doesn't stop there:
So, the deadly embrace of that twisted liberal view of sexuality explains the willingness to ordain homosexual men, but it also explains much, much more. For instance, everyone has negative inclinations, but not everyone acts upon them. Often, however, the main determinant in this is the individual’s environment, in that the more prohibitions [legal or social] there are against untoward behaviors, the less likely it is that people will give free reign to darker impulses. Remove the stigma from perversion, though, and more people will engage in it. This isn’t opinion, but Human Nature 101. It isn’t theoretical, but precisely why the fraudulent Kinsey Reports are credited with helping to foment the sexual revolution. The liberal, if-it-feels-good-do-it mentality and equating of perversion with normalcy made it easier for the abusers to rationalize their actions.

Then there’s the issue of why some prelates treated the abusers with kid gloves and swept their dark deeds under the rug. Undoubtedly, the imperative of avoiding scandal – something that is emphasized in Catholic teaching – weighed heavily in their decisions. But that good should have been outweighed by greater goods, such as the need to protect the innocent and the fact that these were crimes that screamed out to Heaven for justice.
So, why did these prelates lack the perspective that informs that such acts are beyond the pale? It is clear to me that they didn’t truly understand the gravity of the transgressions. It is also clear to me why: it was due to their having been infected with the aforementioned liberal, laissez-faire sexual dogma, combined with the embrace of another tenet of liberalism: the notion that compassion trumps justice and forgiveness obviates punishment.

It’s simple, really: they had become somewhat inured to such perverse acts by having been influenced by that liberal tenet that draws an equivalency between homosexual and heterosexual behavior. Thus, instead of viewing the sexual abuses as abominations and becoming appalled, in their minds the offenses were akin to heterosexual affairs. And while the latter also constitutes a precipitous fall from grace, viewing the offenses through that prism does soften the impact. Add to this the counterfeit compassion that tolerates all and punishes none, and you have a recipe for a dysfunctional milieu in which moral reality is turned on its head, a place where the malevolent spirit is liberated and the righteous chained.
In other words, well-meaning Bishops--perhaps aided by their equally well-meaning chauncery staffs--sought to follow the "Spirit of Vatican II" and "dialogue" with the Modern age. These Prelates could have discerned whatever truth people of the modern worldview had to offer. Then they could have built upon that truth with the Gospel and evangelized a generation in serious need of Christ. Instead, the evidently allowed the people of that modern worldview to convince them that they were in need of greater discernment of truth. The sad result is that they failed to act counterculturally when the Faith demanded such action. They did buy the moral equivelancy between heterosexual and homosexual activity, perhaps without explicitly stating so. Some still appear to do so!

When Catholics are faced with a choice between Catholic Doctrine and ideological perogatives, the choice should be obvious. Unfortunately, it often is not. Culture plays a powerful role in forming how we think, how we perceive and how we live. When our culture has become corrupted with Reasonable sophistry that elevates the One Thing That Matters to absolute importance, then we all become less capable of clearly responding in Integrity to the Truth. The world suffers anew from such a relapse into darkness. Thus, we Fools must work overtime to embrace the Faith of our forefathers and then evangelize this diseased culture. As the culture revives, we can expect that more Fools will Foolishly live the Faith publically. More Foolish priests will eventually serve as Bishops as more Catholics witness to their faith in everyday life. More Christians will stand with Catholics in witnessing to the Glory of God brought forth through his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. That's when people of goodwill, as well as heartbroken Catholics, can at last see the day when the scandal is truly buried in history.

As long as we live in the culture that worships the Great-I-Am and it's fundamental act of self-worship, the One Thing That Matters, we will not see an end to the horrible scandal that shook the Church. Until we change the culture, we live Mark Shea's classic truism: "We have the Bishops We Want."