Saturday, June 25, 2011

Holy Crap

A recent study of the priest-pedophilia scandal, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has concluded that the priests involved were mainly victims of the Sixties and bad training. I'm not buying it, but not because the Sixties was not an unusual time. All sorts of odd ideas became mainstream, and although people learned to be reflexively skeptical of pronouncements from the government ("looks like rain! Bullshit!") they lost all skepticism with regard to pronouncements from their peers. Smoke this. It will make you hack bits of your lungs out--no, hold it in! hold it in!--and eventually curl up into a fetal ball in terror. If you can hold it in long enough, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida will sound profound. It's harmless! And all sorts of things began making sense: Let's do some shrooms and then a twirly dance and then let's blow up something for peace. Heck, in the Sixties we even thought free love was a great idea, even though people used to pay perfectly good money for that, and you could only get 35 cents an hour for babysitting.

And I don't think it was a matter of poor training, either. Did they really need to remind them that altar boys should be instructed to pop back up after genuflecting? I suspect not.

My suspicion is that whatever causes certain priests to develop their own special sacraments was not a phenomenon confined to the Sixties. The only thing that has changed is the willingness of the victims to tell. My suspicion is that although these sorts of things go on in every stratum of society, it's possible that there were aspects to the priesthood that were appealing to certain people who were unlikely to fit in anywhere else.

My parents' generation played things close to the vest. Both my parents lived through two world wars, a flu epidemic, Prohibition, the Depression, the Dust Bowl, and Pat Boone singing Tutti Frutti, but about all you could get out of them was "if you can't pay for it in cash, you can't afford it." As far as I know, neither of them had any undue contact with a priest. (They were Lutherans. I don't even know how they reproduced.) But if they had, nobody would have heard about it. Some things are not spoken of. One is expected to go on conducting one's life in modesty and dignity, right up until the day one starts taking potshots from the bell tower.

So no, I don't believe the Sixties were to blame for the wayward priests. Carob chips, a fug of Patchouli and Fat Elvis, but nothing worse than that.


  1. Pat Boone singing

    Great post, as for Boone, after living through the worst the 20th century had to offer suffering him was just too much.

    And to think Boone and Ozzy Osborne are friends.

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  3. I heard about that "study". Dumb. If the era of (straight, young-consenting-adult) free love turned all those priests into boy-molesters, it's odd that it didn't have the same effect on people far more intimately involved with the counter-culture.

    I've heard of molesting-priest jokes from the Middle Ages. This thing has been around for a long time. Probably ever since the celibacy rule was imposed in the eleventh century.

    Back when homosexuality was illegal and seriously taboo, some gay males were attracted to the Catholic priesthood because it was one of the few roles where a man who consistently showed no interest in women would not draw suspicion on himself. Maybe pedophiles find it attractive for the same reason.

  4. I haven't seen the study in question. But from the title, I was expecting another poop post. Of course you have been so nice as to list those on your sidebar in case I am in need of one. If you ask me, which nobody is, the priesthood draws a certain kind of man. Only a small portion seem to be motivated by anything we can talk about.

  5. god forbid that they should take responsibility for their actions.

  6. From the depths of the crypt of St Giles
    Came a scream that echoed for miles
    Oh, dear, cried the Abbot
    Adjusting his habit
    I forgot Brother Peters had piles

  7. And I don't think it was a matter of poor training, either. Did they really need to remind them that altar boys should be instructed to pop back up after genuflecting? I suspect not.

    Reading the Church's ass-coverings about this subject over the years, I get the impression that the institution is so saturated with pedophilia that they really believe it's a common tendency that many people are tempted by. Maybe they really do think that special training is needed to resist the urge to molest.

    Certainly they've consistently failed to anticipate or understand the extent of the public outrage, which is rather odd if they're normal people.

    DJan: But from the title, I was expecting another poop post.

    Well, I once took a shot at that. But until MB comes up with the definitive one, you'll have to be content with the standard religious bullcrap.

  8. Yet again proof that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Priests have been abusing boys, and themselves, since the ridiculous thing called celibacy began. However, I don't agree that the fallout from the 60's was harmless. I lived it. Did it. Can even remember some of it, but in retrospect, the drug culture has been disastrous for our country. Not only the toll from the drugs and the "War On Drugs", but also from the total disrespect for the law spawned by it and the spillover disrespect for all authority, be it government, family, or priest.

  9. I agree that certain professions attract certain types of people. It is probable that politics attracts people who are not uncomfortable with altering the truth a bit in order to be elected, or stay elected.

  10. Out of the park again, Murr. Every time you get to the plate: it's downright uncanny. If I was pitching, I'd walk you, every time, without shame :-)

  11. "Did they really need to remind them that altar boys should be instructed to pop back up after genuflecting? I suspect not."

