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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Vatican's Rainbow

By the end of December, the Civil Partnerships Bill will have come into effect in the UK, allowing gay men and women to register their relationships as civil unions and acquire many of the technical tax and inheritance rights associated with marriage.

Just as some progress is being made in the international arena of gay rights, who better to come in and shit all over it than the Catholic Church? This week, the Vati-cant released a document, signed by Pope BeneDictator on August 31, that will bar "those who practice homosexuality", "candidates who have profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies" and those who "support the so-called gay culture" from becoming seminarians.

But it's not all bad. If your homosexuality is "simply the expression of a transitory problem...such tendencies must be overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate". How the Church plan on proving that the "tendency" has been overcome wasn't mentioned.

The document is full of the same old hoary chestnuts that the Church bullshits on about when denouncing gay people. Again, they emphasise in the document that the Catechism of the Catholic Church "differentiates between homosexual acts and homosexual tendencies". The "acts" are "grave sins" that are "intrinsically immoral", "contrary to natural law" and their practitioners "objectively disordered". But before you get upset, the document says that it teaches these views "while profoundly respecting the persons in question" at the same time. Ah, that's good to know. I'm not offended anymore!

There really is not a lot to be surprised about from this bizarre document. Gay people are well used to being demonised by the Church at this stage. What makes this document monumentally offensive is that it is being released in the context of the Church's move to atone for it's cataclysmic failure to halt - not just prevent but halt - the widespread rape and sexual, mental and physical abuse of young children by priests.

It's quite astonishing that the Vatican has released this document but we have not heard a peep from Papa Razzi or his cronies in the higher echelons of the Vatican regarding the devastating Ferns Report or similar audits that have come to attention in recent times. Apparently, the powers that be are too preoccupied with instigating their gay witch-hunt than exposing paedophiles and bringing them to justice.

But gay people and paedophiles are two sides of the same coin in the Vatican's eyes. Of course the document doesn't explicitly state this but they need a convenient scapegoat for the paedophilia crisis. So they focus on the fact that a lot of young boys were the victims of paedophiles to justify excluding gay men from the Church.

It's a clever tactic from their perspective. Why, gay men are nothing more than evil, leering child molesters anyway, right? You can't trust them around children, you must actively discriminate against them when it comes to hiring people in the caring professions such as teaching. And don't even think about giving them children to adopt or foster.

Their line of thinking is so hurtful, hateful, discriminatory and depraved that I wish there was a way that I could officially, legally and publicly renounce my Catholicism and put in place legal mechanisms that would make it a crime for my family to have a Church funeral for me when I die (How any gay man or woman would desire an official send-off from an institution that hates them so much and thinks so little of them is beyond me).

Yes, young boys were, tragically, targets of paedophiles. So were young girls yet heterosexual men are not the subject of any exclusion order from the Church. Male priests that raped young boys were psychopaths, not homosexuals. They held an affliction of the mind and soul that is so dark, so evil that none of us want to even think about it. They are not homosexuals - they are paedophiles.

Of course it's possible that there are paedophiles that are gay too. But a regular gay priest is not going to rape a child. They would be horrified at the very thought of it. Because a healthy adult gay man is not going to be attracted to a child any more than a healthy straight man would be to a young girl.

The people who rape defenseless boys and girls are paedophiles. It is a separate thing from being gay or straight. Regardless of this bifurcated orientation model, a paedophile, when he acts on his or her desires, becomes something else entirely. They are no longer just gay or straight: they are a paedophile and should be removed from children's society as quickly as humanly possible.

I ask all you straight men out there: how would you feel if you were not only grouped with collared paedophiles but were being officially arrogated the blame for all the evil depravity associated with that scandal? How did it come to a situation where gay men are seen to be the root of the Church's paedophilia crisis?

This situation vaguely resembles the foremost political event of our generation. Saudi-born Osama bin Laden organised the terrorist attacks on the US in 2001. 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi. So George W. Bush invaded Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein in retaliation for bin Laden's offence. It helps to have a convenient scapegoat that has already been singled out as a hate figure, a threat, a danger.

Please, please, please don't misunderstand me. I am not comparing gay people to the monstrous Saddam - that is not the purpose of the analogy. I use that example to demonstrate how messed-up and dangerous the Church's thinking on gay people is. The majority of paedophiles were - are - known to the Holy Father and the higher echelons of the Church. They were aware of the problem - well aware as a read of the Ferns Report will solemnly attest to. If they have incontrovertible proof that all these paedophiles were confessed homosexuals, I promise to rethink my opinions. But I doubt hugely that they do.

Because the Church's way of dealing with paedophiles wasn't to isolate them and remove them but to just move these paedophiles around, convinced that the crimes were a once off (ignoring also that once is one time too many). As soon as the scandal - and the extent of it - became apparent, Il Papa had to act to rebuild some part of the deservedly shattered institution that is the Catholic Church.

It can't openly admit its epic complicity in concealing the crimes of these paedophiles because to do so, I believe, would destroy many more reputations than it has already. Who knows how far up the criminal conspiracy of silence - which this is - goes? Who exactly knew what and when? Who else is a paedophile that we don't know about?

But these answers are a long way from being answered. Gay men are the culprits in the eyes of the Church. I hope that there will never be a paedophilia scandal of this sort in the Church again - I doubt there will be anyway. People are too aware - so aware that they are keeping their children away from spending any alone time with men of the cloth anymore. And who can blame them? If I had children, I wouldn't leave them with anyone anymore.

This will give the Pope and his men the opportunity to point out in a few years that their policy of barring gay people from joining the priesthood was justified, a success even. But any dimunition in paedophilia crimes in the Church will be down to brave victims past and present who have come forth to tell the world what the Catholic Church has done to them. It certainly won't be due to any move by the Vatican to root out paedophiles and destroy the rot forever.

These victims' courage will result in mainly retroactive convictions and indictments of paedophiles. The Church's cowardice and malicious scapegoating will result in more disenfranchisement for gay people, more discrimination, more fuel to add to the flame of homophobia that has been so worryingly resurgent all over the world in recent years.

In his novel Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon wrote a great line that demonstrates the thinking that underlies this latest Vatican inquisition: if they get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers.


Anonymous said...

"Yes, young boys were, tragically, targets of paedophiles. So were young girls ..."

Unfortunately, the vast majority (in the order of 90%) of victims were teen males predated upon by ephebophiles.

Hence this document.

Declan Cashin said...

"The term ‘paedophile’ is commonly applied in a more general sense to refer to all adult sexual attraction and sexual acts against children regardless of the physical maturity of a child (that is, whether or not a child is biologically prepubescent) and irrespective of the ‘clinically defined’ status of the abuser and the context in which the abuse occurs. This broadening of the clinical term beyond the biological focus has occurred in the context of international efforts to strengthen the protection of children through harmonisation of national laws and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which defines a child as any person up to the age of 18...

...The common link between all sexual abusers of children is that they have sexual encounters with a child or young person who is, or appears to be, vulnerable, immature and powerless".

That is from the website for ECPAT International (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes'), just one website devoted to ending paedophilic crimes in all their forms.

Even though these victims were in early teens, they are still children, they were vulnerable, they were powerless. That is what paedophiles act on.

When a 12-13 year old girl was sexually assaulted by a priest, he is a paedophile and a rapist; when a 12-13 year old boy was sexually assaulted by a priest, he's a homosexual. No functional gay man nor functional straight man is sexually attracted to a child. They are paedophiles.