If Only Teachers Could Marry!

The phrase “If only public teachers/coaches/scout leader/whoever could marry!” is often bandied about by conservotrads to mock the notion that the clerical abuse crisis is caused by celibacy, noting that non-Catholic individuals who are presumably free to marry are also guilty of sexual abuse. While it is true that child molesters can be of any marital status, religion, or profession, the “If only X could marry!” view ignores the reasons why the reputation of the Catholic church has been so damaged by the clerical sex abuse scandal.

Continue reading

A Tale of Two Encyclopedias

One thing you hear a lot of in the Catholic blogosphere is how the church is an antidote to the moral relativism that is supposedly rampant in our society. Unlike those quisling mainline churches with their female pastors and gay marriages, the Catholic church doesn’t change its doctrines just to be popular; it takes a stance and sticks with it. Or not. The Catholic church has changed its mind on any number of issues from slavery to liberal democracy to usury. You can find apologists who take great pains to show that the church’s position on these issues and other issues hasn’t changed, but one gets the feeling that they’re really trying to convince themselves more than anything. Case in point is the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.

Continue reading

Celibacy in Crisis: A Must Read Book

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the problem of sexually active priests in general and the ongoing situation of former EWTN friar/personality David Stone. In that post, I stated my belief that consensual relationships between priests and adults were abusive by definition, not just because of the power deferential but also because of the secrecy and lies that such a relationship requires. I recently finished “Celibacy In Crisis” by A.W. Richard Sipe, a former Catholic priest now turned psychologist, and I now realize that my previous assessment of priestly sexual relationships was too kind.

Continue reading

Morals Clauses

(Note: This expands upon a response I originally left at Bilgrimage.)

There’s been a lot of discussion on the Catholic blogosphere on the subject of morality clauses being used against lay employees at Catholic institutions, especially if said employees are heterosexual females or some combination of LGBT. While all employees at Catholic institutions are theoretically held to the same standard of conduct, the only types of sins that these clauses seem concerned about are those of a sexual nature; to my knowledge, no one at a Catholic school or university has been sacked for gluttony or inhospitality, for example. Female employees are disproportionately targeted by these measures, since they literally carrying around the evidence of their perceived “sin” if they get pregnant out of wedlock or through IVF. LGBT employees of either sex are also vulnerable, should they chose to be open about their sexual or gender identity. In many cases, however, the school community has been sympathetic to the “sinners” point of view, leading to showdowns between the hierarchy in charge of enforcing adherence to faith and morals and the community that the school is supposed to serve.

Continue reading

Why Can’t You “Just Believe”? Parsifal vs Therese of Lisieux

Last year, I told a condensed version of my de-conversion story on Rod Dreher’s blog in response to a post he did in which he crowded about how millenials are supposedly flocking to conservative churches with traditional liturgies. One of the other posters asked me why I couldn’t “just believe” rather than over-analyze and over-think the elements of Christianity. Why couldn’t I be satisfied with the simple Biblical tales enshrined in stained glass windows that had sustained the faith of the peasantry for centuries? As I recall, the essence of my reply was that while “just believing” like a little child (see Matthew 18: 3) may be considered a virtue in Christianity, it’s really not a good idea. In fact, I would go as far to say that the notion of “just believing” is one of the worst ideas that the Abrahamic faiths in general have foisted on the world.

Continue reading