While many are still reeling from the disclosure of the cover up conspiracies in the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles via the Los Angeles Times and other news outlets - although the disclosures coming out of LA should come are no surprise to anyone who has followed the sex abuse scandal since 2002 - things are also heating up in Australia where the same familiar pattern is showing itself. Adding to the sensation down under is the vehement statements of Philip O'Donnell, a former priest, whose testimony to a parliamentary inquiry board tied the problem of sexual abuse to the Church's policy of priestly celibacy. For the record, as a former Catholic, I have long believed that the sexual abuse of minors ties directly to celibacy and the corresponding arrested psych-sexual development of brainwashed seminarians and priests inculcated with the Vatican's bizarre obsession with all things sexual and the portrayal of women as evil temptresses. The Age (Melborne, Australia's main newspaper) has coverage on O'Donnell's testimony. Here are highlights:
Many Catholic priests take a flexible approach to celibacy, tolerated by church leaders, and some believe sex with children or men does not count, a former Melbourne priest said on Wednesday. ''An enormous number of priests struggle with celibacy,'' Philip O'Donnell told the state inquiry into how the churches handle child sex abuse.
''There's a tolerance for imperfection in celibacy, and that may have led to a lessening of outrage at sex with children.'' He said he had no training about celibacy in the seminary and that many priests were ill-equipped. ''Chosen celibacy is a gift, but mandatory celibacy is for many priests a millstone,'' he said.
AdvertisementMr O'Donnell declined to speculate on what percentage of Catholic priests, who must vow to be celibate, were sexually active, but another Melbourne priest has separately suggested it is about half. Asked by committee member Andrea Coote whether priests believed only sex with women counted as real sex (breaking celibacy vows), and that homosexual and child sex did not, Mr O'Donnell said: ''Sometimes.''
The Age article also contained testimony condemning the Catholic Church's Medieval power structure that in many ways mirrors that of the Roman Empire during its imperial period. And yes, ultimate responsibility for the rampant sexual abuse of children traces direct back to the Vatican:
In other evidence to the inquiry, Catholics for Renewal president Peter Johnstone said the church's handling of sexual abuse was directly related to its dysfunctional government. Although Australian church leaders claimed that responding to abuse was a local matter, in fact the Vatican kept strict control.
The worldwide church was governed by a 17th-century system whereby ultimate power was vested in men who were celibate, often socially isolated, usually old, unable to communicate with the faithful, and under the supreme control of a papal monarch who demanded blind obedience.
Mr Johnstone said Catholics for Renewal was an organisation of committed, progressive Catholics who represented views shared by several Australian bishops and scores of priests who were bound by rigid vows of obedience not to publicly say so.
Asked by the committee to name these bishops, Mr Johnstone said it would be inappropriate. ''If you want to see what happens to bishops who disagree, just look at Bill Morris'' (the bishop of Toowoomba sacked by the Pope last May after suggesting the church might consider revisiting the question of women priests).
The Sydney Telegraph has related coverage. One can only hope that the Australian parliamentary inquiry exposes the foul filth that is the Church hierarchy.