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November 29, 2005

Andrew Sullivan, Nattering Ninny

The Excitable One is on a tear:

"BE AFRAID!": If the guiding mantra of the last Pope was "Be Not Afraid!", the lodestar of the current one is, arguably, the opposite. Everywhere, there are reasons to be afraid: the great work of celibate, faithful gay priests, the insights of independent lay women, inter-faith communication, theological debate, the new frontiers of science, and on and on. The spirit of a saint like St Francis - so open, so confident, so unafraid - is obviously one that Benedict needs to control and silence, as he must control and silence every other aspect of the Church that does not conform to his views. And so another window closes. Eventually, the darkness will be perfect.

Yeah, who elected this guy Pope? Oh, right, the College of Cardinals.

Saint Andrew, it's not the celibate gays the Church fears. I'm sure you must have heard -- in fact, you blogged about it quite a bit -- that it's the non-celibate gay priests the Church fears.

Who could tell if a celibate man were gay or straight?

See, I hate to remind you of this discomfiting fact, but the dust-up began when gay priests started being pretty damn non-celibate with underage boys.

Do straight priests take advantage of the young? Indeed, they do. But the number of females taken advantage of by priests is dwarfed by the number of boys so violated.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I know: The fact that a man has sex with a boy doesn't make him a homosexual, it just makes him a pedophile, right?

Well, yes, it does make him a pedophile, but it's kinda hard to ignore which gender constitutes object of his nasty affections, unless one is resolutely blind to such minor details for political reasons.

Do gay men molest boys in higher proportions than straight men molest girls? The numbers suggest the answer is, unfortunately, yes. (Attempts to demonstrate equal propensity to molest do so only by defining many man-on-boy molestations as not really "homosexual" at all, which seems a rather ludicrous semantic dodge.)

But it certainly seems the case that gay priests molest boys more than straight priests molest girls. That isn't necessarily a knock on gays as a whole; it may just be that the many gay men who join the priesthood do so to avoid confronting their sexuality, to a greater degree than straight men do. (A greater of proportion of straight priests may simply have low sex drives compared to the average man.)

And repressing one's sexual appetities, if one has them, can only work for so long.

In any event, I don't think the Vatican is particularly worried by celibate priests of either sexual orientation, and it's just another absurd Sullivanism to claim otherwise. One can argue if the presumption of guilt is fair or not, but to reduce it, as always, to a concerted campaign against people who just happen to be gay is just his typical uncivil assignment of bad motives to a political opponent.


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posted by Ace at 03:29 PM

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