Those Who Do Not Learn From the Past Are Doomed To Repeat It

I recently found out that the traditional Catholic boys boarding school that crashed a burned a couple of years ago in the wake of a sex abuse scandal is back in business with many of the same characters back at the helm:

I suppose that the men in charge think that the idea of a traditional Catholic boy’s boarding school is an idea worth trying again, but I can’t figure out why they would bring back most of the same individuals that led to the closing of the first iteration of the school. There are still a good number of people willing to vouch for the disgraced Fr. Urrutigoity’s innocence, as well as those who take Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s view that the victims in question were actually evil “seducers” trying to lure good priests into sin.

Putting the sexual abuse allegations to the side, it’s less clear how the allegations that the priests of the Society of St. John plied underage boys with alcohol, cigarettes, and pornography can be explained away. Given what I know of the types of parents who would be interested in a traditional Catholic boys’ boarding school, they’d probably assume that sending their sons to such an institution would shield their “speshul snowflakes” from the sin and depravity that they associate with the public schools. But if the “holy” priests that are supposed to mold the boys of St. Gregory into “Catholic gentlemen” are themselves leading the students into temptation with the same activities they’d condemn if it was happening at a public or diocesan school, well, it begs the question of what exactly it is that the parents think they’re paying for. Since the entire St. Gregory Academy enterprise has a “history” now, you’d think this would be a case of “buyer beware,” but I guess not. However it seems like Fr. Urrutigoity and the now surpressed Society of St. John had a good deal of supporters, and there are always conservotrads or radtrads who prefer to harbor under the delusion that the sex abuse crisis was manufactured by the media.

One thing I really don’t understand is why conservotrads and radtrads believe on the one hand that homosexuality is The Worst Thing Ever, but then support these homosocial single-sex institutions where same gender sexual activity is almost guaranteed to occur. I think much of it is due to the fact that single-sex institutions are viewed as “traditional,” bolstered by an encyclical by Pius XI that stated that proper Catholic education had to be segregated by sex (see Conservotrads and radtrads don’t “believe in” the social sciences, much in same way many of them don’t believe in evolution or climate change, so even if you present them data about abuse or voluntary same-gender sexual activity in Catholic institutions, they won’t believe it. After all, why should they believe in “facts” and “statistics” when they have the sacred words on Pius XI? Then there’s also the belief that humans are all running around with their pants on fire due to original sin, and sex-segregated schools are the only way to prevent kids from falling into sexual sin, although it seems like many simply re-direct their passions onto their fellow same-sex students.  Once again, it appears to be more important to create an illusion of orthodoxy and chastity than to actually achieve it.

As I mentioned earlier, there is a “see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil” mentality, where the sins of these institutions are supposed to stay in house. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for conservotrads to be more upset that the public has found out about abuse committed by the hierarchy than the abuse itself (John Richard Neuhaus was particularly guilty of this). If a parent is truly convinced that a “traditional Catholic” school is the best environment for their child, then a sex scandal isn’t going to deter them; they will rationalize away about how the clerical abuse scandal was a made-up controversy, that “orthodox” clerics don’t molest, or that it was a “gay problem” rather than an issue with the clergy as such. In many religious communities of all stripes, people who complain about sexual abuse among religious authority figures are hounded by the rank-and-file members of the community, until the accuser(s) leave or shut up (the Hasidic community is especially bad in this regard). The American Catholic community for the most part is through making excuses for abusive priests and bishops, but conservotrads and radtrads are numerous enough to provide a cheering section for misbehaving priests who pass their orthodoxy litmus test.