I try not to comment on things I have little expertise in, but my year spent at a Catholic seminary school in Rome (with at least one resident pedophile among the clergy) gives me a bit of experiential basis for commenting on the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. Here’s my rhetorical question:

If the society you grew up in denied and suppressed the expression of your sexual urges, but at the same time offered you ONE institution in which you could not only spend a lot of time in the exclusive company of other members of the sex/gender whose contact you craved, but ALSO gave you power over them in large numbers, mentoring them as they were groomed to gain entry into the class and position of authority that you were allowed to have, why would you NOT become a priest?

There are, to my mind, three things the Vatican ought to do at this point:

(1) Institute a policy of no tolerance for the sexual abuse of minors by priests, and apologize unambiguously and make amends for what’s gone on up to now.

(2) Advocate greater tolerance for minority sexual persuasions in society at large (of the homosexual kind, not of the pedophilic kind that resulted from the Church’s public suppression and private enabling of the former). Or at least stop advocating against such tolerance and acceptance.

(3) Allow priests to marry, just as the Eastern Rite Catholic churches have done for centuries, with little apparent harm.

(A fourth step, only a little less directly related, would be to open positions of religious authority up to women as well.)

That way, wouldn’t Catholicism be able to get back to modeling the right ways to practice Christian (brotherly, and sisterly) love?

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