    That's a screamer! Oh, damn, girlfriend, you're so freakin' good. I always leave feeling completely inadequate as a writer. I guess it's a good thing I have strong masochistic tendencies, because I'll keep coming back.

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  13. I've never understand who came up with the idea of celibacy.

  14. Probably someone with a very questionable relationship with the previous generation and a general misanthropic outlook... But how did he get to be Pope??

  15. Simon Nicol - me again...June 25, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    ...oh and Murr - is that a Hagstrom you're spanking in the snapshot? Bet you wish you had it now!!!

  16. Pedophilia is the result of "bad training"? Give me a break.

  17. Oh, wow . . . brings back memories (memories, not flashbacks). That there guitar is (or was) my baby blue Hagstrom, given to me by a friend and later stolen from my apartment (along with my classic, flip-top Ampeg amplifier). Thanks for putting it back out in the world (well, at least its picture). And, oh, by the way, if anyone ever sees it in a pawnshop (or friend's house) somewhere, I'd like it back.

  18. "it's possible that there were aspects to the priesthood that were appealing to certain people who were unlikely to fit in anywhere else." - I thought that very thing about the Nuns when I was forced to go through Catechism. I thought these are women who are unsuitable a wives and mothers but not sufficiently adroit to be criminals either. Where else could they go?

  19. There you go, Simon--it's my friend Walt's, who's spanking something else now, and right well, too. Maybe if you're ever in New England you two could get together and make some beautiful music together. I'd fly out for that, in fact.

  20. Love Blog Fodder's limerick.But am not brave enough to play that Pat Boone!

  21. Smart move, dinahmow. One listen and it will be seared permanently on the retinas of your earbones. You don't want that.

    I liked that limerick too. Apropos of nothing, here's one of my favorites:

    A corpulent maid from Woods Hole
    Had a notion exceedingly droll.
    At a masquerade ball,
    Wearing nothing at all,
    She backed in as a Parker House roll.

    Anyone else?

  22. There once was a fella named Crockett
    who stuck his cord in a socket.
    Along came a bitch
    who turned on the switch
    and Crockett went off like a rocket.

  23. Here's one by Garrison Keillor that you might appreciate, Murr:

    There was an old man of Blue Hill
    Who, when the church was quite still
    During Christmas Eve mass,
    Liked to pass gas
    Toward a candle, just for the thrill.

  24. There once was a queer from Khartoum
    Who invited a dyke to his room,
    But they argued all night,
    As to who had the right,
    To do what and with which and to whom.

  25. There once was a plumber named Lee
    Who was plumbing a lass by the sea.
    Said she "stop your plumbing,
    I hear someone coming!"
    Said the plumber, still plumbing, "It's me!"

  26. Parenthetical to our emails about the pedophile priest thing, another interesting connection to your post: my wife was on a college bowling team with Charles Whitman's younger brother, and I was personally present when his youngest brother was shot and killed in the parking lot of a bar.

  27. A coed from dear old Bryn Mawr
    Committed a dreadful faux pas:
    She loosened a stay
    In her décolleté,
    Exposing her je ne sais quoi.

  28. I didn't think it was possible to a person to sing Tutti Frutti and appear repressed, but PB manages it.

  29. Hey Murr! Sadly, a position of authority with access to those who are vulnerable and in search of guidance will attract the wrong people. Throw in a dose of sexual frustration by not letting them marry or have relationships, and you're just waiting for bad things to happen. This problem is hundreds of years old, and certainly not post-sixties. Indigo

  30. Roxie sez
    That was the whitest, most vanilla tuttifrutti I've ever seen!

    The 60s did noy create pederasty in the Catholic Church. They exposed it.

    You rock, Murr!

  31. Interesting topic. Also interesting that most of the talk centers around the boys, lots of altar boys. Raised Catholic and attending Catholic school until eleventh grade put me in contact with many priests as well as abusive nuns. We were taught to respect the priests to the point that we dare not talk directly to God; all conversations must go through the priest. The priest was holy and we were not. Same with the nuns; do not even touch their habits. I can remember when my fourth grade mind opened up to the truth that the nuns were women. Something they did not want us to know. They were to be elevated in our minds to a level just below Mary.I stopped believing way back then. And it was so freeing to understand that I was given a brain to use and could make up my own mind.

  32. Many who took the road to be part of the clergy did so to please their family and to gain respect. Then it was a 'hush up or else situation' if one ever said anything about abuse. Nothing has really changed. Respect for others is really not being managed well even today. In fact quite the opposite is true in my opinion. One can no longer feel safe anywhere and fear is constantly being pushed at us. The desire to have power over others somehow seems unmanageable.