In what way is our current cultural attitude not serving us?
People cannot deal with expressions of sexuality that are truly perverse, because people do not even have a vocabulary for conceptualizing them. When people who have a perverse expression of sexuality are in positions of power, people cannot conceive of that possibility. When people who are in positions of powerlessness experience their own sexuality as atypical, they spiral into spiritual desolation. For people who are victimized by perverse expressions of sexuality, they cannot find sane ways of coping with its implications and are trapped in a psychological time warp. People in perfectly licit and sanctified unions don't know how to express sexuality, and are fearful of its implications. People who would like to be in unions where they can express themselves sexually are in a state of constant anxiety about personal lapses and the inevitability of their desire.
The current attitude seems to be that if we create enough denial and formidable will, we can deny that people have sexual desires and drives. I think we have a dual consciousness where we say that there is an appropriate or licit place for sexuality, but on the other hand, that place never presents itself. We've brainwashed ourselves into thinking that we adopt enough lines and slogans, we can inoculate ourselves from our humanity, and simply pretend that things do not exist, or that we do not understand, even when there is a destructive reality right in front of our faces.
How could we have allowed the word "pedophile" be forever linked to the word priest in the popular imagination? If the way we think about sexuality is so sane, if the way that we deal with human sexuality is so sane, how could this have happened?
It's too widespread to pretend it doesn't exist; to say that the suffering of victims doesn't exist is inhumane.
Would you let your pubescent son be taken alone on an outing with Fr. Such and Such? Why not?
If you've heard the stories, you realize that there are patterns not only in the response of the Church hierarchy, but in the reactions of the laity at parishes: "That can be so -- Father Such and Such never did anything to me!" "Shame on you." "You should take responsibility for your part..." Catholics do no create any psychological space for sexuality until they are forced to, and the reports become undeniable (when they realize that Father Gagan, or Father Such and Such never did anything to them, but he did it to hundreds of other silent children).
The strangest thing is that there are always signs that something is amiss, but no one can spot a perversion, an almost universal taboo when it slaps them in the face? How is this possible, especially when it intersects with the spiritual?
Is this an enormous problem? YES -- it is probably the issue that has demolished faith in the moral authority of the Catholic Church. And that's just one aspect of it.
Money is another -- parishes have been bankrupted by lawsuits.
So, why would we deny the obvious, that people do not have sane ways of dealing with sexuality, and maybe the insane ways that we deal with it (I'm actually not talking about celibacy) are creating monsters, veritable sociopaths?
The pedophile is just one dimension, but there are other dimensions.
Everything you are saying is true more or less. Or at least I agree with it.
I think what you are saying is that we ostricize certain things - such as pedophiles, so that people who have this issue do not get help with it before it becomes a problem by them acting on it. Or like with homosexuality, so that people merely bury it and don't deal with it, then it bursts out like an overfilled balloon.
If that's what you mean, that is obviously true, however I don't know that psychologically we are at a point where those things can be helped.
I guess the best I can try to do is give a theological insight a bit, and this is kind of what my book is going to be about.
Innocence is one of the primary Christian virtues. Christ spoke very strongly about people who scandalize the innocent, and He didn't just mean children, but I think He especially did.
We see the first instance of innocence being destroyed in the Garden of Eden. Remember that innocent means ignorant of sin. You don't want to sin, you don't know what sin is, and you don't believe others would harm you. Now, when Adam and Eve via the sin of Pride and the temptation of the Serpent ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil they saw they were naked. They knew what sin was because they knew what evil was.
In a nutshell, they lost their innocence. They knew how to sin.
Take a child who has been abused at a tender age. What they are losing is their innocence. Something is happening to them they don't understand, and they are being taken advantage of by someone who knows what they are doing - almost exactly like the serpent took advantage of Adam and Eve.
At certain ages, children are going through the formation of reason and other things. This horrific act affects that formation, both psychologically and spiritually.
Worse, abuse is a generational curse. A lot of times those abused become abusers. So it is a very efficient way for Satan to cause destruction, sin, heartache, etc. We see men who abuse 100+ people. A percentage of those may become abusers. Others will commit suicide, etc.
So, it is a Satanic act with maximum efficacy. In fact, the true Satanic types (not the idiots who read the Satanic Bible), demand such a sacrifice of innocence because they know the devil savors it.
Contrast that to God who desires innocence. Christ said we must be as innocenct as children.
Innocence is the state intended for man. It is the state we were in before the fall. It is the state we in after infant baptism. We are somewhat in that state after Confession and reception of the Blessed Sacrament - at least spiritually so. And Christ had to die on the Cross to get us this grace of innocence by redeeming us from Original Sin.
So, the devil would like nothing more than to destroy especially the virtue of innocence.
Of course, "The devil made me do it" isn't a defense. I'm just trying to quickly outline a theological aspect of it.
The secular side of it is what you describe. People don't talk about it until it makes front page news. We don't have a magical "pedophile detector". We can only get a glimmer of what is inside a person.
Now, it may be interesting to note that Bishop Williamson kicked two men out of the SSPX seminary for being unfit for the priesthood. They went to an indult fraternity and were accepted. I think one was actually the head of the fraternity. They turned out to be pedophiles who used their office as priests to get victims. If I remember, the indult bishop did not want to talk with Bishop Williamson, but if he had, it could have been avoided.
What did Bishop Williamson know about these men? I doubt he would know they were outright pedophiles, but he knows about human character and could spot someone who had issues that weren't appropriate for a priest. He saw character flaws that were dangerous.
Now, look at the priests and how they revere the Innocence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. They don't, and neither do their bishops. If they do not revere the Innocence of Christ, why would they revere and/or protect the innocence of a child?
It obviously goes outside the priesthood as well. However, a lot of these sexual issues, while there may be a biological component, have a lot to do with the formative years. And the problematic ones show up as other flaws in character. You cannot separate a man's whole character from his sexual character. It doesn't happen. The sexuality, whether deviant or correct, will leak out in his life in other ways.
And that's the only way to have a "pervert detector". It's the whole of a man's character. When we allow "small" flaws such as pornography, we are actually seeing an outward manifestation of a larger flaw. Not everyone who looks at porn is a rapist or pedophile, but I would bet all rapists and pedophiles look at porn.
Anyhow, this is a huge complicated issue. I don't think more talk is necessarily needed, but rather the kind of talk and what we accept in society in all kinds of behavior is the key.
Sorry for the rant. This is a topic I have spent a lot of thought on.